Stay the course despite sweet sound of silence
LISTEN. Do you hear that?
No? That's right … because it's the sweet sound of silence.
At last the children have been expelled from their home school situation and I'm savouring some solitary confinement.
As I sip my quiet coffee in the sunshine, I really am thinking of the teachers and wishing them well.
I feel like maybe I should have sent them an email to warn them of our current status regarding student behaviour.
After all, I'd hate for them to be surprised when, if attempting to help my daughter with her work, she yells in their face 'that's not the way you do it!"
Or to be caught unawares when the children just wander into the staffroom every half-hour to raid their fridge or loudly demand snacks, leaving dirty plates and half-mauled food on their desks.
However, they may well appreciate what I have managed to teach the children, and should feel free to accept the offer of a glass of wine at 3pm.
The last two months have been a wild ride, and while I have secretly enjoyed the extra time with the children - and especially the eradication of the school run - I only realised just how much I was looking forward to the return of real school when it suddenly seemed under threat.
That's right, my son got sick.
I mean, it's May, it's been chilly, some sniffles and coughs are to be expected … but this year, even the common cold is nothing to be sneezed at.
Not that I for one moment suspected my son had contracted COVID-19, but I also could not in good conscience send him to school with undiagnosed symptoms.
And in fact, getting tested is literally the doctor's orders.
For weeks now, the prime minister, premiers, chief ministers and top health officers have repeatedly urged people with even the mildest symptoms to get tested. When it comes to the pandemic, we want to remain the Lucky Country.
Regardless, I felt like a hysterical hypochondriac as we pulled up to the fever clinic at the Robina Health Precinct. And I could actually feel my temperature rise as we slipped on our masks and I realised I could not drink the coffee I had purchased just moments before. Now that is a true coronavirus crisis.
Even worse, however, was when my son insisted he could not be swabbed alone and requested that we make this medical journey a mother-son experience.
I have to be honest, having a 15cm stick poked down my throat and up each nostril, where it is then rotated to the count of seven, is not my idea of a good time. I felt like I lost my nasal virginity.
But also … it really wasn't that bad. In fact, my son, who has been swabbed for both the flu and whooping cough, says the third time was a charm. To the staff at Robina Health Precinct, you're swab stars.
Actually, the most uncomfortable part of the experience was when the doctor told me off for filming my son mid swab. What can I say? It was for a TikTok.
Still, I have to commend Queensland Health because it was the quickest and easiest trip to the doctor in a long time. We were in and out in under 30 minutes. Our results were back within 48 hours, and for many it's just 24 or even 12 hours.
And, of course, the whole thing was free.
God bless Medicare.
But it makes me wonder why more people aren't getting tested?
This is not the time to self-diagnose or to put our faith in the mantra of 'she'll be right'.
A recent FluTracking report found more than 61 per cent of Australian participants who reported flu-like symptoms did not get tested.
FluTracking co-ordinator, public health physician and infectious disease surveillance expert Dr Craig Dalton says the true rates of symptomatic people not getting tested is likely even higher.
"In my own experience I've seen people cough or appear to have a cold and we'd say to them 'you should have a COVID test' and they would say 'oh, it's not COVID'. But that is not something they could know because COVID could look like any kind of respiratory illness," Dr Dalton told the Sydney Morning Herald. "People may say 'it's not COVID' and they could be right or they could be fatally wrong for those around them."
Take it from someone who aced the test (as Trump would say: we tested positive for negative), it's worth the minimal time and effort for the peace-of-mind pay-off.
Remember, it's not just about keeping yourself safe, but family and friends too.
And guys, we cannot let anything silence the school bell again.
Originally published as Stay the course despite sweet sound of silence