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COVID test

No, I don’t have COVID. At least, I don’t have any symptoms and I’ve had my first jab, so I’m not worried.

But I was sent an invitation to the Ipsos MORI/Imperial College REACT survey, and I agreed to do a test for them today.

They sent me a kit with an explanatory leaflet. It arrived in a very late postal delivery on Saturday and I finally read the blurb yesterday. It seems you have to book your courier before you do anything else, so I did that and chose the first date – today! I checked I had all the necessary items in the pack and realised that I was required to assemble the cardboard return box myself. About 15 minutes later, and stressed beyond words (apart from four-letter ones) I had an approximation of a box. That’ll have to do.

Irritatingly, the test has to be done at the crack of dawn and be ready for collection at 8am. 8 am!!! I’m normally just stirring myself at that time. So, I got up at 7 and staggered around a bit. Thank goodness I’d done the hard work and built the box yesterday.

I sat down to watch the instruction video suggested in my letter.  At least, I think it was the video they suggested. I used the web address they gave, but the video seemed to differ from the instructions written in my letter and leaflet. In fact, I nearly cancelled everything when it referred to two small tubes – when quite clearly I only had one. I quickly reverted to the paperwork. The video was altogether too much for my befuddled morning brain.

And here’s the thing. I increasingly find I can’t manage simple sets of instructions without massive self-doubt, so this was very unhelpful.

No matter, I ploughed on and launched myself into the actual test. I think I did it right, although I resisted the urge to mimic one of the earliest TV reportages of testing in Spain where the test-stick was rammed at least 6 inches into some poor woman’s face (well, that’s what we reckoned at the time).  All was fine. No actual gagging or proper discomfort. I got the stick in the tube ok and the tube in the hazard bag. Now to put it in the box. When the awful realisation dawned that I had somehow made the box inside out! I guess it wouldn’t have mattered if it was wrong – it was going by courier after all, and I had to stick a special label on it anyway. But I felt stupid and decided I had to put it right. Not any easier second time round when you have two left hands and have left your best spectacles upstairs. FFS – who puts the instructions on the outside? And upside down?

Once I’d put the finished articles carefully in the fridge, I could relax. It was 7.55. Of course, the courier (a man in an unmarked white van) didn’t arrive until 11.30 and didn’t seem at all grateful, but it’s all in a good cause.

Mind you, if I’m positive and they ground me, I might feel a little less charitable.

Now, back to my everlasting writing…




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