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Isolated. . . The Inon family — mum Shelley and children Luken (8) and Dante (6) were struck down with Covid, all with varying symptoms. PHOTO: GUS INON

Last time Courier reporter Shelley Inon saw two lines appear on a test, it meant a baby was on the way. But her positive rapid antigen test was the precursor to a miserable time with Covid-19 and her whole family sick and isolating.

Covid Day 0

An early morning message in a group chat alerted me to a close friend’s child having Covid.

I was heading to Dunedin for the weekend, something I really didn’t want to miss, but my youngest had complained of a headache the day before, and he had a slight sniffle. I decided to do the right thing for the community and test my kids.

So, at eight o’clock in the morning I drove to pick up tests. I was the only car in the line, so I left with a box of tests with no time wasted.

The tests were easy to follow, I simply had to pop a cotton bud just inside each of the boys’ nostrils and run it around the nostril slowly. Then we waited … two lines appeared on both. Positive.

I started to overthink my own symptoms. I’d had an iffy stomach and a ticklish throat, weren’t they symptoms? I took a test myself: one line. Negative.

We started our isolation on a high .. the kids celebrated not having to go to school by play fighting in the hallway.

Despite their diagnosis, squeals of delight and bouts of giggling rang in our ears. No grizzling to be heard, which was something to brag about even without Omicron.

This was possibly the final lockdown of the pandemic and I was determined to enjoy it.

I poured myself a gin. My husband came home and made me a cup of tea . . .  I had a drink each hand.

The afternoon was spent trying to work out how to report Covid cases on the website, before finally losing patience and ringing. I had to wait for 30 minutes to report the cases. They offered to call me back when it was my turn, but then disconnected me when I didn’t supply a landline number.

Two cases in Geraldine were finally reported by the time the office closed that afternoon.

Positively sick . . . Courier reporter Shelley Inon weakly waves her positive Rat test.

Covid Day 1 . . . (Day 0 for me, as I woke up with symptoms and tested positive).

Poorly kid is nearly feeling better. The sniffle from the day before had turned into an occasional cough. No fevers,  which was a relief, as living in Geraldine meant that by the time a child was poorly enough to take to the hospital you still had a long drive before you actually got there .. thus I’d once turned up with my youngest son limp in my arms, I hoped to never have to relive that.

It was one of the main reasons why both of my children were partially vaccinated.

I spent much of the afternoon trying to report my positive Covid case, but after a longer wait times I decided to do that the following day.

Covid Day 2 for the kids seem well. Lots of chatting and playing and one cough an hour from the “poorly” one.

(Covid Day 1 for me). I’ve only stood up to go to the bathroom today. I’ve also lost my appetite (one perk of this whole fiasco perhaps I can finally get rid of the dreaded “Covid curves”).

I’ve become incredibly dependent on my husband for water, ibuprofen, child minding, temperature taking .. if I didn’t have him then I hate to think how much more painful this would be.

I’ve also still not reported my Covid case as I was not in any state to ring.

Towards the evening when I had a moment to think, I turned towards worrying about immunocompromised family members, namely my cousin’s son, Ben (or “Baby Ben” to my kids, despite the fact he is four years old) who has Hodgkin’s’s lymphoma and at this stage of his treatment means he cannot catch the mildest cold.

But it isn’t only Ben I’m worrying about today. I’m also worried about single parents of very young children as well. How are they going to cope with parenting in this excruciating pain? Do they leave snacks and fully charged devices within small people’s reach?

I had my booster in January. I’m not one of these people who claim to have “never had a flu in my whole life!”

Nope. I’d caught whooping cough in my 30s, doctors couldn’t find any record of a vaccination for it. The paperwork had either been lost, or I’d been missed in the vaccination effort somehow. I’d caught it so badly that I had to sleep on a 45 degree angle for 100 days. The coughing was so bad that I remember vomiting on my husband’s feet mid sentence.

In my late 30s I’d caught a virus from the kindergarten and ended up being admitted to Middlemore after my heart had decided to bail on me and things got a tad worrying.

As soon as the Covid-19 pandemic appeared on the global horizon I had known that if anyone would get theatrical with a bout of Omicron it would definitely be me.

I wasn’t failing myself!

Covid Day 3 for the kids- fine. Slightly bored.

Covid Day 2 for Mummy .. I spent time worrying the township might have run out of water, after I’d had constant showers last night for fevers reaching 39.9 degrees.

I feel like I’ve been pummelled by a meat tenderising hammer.

If Covid was a restaurant my review would be: “Dont recommend. One star.”

Covid Day 4 for the kids .. Boys are so awfully bored that the youngest took a can of lentils that was delivered to us by a workmate and began playing shop with it. After selling me the can of lentils upwards of 87 times, he took the can out to the shed and used it as a chimney on a house he made from a massive cardboard box.

Covid Day 3 for Mummy. . . Fevers yesterday have caused the inside of my belly button to blister. But today I’m feeling much better. Just a sore cough and healthy kids to contend with. And a loss of energy. When I have put up with fevers in the past the following day I would get out of bed refreshed and clean up easily. This time I feel like I’ve run a marathon. and I only get short bouts of energy.

Covid Day 5 for kids .. Honestly, they’re fine.

Covid Day 4 for Mummy .. I’m feeling wayyyyyyy better. Bit of a cough and I get tired easily.

However, my sense of smell and taste aren’t really there any more .. they disappeared somewhere in the Covid fog that descended upon me.

My husband is such an amazing cook that every day is a battle for me to not become one of those people that are sometimes seen on the news getting craned out of the roof.

However, Covid has done me a solid and taken away a lot of my smell and taste. It is easy to not eat an entire pizza when you can’t smell and barely taste it.

Covid Day 6 for kids .. they are going absolutely unhinged from boredom.

Covid Day 5 for Mummy struggled with loss of taste and smell, but body wise I thought I was back in action. Washing line was full of pyjamas .

Covid Day 7 for kids .. Bored beyond belief.

Covid Day 6 for Mummy .. I slept in. I was so tired that I went back for a mid day nap.

Husband has finally stopped being soooo negative and has become suuuper positive.