I had a hospital appointment the day after our delayed Christmas, for planning, which sounds more like a council department, but is to measure up for radiotherapy. Handy hint – always re-read your hospital letter the night before. I was supposed to do a lateral flow test. I had never done one as I have had regular PCR tests at oncology outpatients during chemotherapy. Luckily Team AK had half a dozen boxes someone had given them as the tests were hard to acquire over the Christmas season; the whole country had been told to do them frequently before visiting. Luckily Team H were still with us, with school and work they do them all the time. Fortunately I wasn’t on my own as chemotherapy has left me with peeling finger nails and peripheral neuropathy, making undoing or peeling open anything difficult. I read the instruction booklet carefully, set the kitchen timer and announced I must not look at the test result for thirty minutes. ‘No, twenty minutes’ said someone. ‘You have to check for the pink line after five minutes’ said another.
‘What pink line?’
There was no pink line, the test was null and void. It was suggested there was not enough magic fluid in the squeezy phial. Two more test kits were opened so we could use two phials. The pink line appeared and in half an hour I had a result. My son-in-law said I had better photograph the result in case I needed proof. It had taken a team of five, three tests and two self assaults on my throat and nose to get a negative result. Thank goodness I had not left the procedure till the morning.
Not all tests are exactly the same I gather and they probably have different names according to where you live. I wonder how anyone living alone with bad eyesight or hands that don’t work one hundred per cent manages to do these tests, let alone busy parents who are expected to test their children every time symptoms or contacts occur. I have also concluded from my limited circle of family and friends that we are divided over testing, the same as we are divided over mask wearing. Some families test continually and demand the same of visitors while others have never taken a test.
Parents with school children are testing frequently. Fortunately a positive result in children usually means mild symptoms and time off school, yet again… A recent survey reveals that since the school term started three out of four grandchildren now have Covid…