So, this is Christmas: The Covid Chronicles #15

I didn’t think my Christmas post would be another Covid Chronicles update.

However, our planned family Christmas gathering at our holiday home in the mountains quickly went pear-shaped on Christmas Eve when B21 woke up feeling unwell. A rapid antigen test (RAT) came up positive. He went off to a private clinic to try and get a faster test result. Faster that is than the 4 hour wait-to-get-tested lines at the public clinics, followed by a 2-3 day wait to get your results back.

In the meantime Mr Books and I had tested negative with a RAT test – a new Covid-19 skill added to our repertoire – self-administering the nasal swab! But it meant we all Christmas-ed apart. B21 at home, us in our mountains home with a fridge full of food for 6, and B24 and GF with her family instead.

When B21’s polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test came back positive yesterday, it was confirmed that Mr Books and I were indeed close contacts and therefore required to self-isolate for 7 days. Our one and only hope for dodging the virus this time, is that we have barely seen B21 during the week thanks to our various work schedules and his spending time with his GF.

B21 has had a good dose of the flu with fever, aches and pains, sore throat and headaches. He is double-vaxxed. We have no idea where he caught it, but given how rampant Omicron is in Sydney right now, it could have been anywhere from work, the gym, the supermarket or a dinner out during the week.

We zoomed and have had regular calls and text messages with both boys over the past two days, but it’s not the same.

It’s curious how we have gone from only knowing about 2-3 people with Covid over the past 2 years, to suddenly knowing almost a dozen in a week. My inner west Sydney suburb is dropping like flies at the moment, either positive cases or close contacts. A LOT of people will not be able to work this week. Many local restaurants have already posted that they are closed for the next 2 weeks due to staff shortages.

The truly trying part though are the lines to get a PCR test. Every state except Victoria, requires NSW travellers to have a negative PCR test up to 72 hours before they travel. It’s the same requirement for any overseas travel. We decided to get a PCR test today to (hopefully) confirm our negative RAT, but the line was already 4-hrs long when we got there 20 mins before the clinic opened. The clinic is only open for 3 hrs today. I asked if there was any fast-tracking available for people who were close contacts or with symptoms – no!

We decided that given we were still symptom-free, the RAT test was enough peace of mind for now.

Summer afternoon mountain mist in our garden.

Fortunately, our mountains home is on a very private block, at a distance from neighbours. In the mornings we are able to spend some time in the garden, before the summer rains and mist sets in after lunch. We have plenty of books and streaming services and there are always odd-jobs to do around the house. But we were meant to spend this week with the boys, bush walking, playing games and hanging out together. We’ve had to cancel the dinner reservations we had made a couple of weeks ago for this week, as well as the day trip to visit my family and a couple of catch-ups with friends.

In the scheme of things, it’s more disappointing than anything else. There are many more worse things that could have happened and are happening to others.

B21’s symptoms appear to be relatively mild, although it’s a long time since he was sick for three days. Spending a quiet week in the mountains is not a chore by any means either. But…it’s hard not to be paranoid any time one of us coughs or sneezes!

I hope this finds you all well & safe wherever you are & however you observe this time of year.

Take care; take heart.

30 thoughts on “So, this is Christmas: The Covid Chronicles #15

  1. Urgh. That is disappointing. But how wonderful you have somewhere as beautiful as the Blue Mountains to isolate.

    I keep thinking how rubbish it would be if I was still in London and had to isolate in a pokey one-bedroom flat with no balcony and yet for so many people that is the reality. It annoys me no end when I see all the stuff about “if you’re in lockdown do some gardening” like everyone has access to a garden!!! But I digress.

    Take care, Brona. A good excuse to read books ( if you aren’t too anxious to concentrate) and take some (enforced) time out with Mr Books. My solo Christmas has largely been spent on WhatsApp phoning and texting all my loved ones who are elsewhere. It’s not ideal but I’m grateful everyone (in Victoria, Ireland and London) are healthy and staying safe. xx

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    1. Now that we’re over the disappointment, we are grateful that this lockdown/iso period is up here in the mountains. And we get to enjoy Christmas lunch every day & every night for the next few days!

      I hadn’t realised your partner was back in the UK atm. That must be hard Kim. Thank goodness we have books to fall back on!

      I heard there were power outages in Perth today – hope this wasn’t you, given the temps they were predicting for WA today.

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  2. What a shame this spoiled your planned time together. One of our party tested positive so had to pull out of our family gathering but he hadn’t been in contact with us so we were all ok to go ahead. I know all the reports are saying the Omicron version is milder but people are still suffering for a few days.

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    1. At least this will be a Christmas we won’t forget! The story of it can now be recycled at every Christmas ever after!!

      Glad you were able to get together with most of the family this year.

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  3. What a pity! I totally agree – I used to know a few people who’d had covid but now so many seem to have it, I know several at any one time. I’m glad your son’s symptoms are mild.

    Your mountains setting looks beautiful.

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  4. Oh what a shame. My family in USA have all had covid because my brother’s family are anti vaccers and nothing I can do about that. At least my sister is protected. It will all be over one day and life will go on hopefully. All the best for 2022. Your photo is beautiful. 🎁🎄🐧

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    1. Thanks Pam.
      We have a few conspiracy theory, anti-vaxxers in the extended family, but they are not ones that we see very often. I’m glad your sister is well though. It’s hard being so far away from family.
      I hope you and Ollie had a lovely Christmas Day.

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  5. I’m so sorry. I’m glad you’re isolating in such a lovely place, and I’m glad you have to isolate there – here, even close contacts just test once a day (Rapid Lateral Flows – we do them before we see anyone indoors, and don’t need the instructions sheet now to do them!!) which is a bit scary, to be honest. I hope no one gets too sick. We had a near miss as BIL is unwell but his PCR has come back clear so we’re seeing them today (I wonder if this will be a Why Did We Do That moment but husband wants to see his family). A friend was trying to escape to Jersey as her mum passed last Christmas Day but her son tested positive, and a local friend tested positive with no symptoms and has had the period alone with her husband. There does indeed seem to be more of it around than ever before.

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    1. Thanks Liz. Fingers crossed the family visit is a safe and happy one for you all.

      I’m hoping the rules on close contacts relax if they really want us to be ‘living with Covid’ as the pollies keep saying. But it’s the travel requirements that really need to change here (from PCR to RAT) to take the pressure off the testing clinics, so anyone feeling unwell can actually get a test quickly and easily!

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  6. Indeed, this will be a Christmas to remember. We’ve been doing Do It Yourself Lockdown ever since NSW ‘let it rip’ but even so we were not sure right up until the last minute whether our lunch for four was going to happen. Everyone is on edge, I think.
    I’m glad to hear that your son is not feeling too dreadful, thank goodness he’s been double-vaxxed, but it just reinforces my belief that being double-vaxxed is not enough now.
    I hope you have some nice weather and good books to read to help you through the disappointment.

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    1. Having a new premier determined to be the ‘freedom premier’ has certainly been a trying thing for all of us! But especially the health and medical professions…once again.
      On Sunday when I wrote CC #14, NSW hospitalisations were 227 with 28 in ICU. On Christmas night those numbers were 458 in hospital and 52 in ICU.
      #Domicron has become the trending twitter hashtag in NSW.

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      1. Yes, I love the witty Twitter hashtags, my Twitter feed is all bookish, but I see what’s trending and sometimes explore the interesting ones.
        LOL As a matter of curiosity, do you have an Opposition Leader?

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  7. I am sorry to hear about this bad luck for Christmas. I think for many of us, this is another Christmas like no other before. We had a very quiet Christmas with a friend. Our son came home an that is the biggest Christmas gift we could get. So nice to see each other again.
    I hope you will all recuperate and maybe have a later Christmas celebration. Keep well and take care of yourselves.

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  8. Awwww, it has been a struggle for so many: I’m glad you’ve been able to find some pleasure and comforts in the situation though. (I appreciate how you’ve modified your land acknowledgement to reflect your change in location.) So many are saying the same, that they’ve not necessarily known m/any people coping with COVID but now have different data to report. Take care!

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    1. Thanks for noticing the Blue Mountains acknowledgement line Marcie. I also noticed that your name comes up now, not RIP, when you comment. The holidays are a good time for tweaking our blogs 🙂

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  9. Hope B21 is doing ok. Family at christmas is my favourite thing, but my older kids were never going to get down from NT once Covid took hold there (remember the couple who lied about being in Victoria before flying to Darwin? All it takes is one source.). Still, we had a surfeit of grandkids.

    I ended up with the opposite problem to you – all our (leftover) food is at Milly’s and I’m not – so it’s back to rice crackers and salad for me

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    1. B21 still has a sore throat but is feeling much better today and finally, Mr Books & I are starting to relax and I’ve stopped panicking about every sneeze or cough.

      B24 & GF are planning on moving to Qld in 2022, so whole family Christmas’ may not be as easy for the next couple of years, which is why we were so looking forward to this one altogether. I hope that 2022 sees all the wadholloway tribe together!

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  10. It’s been a different sort of Christmas, that’s for sure. Like you we hadn’t met anyone with Covid until Omnicron. We got through Christmas OK but one of my sons was a close contact since then – no symptoms & a negative RAT. He and at least 3 others he knew camped out at the testing centre for 4 hours today only to be told the place was closing. At least it was quite cool today – they even ordered Uber eats and had it delivered to the queue!

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    1. My concern with the long queues at testing clinics so people can get travel passes, means that many people with symptoms are not getting testing. I think the current numbers being reported are way under the actual number of positive cases in the community.
      I hope your son and his friends continue in good health.

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  11. I’m sorry this has affected you so directly, Brona. We are very fortunate that our biggest challenge this holiday season has been getting snowed in the day after Christmas. Our Christmas cards also brought news of a couple of long-term friends (who, like us, are in the higher-risk older-adult category) who’ve had COVID-19, so we do appreciate our health. I hope your son will get through his infection without major impact.

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    1. Thanks Mary. He’s been feeling fine the past few days & tested negative last night & again this morning, so he’s free to head outside again.
      Glad to hear you had a safe albeit very cold Christmas ❄️

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