What Covid 19 has given me is sleep. I’m touching wood. I don’t want to speak too soon. I’ve got my fingers crossed, which is not an easy thing to do when typing. I can’t remember when I slept like this. I’m hoping that the long deep sleeps of the past few weeks are a permanent legacy of this killer cough.

The daily routines that have taken over my world don’t mean that I am stuck in a rut or feeling constrained. My mind is free to wander from the comfortable confines of home. My imagination is enjoying the freedom that being at home has given me.

It was all going so well until GP and I had an altercation on the phone, before a compromise was reached. It necessitated an early morning trudge up the hill for a blood test. It meant going to hospital, a place I had intended to avoid, a place where you had better stick to the rules on social distancing.

The white stick is a simple aid to enabling others to stick to the rules. They can see me looming towards them and have time to get out of the way, which is not a core skill I am going to develop, let alone stick to.

After the argy bargy about getting directions I pitched up in phlebotomy. I could have said blood testing, but phlebotomy sounds better. The phlebotomist, said she was expecting me.  “Come this way Susan.”

“I’m not Susan.”

“Date of birth?” she asked without flinching.

“Did you say you were born in fifty-two or sixty-two?”


“Are you not Susan?”

This begs an important question. Is make-up an essential purchase during lockdown?

As the phlebotomist tightened the rubber band round my arm something went twang in my head. This was the first time in weeks that anyone had touched me. “just a little prick” she said. The blood did not flow. “Maybe try the other arm,” she said.

Two goes. My luck was in. “A little prick,” followed by a short silence. Nothing, not a drop.

“I’ll try a different needle.”

Two phlebotomists, five rubber band snapping, finger tapping, needle jiggling, one artery spewing later, the blood was taken. “There you go Susan. All done.”

“I’m not Susan.”

You never know. She might have come back for another go.

It might not have been the touch of bonne amee, or a guiding hand, or love in the afternoon. It was only the professional touch of surgical gloves, but it was touch. It was all I could do not to break the rules and put my hands on my face with the wonder of it. So when the phone rang and and a strangled voice wanted to know if I was “Mrs Taylor,” I said I was even though I’m not. “This is the surgery,” she said.  ” Nothing to worry about. I’m ringing with a bit of good news. You qualify for a free pneumonia vaccination.”

My interest was peaked. “What’s exactly is that?” I asked.

“It’s an injection.”

“But what is it?” I persisted.

“An injection? Well it’s a little prick in the arm.”

“That’s the means of delivery. I’d like to understand what it is and why I qualify.”

“I don’t know,” she said. “It wont’ be today, but shall I get the doctor to call you? “

“That’s a good idea,” I agreed as I felt my chances of another good touching session slipping away.

A week elapsed and the GP’s PA called to say I didn’t need a pneumonia vaccination after all. “Why is that?” I asked.

“I don’t know Mrs Taylor.”

“I’m not Mrs Taylor.”

I think I might have snarled.