Personal Project

The Quarantine Diaries

On 3 October 2021, my partner Helen started feeling feverish. She was also sneezing a little. The symptoms were mild and came and went. On 5 Oct, suspecting that she might have Covid, we did a home ART test and was not too surprised to see that it was positive. Immediately, she went to the GP near our house and asked for a PCR. The next day, the positive result was confirmed. I quarantined myself immediately while waiting for the official Quarantine Order to be served. It was mayhem from this point on.

6 Oct 2021 / 12:48PM

Covid Comes Home

The rate things are going, it is just a matter of time before Covid hits home. Thanks to good friends and good neighbours, we had cough syrup, ART test kits, food, etc etc delivered. Others offered place to stay but unfortunately, we are both quarantined with immediate effect. If this looks like a set from a Chinese palace drama, because it is eventful. See you all in 10 days or less.

6 Oct 2021 / 6:18PM

Sleeping Arrangement

First, decide how you want to ‘enjoy’ the next few days. Then choose the best surrounding to suit your decision. MLGF, who tested positive, got the bedroom and easy access to all her clothes. But she ain’t going anywhere for the next few days, so she won’t be able to see her shoes and bags. I set up Netflix on her iPad and she has a stack of books she has been trying to read next to her. Wifi is also strongest there. I got the couch and TV but too bad this week is EPL break so I am stuck with Korean dramas again. All the photo books are just behind me so I can’t complain. My position also places me close to the kitchen so I can prep food for myself and extend butler service to her. Did I miss out any important elements? Oh yes, stay calm, stay humorous and wear nice clothes even when sleeping.

9 Oct 2021 / 12:30PM

Accepting Kindness Graciously

Before you read on, this post is all about shelving your pride and accepting kindness.

Getting Covid means falling sick with a lot more dangers, so expect ‘normal’ illness behaviour, such as ‘no mood to see the sunset while having dinner’ to creep in. The sliding door is the line we don’t cross in this period so food is left outside the room, I keep a safe distance while making these images too and think 5m if not more. Wear a mask even when home. Use separate utensils.

Yesterday, in my panic, I ordered an oximeter from Amazon. After being told that MOH will be delivering a goodie bag which includes an oximeter, I canceled it. Shortly after, a friend who just recovered from Covid told me that MOH sent her nothing during her illness and quarantine. So it was back to square one – finding oximeter.

Thankfully a good samaritan named Charles sent us a spare one using Lalamove. A few hours later, he Whatsapped again, saying “I just realised both of you are in quarantine and you need a separate one, let me go search.”

Earlier in the day, friends Gilbert and Lee Cheng sent ART kits and antihistamine. Neighbour Ari went down the road to pick up cough syrup from our GP.

In the evening, Dom delivered a real goodie bag filled with truffles(cannot eat now), champagne(cannot drink now), Dettol, ART kits, Panadol, flowers and prawn paste chicken.

Generally, I can be coy and will decline most offers but in the past two days, I have decided that accepting help from good friends and then paying it forward later is probably the better model in this difficult period. Think about this way — when it is my turn to be the friendly courier, will you say no to me?

8 Oct 2021 / 9:50AM

Flower Lies

I hereby solemnly swear that I will never hurry florists who take their time to measure each stalk and check if colors and breeds match. I also swear never to laugh at couples who fight or break up over the wrong choice of flowers on their second date. I further swear never to question why there are so many vases and pots of different sizes and shapes at home. In the same breath, I swear I will never ask why MLGF can take up to three days to decide which bouquet to order. I also undertake never to stare when I see someone waiting at the turnstile with a big bunch of flowers. If I break any of these vows, I will sleep forever in pain with thorns from roses and etc etc sticking all over my nimble body.

Signed with my last ART test.

Amen.

8 Oct 2021 / 1:29PM

Equality

This post is dedicated to a concept called Equality. P.S. I do laundry and dishes in normal days too. Only difference is I don’t make pictures of me hard at work in normal times. And I’m available to train your sons, boyfriends, husbands, ex, future, to be a better man:) PM me.

8 Oct 2021 / 2:05PM

Telemedicine

A positive person is supposed to have access to telemedicine. Supposed.
Helen was lucky. She has a very dear friend who is a world renowned doctor. When he learned that she tested positive, he called from Spain to chat, reassure and gave some tips. Basically, apart from the prescribed medicine, take Vitamin C and D. Another friend from Brazil also wrote to me and suggested saffron, lemon, ginger and garlic tea. She had Covid a while back and told me this concoction helped her. Whatever it is, quarantine doesn’t equal to isolation. Call a friend. Seriously, everyone is willing to help.

8 Oct 2021 / 6:57PM

Sun Salutation

Now all together — breathe and worship the sun. This is dedicated to my yogi friend Trudy. You are one bad bad yoga influence. Please visit her amazing Instagram feed if you haven’t
https://www.instagram.com/trudyyogaharmony/

8 Oct 2021 / 10:30PM

Dreams & Aspirations

Tonight’s final post is dedicated to Shin Min Ah/Dreams/Aspirations.

I hear your cries in Hometown Cha Cha Cha. Don’t wait for Chief Hong already. He is too slow. I tested negative today so I am all ready to embrace the idea of you.
Honestly, I am sacrificing for all my women friends who want Chief Hong for themselves. I’m positive about that.

9 Oct 2021 / 12:30PM

This Too Shall Pass

A negative ART for Helen after five days, a step closer to normalcy for her. She can be unquarantined as early as tomorrow and has already planned to go back to working on Monday. And … it’s the weekend. We thank you.

9 Oct 2021 / 1:05PM

Side Effects

One thing I know for sure – We are going to be fat after this quarantine.

Foodie goodie came fast and furious today and yesterday. Ah Yoke delivered yummy cakes from Janice Wong; Leslie dispatched bread from Slowbakes, not to mention my favorite Bitter Lemon. Tam Mei sent devilish pastries from LeMatin. Xueying gifted apples, more bread, cheese and feta spread. Then there’s porridge from Mui Kee, courtesy of little Libby. If anyone has the mobile for Marie Kondo, please share. We need her help to declutter our tummies.We thank you.

9 Oct 2021 / 2:31PM

Take Time To Smell The Flowers

Repeat after me — take time to smell the flowers. In quarantine, you will have plenty of me-time. Be stupid. Be silly. Be reflective. But be safe. Flowers courtesy of Bernice and Whye Kee.

9 Oct 2021 / 2:31PM

A New Protocol

First the good news. As per the new protocol just announced, I’m free to go out now as long as my daily ART is negative.On the seventh day of my quarantine, which is Oct 13, if I’m still negative, I’m released from the QO. For Helen, as long as her daily ART is negative, she will be released on the 10th day of her quarantine, which is Oct 16. Meanwhile she can’t go out yet. There is no longer a need to go to a swab center for PCR. Thank you for all the food deliveries. We are good now so please don’t send any more unless it is gummy bears for me:) As a responsible adult who doesn’t need to be told, I still intend to stay home until my QO is over. THANKS and cheers!

9 Oct 2021 / 11:10PM

After Dark

I like to work when it is dark, peaceful and quiet. So it is wonderful to have a large format printer at home so I can make prints anytime I want.Somehow I come alive when moody and quarantine is a good time to catch up on backlog.

10 Oct 2021 / 12:38PM

The Yard Bird

Helen tested negative for the second day in the row but still refuses to come down to ‘normal’ civilisation. “One more day,” she said yesterday and today.Will see what happens tomorrow. Meanwhile, she remembers the advice of our friend Donna to move around or risk getting the long-haul flight syndrome on the muscles. So the least she could do was to look after the plants. I look forward to her taking over her kitchen helper duties again.

12 Oct 2021 / 9:43AM

Back and forth

Three straight days of negative ART later, MLGF decides that she is well enough to resume working from home. Just two nights ago, she experienced difficulties breathing and spoke to a doctor via telemedicine. Meanwhile, I have some flu symptoms this morning and just drank cough syrup and popped an antihistamine. My oximeter reading is 97 so I am not that worried. All in all, it seems like we are having very bad flu, one that goes backward and forward for a bit. If you think of it this way, which is what the authorities want us to think, then sure, no need to panic. Just take precautions, drink lots of water. But can we all get complacent and not recognise signs out of the normal range? I think that is one of my concerns. When to see a doctor and when to self-medicate? I think common sense must still prevail. What do you think?

12 Oct 2021 / 8:10PM

Back to Normal Programming

MLGF survived first day back at work with little hiccup although she still felt a little fluey. Does time pass faster when one is working? Maybe when a person is occupied with work, the adrenaline pumps and keeps the mind off other things. Earlier on, I had a ‘minor’ scare when a public figure with authority pointed out that I was not fully vaccinated with one Pfizer and one Sinopharm. She went to check on her own and updated me this evening that she was wrong. The rule has been changed. I thanked her and added, “Actually the official vaccination status has little bearing on how I want to navigate this pandemic. I minimise going out, keep my social circle small.” “Being officially vaccinated gives me flexibility, not immunity.” “I don’t miss eating out but I like to have the choices once in a while so I can feel normal. A lot of what eat up a lot of people is psychological too. The human mind plays tricks.” I do think that to ride out of this pandemic well, we all need to look after our mental health. I do believe we can scare ourselves into paranoia and become emotionally crippled. Speaking of scaring ourselves, I took a second ART this evening after waking up from a nap with a headache and was feeling a little chesty. Both ART and oximeter readings are good. Phew. Maybe I was just worried about the dirty plates, bowls, cups in the sink. I hate leaving things unwashed. When did I become such a slob?

13 Oct 2021 / 8:37AM

Temporary Shelter

I am a scout-wannabe who is afraid of the elements of outdoor life. Cold shower is not my thing. Snakes terrify me. I scream at the sight of cockroaches and lizards. Ants irritate me. I’ve figured out long ago that I love the camping gadgets more than I like camping so I own thermos flasks, igloo boxes. I had an outdoor inflatable bed that only saw the indoor. When we moved to this place 10 years ago, I talked a lot about buying a tent so we can pitch it in the garden. I wanted to sleep at the decks and be woken up by the morning dews. The past seven days, I finally got a small taste of that. Enough:)