5 December 2021
I am reading Meditations. Advice in small pieces. Suits my short attention span.
Lengthy discussions recently over whether to get a PCR test pre flight. Emirates is clear, not required for the short layover in Dubai. Country of origin, also not required. Proof of vaccination acceptable.
You never know with KLIA. And you can never really find out.
The gamble lies with taking a test you might not need and coming back positive.
Better to have and not need.
Under our condo is a walk in test facility. We have seen the ques every weekend. Quick process, passports, cash. Wait.
The test is done out on the street in front of the clinic. I watch the old nurse administer the swabs. She is ancient. She is brutal. She has lost count of the legs she has sawn off in WWI.
The mouth swab. Gagging reaction. Looks uncomfortable. The nose swab. Terrifying. Men reel back in the chair as she chases them with her plus size cotton tip. The stagger off, eyes watering. They have a PTSD glaze.
I think of Marcus Aurelius and his Meditations. Discomfort, stoicism, courage. If text is to have meaning, it must be applied in life.
“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” - Marcus Aurelius
I am about to take my turn and Shell comments, ‘She is not changing her gloves between patients. Tell her to change her gloves’.
I look at the old nurse. Do I really want to make demands?
My plan is to put my head against the wall. If I cannot pull my head back. She will not need to chase me. I sit back, thinking of Marcus A. Discomfort is part of life. Embrace it. Show courage. Show dignity.
OH MY GOD HOW FAR CAN YOU STICK THAT THING UP MY NOSE ARE YOU SWABBING MY BRAIN MAKE IT STOP I WILL DO ANYTHING MAKE IT STOP.
And it is done.
I stagger off, eyes watering.
Later that evening we are at dinner. A bottle of wine, Grattamacco Bolgheri Rosso. The results come in.
For courage and COVID.
“Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears” - Marcus Aerilius