Tuesday Tales: It finally caught me – Donna Thistlethwaite

Exactly three weeks ago our 12 year old son, Matt, tested positive for Covid.

He was devastated.

For around six weeks he and his class had been writing and then rehearsing their own play and the performance was scheduled for three nights after the Covid result. We were a bit devastated too … this was the first time that Matt had completely thrown himself into the class play. He’d taken on a key role as a wolf and was pumped about their production. To honour his enthusiasm we (yes the parents) created our first ever costume. I have to say that Matt’s Dad did a lot of the work although I found the wolf head template and bought the silky soft grey faux fur.

Later on the day of the result, I met Matt’s teacher in the school carpark, passing him a shopping bag containing the costume that we’d brought to life over the previous weeks. The head … the grey gloves … shirt and grey tracky dacks. I silently mourned that we’d never get to see the costume on stage.

Drew, Matt’s teacher, told me “Erez (one of Matt’s best mates) is going to step out of his pig role and into the wolf because he’s the right size and we thought Matt would like that.” This helped.

Matt asked if I’d go to theatre restaurant and record his class’ play and thankfully I was able to arrange another parent to do that. This also helped.

The week that Matt had Covid was the week that I least wanted to catch it. The following week I had face to face training scheduled that had been booked in for two months and the day after that we were heading off on a five day island getaway.

Thankfully neither my partner nor I caught Covid although I will say I wore a mask at home, sprayed more Glen 20 than I have ever sprayed, sanitised my hands around 50 times a day and stayed well away from Matt. I got to deliver the training, we got the mini-break and I was totally hi5ing myself for avoiding Covid.

But it seems Covid had different ideas.

In the hours after my Sunday morning cycle this week I started to feel super tired. Later in the afternoon I developed a sniffle and that night I stood in front of a RAT test displaying two very solid red lines.

I’m sure it’s never convenient to catch Covid but I have to say this week is much better than many others. Here are a few positives I’ve found:

  • Matt got to do his first solo supermarket purchase. Why did it take us this long??
  • I reached out to a fellow Mental Health First Aid Instructor friend to arrange for her to cover me if I wasn’t well enough to lead the video-conference sessions I have scheduled for tomorrow and Thursday. I’m grateful that I have an amazing network with supportive people I can trust.
  • I’m pleased that I will be able to deliver the course if I’m feeling well tomorrow because it’s online.
  • I have such appreciation that I can perform my work from home as I recover from Covid (I just learnt today that friends are stuck in an AirBNB in NZ with Covid which isn’t quite as convenient).
  • The lovely messages, some from people I hadn’t expected, of moral or practical support have helped me to feel valued and grateful.

I think Matt is loving that I’m now getting a dose of what he experienced a few weeks back when we were too scared to get close (don’t feel too much sympathy for him … he had about 75% of our two story, four bedroom home for a week and got to watch Origin kicking back on the couch while we sat is stiff upright dining chairs well removed from the TV). Matt’s dad has moved into a spare bedroom and is avoiding me like the plague. It’s hard not to feel a bit isolated!

I hope that you’re successfully manoeuvring your way through the winter cold and flu season and managing to find some silver linings in whatever shows up.

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Donna Thistlethwaite is a Brisbane-based speaker and trainer specialising in mental health and resilience. She is an accredited Mental Health First Aid Instructor and Resilience at Work Facilitator with a passion for suicide prevention and for helping individuals, teams and organisations to THRIVE. You can find out about her next Mental Health First Aid courses here.

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