Tomorrow (Friday) my brother Ian is scheduled to arrive in Wakefield, affording me two days/nights respite from caring for our mother Maggie. The matriarch living under a stark landscape poisoned by living with vascular dementia, along with post-stroke physical impairment.

With this in mind, it was with some trepidation I awoke this morning to find a text from the NHS laying menacingly within my mobile device inbox. A sight which my default pessimism immediately decided would be news I’d been in contact with someone who’d recently tested positive for COVID-19. Consequently, I’d convinced myself at that point, there’d now be a requirement for me isolating for ten days…… Damn you NHS app, I thought.

At that juncture, believing this directive would rob me of quality time freed from the shackles of a carer’s role, GJ Strachan chuntering a raft of colourful expletives under his stale early morning breath.

Footnote – I always read my texts and scan my social media timelines prior to leaving bed and cleaning my teeth. With my mobile device being bereft of a sense of smell, I feel the nashers can wait a few minutes until I get the significantly more important early morning stuff out of the way.

Anyhow, upon reading the text it turned out I’d worried unnecessarily. This message informing me the splendid news of a coronavirus test I took on the 30th July had returned a negative reading.

Hurrah I thought….. Prior to uttering ‘Up yours COVID!”, for failing with its toxic agenda of spoiling my respite plans…… However, it then struck me I’d not had a coronavirus test on the 30th July (last Friday)…… I’d one on the 29th July, but got the result of that being negative the following day.

Look, don’t get me wrong, living on planet COVID I’ll actively welcome any good news these days, even if the serendipitous bulletin is clearly incorrect. However, I still couldn’t help ponder what the catalyst was for my receipt of this uplifting, yet misleading, news.

It can’t be a scam I concluded. After all, the message contained nothing more than a cheerful health directive. It wasn’t saying to me “Dear Mr Strachan, the coronavirus test you took on 30th July was negative……. Now could you please click on the link below as we need your internet banking passwords and account details to verify your identity…… With lots of love, Arthur in Nigeria”

No, all I can think is the NHS message was sent to me in error. The lab maybe re-examining my original test on the 29th July after Frank, one of the scientists, sought confirmation from a colleague I wasn’t half (or indeed fully) Oompah Loompah following my sample inexplicably turning orange.

Footnote – When yours truly writes ‘all I can think is the NHS message was sent to me in error’, I of course don’t mean for the term to be taken literally. I’ve the cognitive wherewithal to think of many other things as well. Such as how beautiful butterflies are, if Mavis is a good name for a cat, along with notions about whether Pot Noodle manufacturers use dust within their core ingredients.

Incidentally, the NHS message failed to confirm one way or the other if I’m half, or fully, Oompah Loompah.

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