C19 blog: A dispatch from the corona front line by Jos Godwin


A friend and follower of The Lilliput Press chronicles his recent experience with COVID-19. He has given the Press permission to share his story with you all in the hope that it will inform and amuse during these difficult days.


Been cooped up for ages. The Task Force finally called me for testing on Tuesday and I’m almost better. That’s eleven hellish days after I first reported symptoms to the GP and thirteen days after my initial fever etc. kicked in.

Ironically for someone like myself with flooded lungs, the air quality is now fabulous! Living near the airport one notices these things. The once-magnificent Northwood demesne across the drive has an atmosphere of dense purified oxygen. It’s such a pity the grandest Palladian mansion in all Dublin that once crowned this Reptonesque landscape no longer exists. In my wish to escape my troubles that continue to be life-threatening, I note the proximity to airports of both Northwood and the splendid, still extant Ostankino estate of the Sheremetev dynasty, whose name was pillaged by the Soviets for Moscow’s airport. I imagine grand interiors crammed with priceless art treasures. Suddenly I’m on my balcony in search of oxygen and realize I’m choking, hallucinating pre-revolutionary Russian splendour! With a gasp I regained myself wondering if I were ill enough to bother calling an ambulance in these overstretched times?

Before actual testing I was summoned for assessment by the GP who I hadn’t heard from in almost a week. My sister called and said they had changed the criteria.

The terrified doctor made me come out of isolation and grab a bus into town to be “assessed” saying “it” may reoccur on day twelve, which would have been today. I hardly slept last night once again with the worry. That would make it six or seven nights without sleep.

When told to “pop in” to the GP’s clinic I was shocked, explaining I might be a danger to others. I was met with a silence and, sticking to orders, braved the bus with mask and gloves and in my hand a spray bottle of lethal antibacterial liquid unavailable on the market. I screamed to the three others on board as I zapped my leapcard, “I may have it! Sorry, I’ve been summoned for assessment. Really sorry folks.” Let’s just say I had plenty of legroom at the back as the other commuters fled like scalded cats, unlike those two weeks previously who pointed at my mask and surgical gloves and began laughing at me. Attitudes had changed. Or so I thought.

I had naively been telling family if “this is it” I’ve got off lightly; however, I spent five nights without the ability to breathe or lay down or sleep. It was hell. A chewing gum in the lungs feeling,  like the Elephant man – unable to lay prostrate. It was not me but my body that was afraid to lay down in case of drowning. By about 4am on each of the bad nights I’d get dressed and head outside for long walks so I could almost breathe. At one point I started running to try and break up the pulmonary mucus but almost had a seizure in doing so. Actually, I think I may have had the seizure.

Doctor Ali, who I often had the good fortune to be able to reach for emergencies at the hotel where I work, sorted me by proxy with a prescription for antibiotics and an inhaler that, despite them saying were no good, I know saved my life. I have dormant asthma so I haven’t had an inhaler for decades. Till now! It’s now my prized possession and I keep it on the mantelpiece next to my hallucinated Fabergé cigarette-case collection!

So yes, lungs not great in my genetic pool I muse. I guess this is what an “underlying condition” means. Best to avoid getting this it at all costs! Are we being told everything or drip-fed information to avoid a wilderbeest-like stampede of panic?

And the total lack of care at one’s disposal is not so apparent considering there are so many more other poor souls much worse-off than oneself.

I’m sooo lucky I was “nice” to Dr Ali those years ago when I got him into the hotel because DubDoc were unavailable for tending to our guests. My life was saved by his helpful prescription.

My heart pumping from over-exertion I had to go outside to the beautiful demesne once again at 4am as I couldn’t sleep despite being exhausted. My beloved fiancée in the next room asleep, is fine so far. I must have been given milk replacement by Mummy in the ‘60s. She had four nannies on the go for five kids

Dr Ali was so appreciative of my kindness to him in the past. If Karma were real I’d be a billionaire able to buy up all the ugly buildings in the country and airbrush them from the landscape – holding up priceless eighteenth-century landscapes to the result, sipping fine claret and feeling accomplished as new landscapes returned to matching the paintings.

More seriously, I was sooo careful way before anyone. I wore a mask out and at work carried that potent spray EVERYWHERE. I knew we were being drip-fed information and told  anyone who’d listen. I had an intuition C19 would be more dangerous than they said or knew.

I have loads of anecdotes about assholes out and about. Some quite funny but in a nutshell about 40% of people are stupid c_nts (please excuse my rage) and within that 40%, 20% are just numpties and the other 20% are zealots who feel their mission is to make hypochondriacs (cautious people like me) lighten up. They come superclose if they see you wearing a mask, snigger among themselves and either bump into you or do something to teach you a lesson. Batshit crazy stuff.

Even if you’re careful and civic it just takes one of the 40%. So very unfair. I’ve been carefully observing the behavioural patterns of people and I think my 20%-20% zealot-numpty guestimate is bang on.

I was so happy to be good today I set about the gaff like a bomb hit it. My beloved fiancée went into the next room on the phone for a couple of hours as I tidied up and made a roast lunch. I set the table with ironed linen and polished antique silverware. Even lit candles. My lady got a bit of a surprise at seeing the transformed dining arrangements – she’s been AMAZING!!!! This is a small thank you.

Ta for reading my long rant with sympathy and strength to y’all!