A bloody saga

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AudlemOnline is, as our readers know, determinedly apolitical. As it happens the editors personally hold entirely reasonable, but diametrically opposed, opinions on political subjects. So we must completely dissociate the website from the contents of the first three paragraphs of Steph's admirable report.

Well what a Bank Holiday weekend! No live music to listen to from my balcony, instead just the sight of our dishevelled Prime Minister looking longingly from his window at his rose garden, watching Dominic Cummings, a hard boiled egg with haunting eyes, who is considered to be a true genius and normally would never need to explain what it is he's talking about.

rose garden

Boris was wishing his political sidekick would just bring his lengthy explanations to a close so he could go outside and play with his swing ball. We learnt a lot, yes, it is possible to drive nearly 300 miles with a four year old without stopping for the toilet or food — those genius genes must create great bladder functions, and also we now know that most opticians will probably never open again, as all optical problems can be diagnosed by means of a short drive to Barnard Castle — who knew?

Neither of them came up smelling of roses, so they could just have stayed indoors.

The UK Biobank Covid-19 study

If you don't believe one person can make a difference, then you have never been in bed with a bloodsucking insect, and I don't mean my husband, and given that research has shown that people who volunteer often live longer, I nobly agreed to participate, and was selected for the latest UK Biobank Covid 19 study — they obviously are aware of what a healthy specimen I am, although I do draw the line at being frozen in liquid nitrogen and sliced up.

blood test

So it was with some trepidation that I opened the kit they sent me and read 'The tips for successful collection'!

Preparing yourself

* Get your blood pumping, climb the stairs once or twice ( if you are able ), march on the spot, rotate your arms vigorously and shake your hands for a minute or two.

Surely there are other more exciting ways to do this? Although at the moment I am failing in my efforts to encourage the good ladies of Audlem to join with Lysistrata (look her up) in the vain hope that we can force our men to construct road blocks at the entrances and exits of all roads into our village, thereby creating an Audlem Covid free bubble.

On second thoughts I may need to follow their instructions!

* Don't rush

Well I'm already exhausted from getting my blood pumping and I'm at that age when my mind still thinks I'm 20, but my body mostly keeps asking if I'm sure I'm not dead yet, so I may need to sit down for a while.

* It's important to be well hydrated — drink two full glasses of fluid.

Fortunately, because of dizzy spells, my doctor told me to install a bar in my shower, so I did, and now I can hydrate as well as cleanse my perfect body — well it looks perfect after a few in-shower drinks! Mind you it hasn't solved my dizzy spells when I get out of the shower.

* Soak my hands in a bowl of warm water for two minutes and then dry them.

Quite frankly I'm lucky to have any hands left after all the washing of the last eight weeks, however if they want my helping hands, then there they are, still at end of my arms.

Now comes the heavy stuff. Warning, this is not for people with a delicate disposition, I may have to include myself in this category.

Taking your sample

Step 1 — Choose a finger. The ring or little finger on your non dominant hand usually works best. Clean the finger with an alcohol swab.

Have you ever thought how weird it is that we have one hand that knows how to do everything and then another that can't even hold a pencil? Anyway what happens if I am ambidextrous? There are enough challenges in life without these sort of dilemmas. My hands are clean so I'll just suck the swab, no need to waste alcohol.

Step 2 — Remove the cap from the lancet. Place the lancet against the side of my fingertip and press down firmly to pierce the skin.

Lancet? No-one ever mentioned I would have to actually break into my body. I'm not sure I'm ready for this foreign invasion, surely this should be classified as encouraging self harm? Well, there's no turning back now.

Step 3 — Wipe the first drop of blood away with the cleansing wipe and massage from the palm of my hand to halfway down my finger. Let the ensuing blood run into a tube and fill the tube up!

Generally the only blood I have taken is by mosquitos, but having looked at the tube.....I see it's huge! Fill it up? I'm going to need resuscitation after this. I need to remember I'm making a difference, the trouble is I'm not sure to whom.

Step 4 — Clean (what's left of ) your finger with a cleansing wipe and put a plaster on.

finger

Well at this moment all I can plaster on is a fake smile. I can see this is eventually going to entail the old 'plaster removal' technique and just get the pain over in one go.

Well finally its done and as I now have a sore finger my husband volunteers to take my sample to our post office, where I have no doubt he will be regaling Megan with the gory details of my blood letting!

Somebody forgot to give us the coronavirus survive and thrive manual. Many of us spent about a week and a half engrossed in daily detective work, investigating every establishment within a five mile radius in the relentless search for the modern day holy grail, toilet paper. Toilet paper! This is the world we live in now. It's utterly insane, and for the first time in history we can save the human race by lying in front of the TV and doing nothing, so let's not screw this up! Like all things, it will pass.

Afterthoughts

Don't wait until your deathbed to tell people how you feel, you may not have enough strength to lift your middle finger!