DAY ONE. WEDNESDAY.

THE DREADFUL REALIZATION THAT NO MEDICAL AND COMPASSIONATE EXEMPTION WOULD COME.

I woke then slept again. The heavy delicious sleep which since has forsaken me. The new bed freshly made and fluffy. The slumber in but one position as witnessed by the sheets and pillows impression of my body. The huge escape sleep.

All good things come to and end and after making tea and retrieving my white paper carrier bag with my unpleasant Full English, I sat contemplating my fate. I was well rested at least and my immediate job would be getting hold of Paul the liaison officer.

I didn’t shower or wash, just put my violet Vietnamese cotton baggy pants and my fluorescent green ‘Mayan Riviera’ top and scratching my head for indeed I still had the course shelly sand in it around my now very grubby roots.

There is something interesting about being institutionalised, at the beginning you do fight it, maybe not in obvious ways but in small defiant acts.

I for example was determined not to wash my hair and only my body in a very minimal way. I would not wear knickers and only my substitute pyjamas all day. I would not unpack my little suitcase. I would stride commando to my various guarded sorties outside of my room, alongside these stupid people who wouldn’t like the fact that not only was I the only person who was mask-less, but knicker-less. I would cry freely as I walked around, I would hyperventilate in public and I would shake uncontrollably when smoking a cigarette without shame.

I would pick precious large bits of shelly sand out of my treasure trove of a birds-nest and inspect them in great detail and try to remember Mexico’s white beaches.

It was all so surreal I walked as a ghost along the designated paths and only understood the mantra ‘726 Taylor’ to be repeated on phoning down, to the guard who comes to your door to knock for you, to the desk on your landing outside the lifts and to the desk outside the lifts on the ground floor an then have them call out female guard to get one to walk you to the car park exit door, all of which had to be repeated upon returning to your room.

CTM security staff are nearly all Indian. Just saying. When I was calling at huge expense from Mexico they were all Indians who answered. Some with accents so thick they could not be understood and the lines were terrible too which added to the frustration. I had the phone put down on me seven times too so they are very fucking rude. When my friend called from London to cancel my hotel in time to not be charged she had exactly the same problem. Where do they get off on this deliberate aggressive manning of the phones? Once out of here it’s on my very horrible ‘to do’ list which will be all the people who did me wrong. It’s lengthy and very specific. I will hunt them down.

The day was full of crying. I was dazed and had only just gone back on my epilepsy meds and the Diazepam wasn’t even touching the sides. I couldn’t eat lunch or dinner and only had cash which they refused so couldn’t even get a glass of wine. I would have to wait for my card to arrive so I could get the details to access room service. I didn’t want to talk to anyone except my cousin I felt too fragile and somehow humiliated. My confusion was a serious worry to me as I felt it could be a precursor to seizures or indeed I was going mad and senile. This was also a worry because I was getting paranoid. What if they sectioned me? I could believe anything now so really wanted to crawl into a dark corner and hide.

I did no writing and had no appetite for researching or communicating with friends or family. I felt very close to ending it when I went into those very dark places. Although I’m pretty sure I would never do that there was a niggling doubt that I was no longer me, I was transparent and possibly none of this was even real. The weather had been consistently grey and I really believed I would never get home and I was in purgatory, which in effect I was.

Then there was the PCR test to be done the following morning. This held new terrors. What if they didn’t accept that I could only do the mouth thing as even slightly further in my throat makes me gag and chunder and the nose was a completely no go area. What if it came back a false positive like the first one I did on trying to return from Mexico? They had already told me that then you had to start over. That meant more money I didn’t have and surely I would crack under the pressure if one more thing happened.

At that stage I had been two days shy of a month, with this terrible nightmare all stemming from that false positive. If that hadn’t happened I would have been back in time to leave before they turned Mexico red. I would have quarantined at home and had already paid for my two tests from a clinic on the governments list. I had a freezer full of food and cupboards overflowing for my return. I was completely prepared. This miserable slow torture could be traced back to that fucking $100 test.

As the night closed in I dosed up with tranqs and Sleepeeze so I could at least sleep before my ordeal in the morning.

None of my normal rituals were practised as I grubbily got into bed and tried to watch some comedy then finally turned on my audible story to help me drop off. Sleep was of course fitful and dreams violent and there was always a telephone in them where the numbers were obscured or the phone melted and nobody could save me.

OVER AND OUT

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