Comfort Food
Reader's Digest UK|March 2021
A difficult diagnosis leaves the Mann family in a tough spot this month, but Olly has his coping mechanisms…
Olly Mann
MY SON, TOBY, 17 months old, has just tested positive for COVID-19. We half-expected it—that’s why we’d taken him to be tested, after all. But it was still unpleasant news to receive at five am; the NHS text flashing up at precisely the moment he coughed in my face for the fifth time that morning. Er, OK, I thought: this temperature and runny nose are indeed the Dreaded Lurgy (as opposed to just, you know, Lurgy). But what exactly can I do with this information?

Our whole household has to self-isolate for ten days, that much is clear. To be honest, there isn’t an enormous difference between lockdown and self-isolation, apart from all those really indulgent trips to buy stamps we’ll so valiantly sacrifice. But Toby is the first in our household to test positive, and all the information provided for people in this predicament is designed for adults who are (or should be) concerned about protecting their families. Toby, obviously, cannot comprehend such advice. He cannot keep a distance from everybody else, or eat and wash in a separate room. There’s a word for asking a baby to behave like that, and that word is neglect.

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