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Diary of a quarantined sociologist - day 9
By Sarah B. Faulkner
Posted: 2020-09-17T20:17:00Z

Whenever there is a knock on the door it could be one of a few things. Your meal (in which case the staff member who dropped it off is long gone); a care package (also consists of a long gone staff member); the South Australian police who do their mandatory checks; or a public health nurse coming to take a COVID swab. I must be more careful how I answer the door and respond to these knocks, however, because I never know if it is an actual person or just a paper bag of food awaiting me. The other day I decided to break in my wedding shoes and so the police witnessed a woman in full pajamas, teeth whitening strips, glasses and high heels answer the door. I’m sure that they have seen weirder things, but it did cause me to think twice about how I answer the knocks from then on. Yesterday after my chat with the public health nurse on the phone, it was not long before the knock revealed option 4 - the public health nurses with their trolley. It was decided that my symptoms were enough to warrant another test to be on the safe side. While I don’t think that anyone really gets used to the swab (it's definitely no bubble bath), I felt an immense sense of relief that they had decided to test me again. Whatever the outcome, at least I would truly know and not have to wait another 5 days in uncertainty until they performed the day 12 test. The nurses mentioned that within 24 to 72 hours I should receive a call to verify the test’s outcome. I’m not sure what happens if you don’t have an Australian number, but I’m sure they have figured out a system for this. So. Up went the Q-tip and back to my bed I went. To sleep. To wait. To think. 

Time is an interesting concept. When we are looking forward to something or awaiting important news, the hours and minutes can crawl by. A few hours waiting for an outcome that can dictate your future can feel like days or weeks. Over the past 9 days I have not struggled with the time I have spent in this room. I have not felt bored, I have not felt trapped, and I have not found time to be my enemy. Until today. Since taking my second swab and being given 24 to 72 hours until they notify me of the results, I have found the hours drag and my anxiety levels spike. Of course, this is not a foreign concept to many. Waiting for medical results, waiting for a loved one to make it safely back home, waiting for news on the outcome of a visa. Waiting. It can be rough. For migrants, the time spent waiting for news on the outcome of their visa status can alter their perspective of time and its projections. Days, weeks, even months become blurred. Life goals, future prospects, and ambitions become suspended. Having been a migrant myself, I have felt this life of suspended animation before. You often feel like you are living on a separate life path and trajectory of time compared to friends who are not migrants. It can be a frustrating, isolating, and stressful world. Time. It can be great or it can, quite honestly, suck. My mom once said to me that her greatest issue with life was that it just goes too fast. When we are happy and satisfied, there are not enough hours in the day. Not enough days in the week. We blink and our holiday is over. Our kids are grown up. But when we have to wait? Does it ever crawl. The relativity of time. It’s almost like Einstein was onto something there.