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  • Writer's pictureAisling Salisbury

My Trip to Australia - Quarantine Day Three #noRona

Day 3 (technically 2) - Monday, May 31st, 2021

On cue I wake up with what I was expecting would happen to me after a period of time with no fresh air and relying only on an air conditioner in a hotel room. I awake with my sinuses all clogged up.

On footy road trips I would always wake up with my nose clogged and would have issues clearing my sinuses for at least a day. I always thought it was because I was hungover and it was due to the histamines in the alcohol. Then along comes my boyfriend and tells me, "it's sleeping with the air conditioner on". Without a word of a lie, I was cured of what I always thought was a Hangover symptom.

Needless to say, I feel this is an opportunity to get moved to a room with a balcony or with an open window. Highly unlikely, but worth a shot. My hopes are definitely dashed during the nurse's call-in this morning. When I report my clogged sinuses an alarm bell rings. Despite me telling them it's the air conditioning, the priority for them is that I have COVID. I know my body, it's also another reason that on long haul flights after about 12hrs I spend the rest of the flight trying to clear my nose. Today I am also due for my first Rona test. Because of the alarm bell, they say they'll expedite the result so they know by tomorrow morning because I have a "possible symptom".

I repeat to them that it's not COVID, although I get they're doing a job but it's further proof as to why I need to have fresh air. Clogged sinuses also means chest congestion. Instead of saying "we'll see if we can get you a room with a balcony or at least start the paperwork" I'm told to put in an order with Chemist Warehouse for some Vicks or some Nasal Sprays and it should be delivered by this evening. I know I don't have COVID, but a part of me goes "hey Ash if you get a false positive, they'll either move you to the hospital or to another hotel, either way, you'll have to go outside for that."

When you're locked away you need to focus on a silver lining somewhere don't you?

Breakfast arrives, along with the menu for today and tomorrow. It looks good, besides one item but that's tomorrow's lunch and I'm not concerned about it. Why? Well, I have come to realise that each meal would be more than enough to cover at least two meals for myself. Then combined with my junk food order from Woolies, I have a concern now that I'll be getting fat over the next two weeks.

My shower that day results in finding some positivity. Because of my sinuses, I have a prolonged shower in order to breathe in the steam in the hopes of using it to clear my nose. It is during this long shower that I remember my time as a flight instructor and using fluid aerodynamics to explain how lift is generated. Air and Water behave in a similar fashion, also let's not forget that water is made up of Oxygen. This water is coming from outside, ergo, this is my opportunity to get a form of "fresh air" as well. Therefore I have now discovered how to cope with the lack of fresh air, so sorry Sydney but my showers aren't going to be four-five minutes anymore.

We'll see how long this "simulation" of the outside lasts though.

My Woolies delivery arrives and as I say I regret ordering so much junk food. But some of these items are the things I was missing from my American life and can partake in now that I'm back on Aussie shores.

Aussie Comfort Food

Not long after lunchtime comes the Rona test. This is the fourth one I have ever had and the first where I've had to have my throat swabbed as well. Then again, say what you want about PCR tests, Australia is still running a testing regime that is outdated, further proof of how behind the nation is when it comes to getting on with life. This Quarantine programme is definitely evidence of that. Let's not forget this, Hotel Quarantine is a policy from March 2020 that was meant to be a temporary measure. It was brought in to cover the fact that there was a lack of testing for people to obtain before flying to Australia and a lack of testing available in Australia. Little was known about the virus at that time too. It's why even the CDC says that if you actually have COVID you only need to be isolated for ten days, not 14.

My test samples are taken and I must say this test, even with the throat swab, was the gentlest I've had. Perhaps they're thinking I have Rona and want as little to do with me as possible. Therefore it's a case of it being quick as opposed to invasive. An advantage of having something shoved up your nostrils though is the fact that it clears out your sinuses even if you have a clear nose. So after this, my nostrils are cleared for at least 40minutes. Anyway, my afternoon is better spent doing those online classes for work. The decision is also made to permanently shut down the air conditioner to my room.

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