Is that a Cough? I ask the Owner.
It might be, says the Owner, now excuse me, I am Languishing.
That was Rhetorical Question, I say. It was not much of a Cough, I say. I could easily have mistaken it for Clearing your Throat. One would expect a person with Covid to Cough rather more.
The Owner offers me a Dark Look. I did not realise there was a Minimum Coughing Requirement, she says. Would the Moral Dog be Happier to see the Owner Racked in a Consumptive Manner?
No, I say, but if you are going to call it Covid it ought to look like Covid, I say. How can you know you have Covid if you do not Cough?
I don’t know whether you have noticed, says the Owner, but I am Languishing.
I seem to recall that for Languishing, Long Petticoats and Living in the Late Nineteenth Century are a Requirement, I say. The Government has told us what the Symptoms of Covid are. They Include being Continuously Hot and Continuously Coughing. You are not Continuously Coughing. I agree that you are Languishing, but Languishing is not Mentioned Anywhere.
The Government may have Omitted to Mention It, says the Owner. But am a Doctor, I am Well Aware of the Diagnostic Significance of Languishing.
It is not Diagnostic Enough, I say. It is clear to me, I say, that if you are not Continuously Coughing you do not know you have Covid and therefore the Isolation of the Moral Dog has been a Waste of Time because we will have to Do It Again the Next time you have a Temperature. Particularly if you also have a Cough. And if, as I heard today, the Virus will circulate for up to Two Years we are going to be Isolated a Lot.
If Someone would Test people like Me, says the Owner, we could be a Useful Resource.
That is True, I say, but the Government has More Important People to Test than You. The Government is Attempting a Containment Strategy based on Social Distancing. They do not have time for Testing. Not even for Doctors. They seem to Imagine you will Work it Out without. Could you not Just Make More Effort to Cough?
No I could not, says the Owner. And failing to Test is Stupid, she Adds. All the Doctors say so. How come you are so Informed all of a Sudden? Her Cheeks have Gone all Pink but she is Still Not Coughing.
I heard it from Bercow, I say, and he heard it from Houdini who heard it from a Poodle that met the Prime Minister’s Dog. If anyone should know what Covid is like it is Surely the Prime Minister. Is he not Surrounded by Experts to whom he listens at All Time?
Is that a Rhetorical Question too? Asks the Owner, turning Even Pinker and Coughing Slightly More.
It is not a Question at all, I say. Not all Questions are Inquiries. When one says, am I not a Dog? Am I not a Brother? One does not expect an Answer.
The Owner Sighs. I am a Doctor, she says. It is Clear to Doctors that not Everyone Coughs Continuously, she says. It is Entirely Possible that Some People have Covid with hardly any Symptoms at All. Meanwhile I have had a temperature for a Whole Week, and have had to suffer endless comments from the Moral Dog about the Risk of my Inadvertently Cooking his Parts, questions which would be very Odd if this were not Covid. But you are Correct, the Cough is Unconvincing. I would be unconvinced that I had Covid were it not for both the Close Contact of the Man with someone who had a Proper Test, and more Importantly the Languishing. The Virus might prove to be like this for Many 58 year olds in the Prime of Life.
Even those who are nearly 59, I say. And that was not a Question, I say. In case you ask, I say.
The Owner attempts an Indignant Gasp, and starts to Cough. The Coughing goes on for some time. After she has finished she lies back on the Sofa and Gazes rather Pathetically at the Moral Dog. Now look what you Made me Do, she says.
That is Much Better, I say. Could you possibly keep going for the rest of the Evening, so that we can have Closure on future Moral Dog Isolation Planning and Move On? I say. And that is a Question, I say.
You are a Fine Friend at times of Trouble, says the Owner. I am going to bed. And she Retreats, Still Coughing.
The Moral Dog. A Fine Friend indeed. Available for Diagnosis Soon in a Park Near You.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.