Could you please Stop Coughing now? I say to the Owner. I would like to go for a walk.
Unfortunately, says the Owner, we do not get to Choose how long we cough for. I hear that most people cough from day Eight, for a few or several days. I am hoping for no more than three.
Three days of Coughing? I say. This is not Pride and Prejudice, you know. In the Modern World people do not Employ Victorian Melodrama in order to Command Sympathy.
Trust me, says the Owner, the Moral Dog’s Sympathy is far too Slobbery to justify Coughing in a Melodramatic Manner. It is Positively Ectoplasmic.
If you do not appreciate Dog Sympathy, I say, then let us go to the Park.
I cannot do that because I Have a Cough, says the Owner.
That may be true, I say, but Bercow tells me that Houdini says that the Poodle who knows the Prime Minister’s Dog says that Seven Days after Symptoms Begin then you can go Out Again because you are Better. This is Day Eight.
Do I sound Better? asks the Owner, then dissolves into Coughing.
I am sorry, I say, but Sarcasm is the Lowest Form of Wit. The Moral Dog has Multiple Contacts. We are very well informed. We say after a Week you can go outside again. You are probably just Coughing out of Nerves. You have had a Nasty Virus, after all.
Are your Multiple Contacts by any chance Qualified Doctors? Asks the Owner.
No, I say, but they have almost certainly talked to Doctors much Cleverer than you, who say you can Go Out with your Moral Dog after Seven Days. They did not suggest a Cough would prevent this.
I am Coughing like a Hyaena, says the Owner. This is not Nerves and I am not Jane Bennet. I am Obviously Infectious. It goes against All my Medical Training to Imagine Otherwise. Whilst I am Coughing I must assume I am Infectious and Cannot go Out. Moreover nobody has yet made clear how soon after I stop coughing I can see Patients. That could be Seven Days even beyond the End of the Cough.
I Sigh Loudly. My Ministerial Colleagues’ Contacts say the Advice is Clear, I say, you are Free to Go to the Park as long as you are not nearer than Two Metres to Anyone Else. They will not mind you Coughing if you Explain that you have now been ill for Eight days.
Won’t they? Asks the Owner. Won’t they?
Saying it in italics is just a Ruse to Intellectually Intimidate me, I say. You may be a GP but you are not In Charge of This.
Hergest, says the Owner, do you prefer to believe the Evidence of your Own Beloved Owner, or your Third Hand Claims from the Prime Minister’s Dog?
Is that a Trick Question? I ask.
No, says the Owner, it is a Sensible One, derived from my Belief in Evidence Based Medicine. Do you think a Coughing Person who cannot sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ without Falling off the Piano Stool is, on the Balance of what is Known, well enough not to Threaten the Health of Anyone Else?
I believe it is the Best we can Expect, I say, given the current situation and your age of very nearly Sixty Years.
I am 58 and Perfectly Well Most of the Time, says the Owner, and you are a Toad.
That is not what I call Evidence Based Medicine, I say. I am clearly not a Toad. I do not have Warty bits and I am clearly Not Green.
I’ll give you Evidence Based Medicine, says the Owner. This is what I have learned. People who cough with a Virus are usually Infectious. A Cough acts like a Small Explosion of Virus into the air. Until I stop coughing like a Hyaena I Must Assume I am Infectious. We are not Going for a Walk, we are going to do the Right Thing, and You need to stop listening to Gossip.
I am listening to the Prime Minister, I say. A Man who, whilst Limited in Consistency and Moral Appeal is very Clear that the Moral Dog can be Taken for a Walk at All Times. He says this Illness lasts only seven days. You wasted Yours on Languishing without a Proper Cough. You Cannot Now be Ill. Suggesting that you may now Explode is Really Not Fair. That is like the Boy who Cried Wolf. Or Matilda whose House Burned Down.
This just goes to Show, says the Owner, what happens when a Moral Dog blames his Owner for not Coughing Enough.
Do not blame me for your Cough, I say, you have a Virus.
Exactly, says the Owner, coughing Wildly. It is Not Gone Yet.
So you are refusing to Take the Moral Dog for a Walk? I ask, despite all Advice to the Contrary?
I am not Even Listening, says the Owner.
Honestly. The Moral Dog. Fully informed from Multiple Social Sources, completely ignored.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.