I PROMISED myself I wouldn’t write about the coronavirus outbreak but here we are. I said to myself, you know what, there’s enough people spreading panic about all this and writing increasingly inflammatory stuff about it that the last thing anyone needs is me writing about it as well.

But it has now become all I can think about. Any idea for a story I have now I can’t stop myself thinking, “Aye but what if this happened to someone who was self-isolating?”

I didn’t take any of this seriously until last week. I came home from an event in Edinburgh late last Wednesday night to find my girlfriend in bed shivering like she was freezing to death but her forehead was hot enough to fry an egg on. “Better no be that coronavirus!” I laughed.

She shot me a withering look. “Nah, it won’t be that, hen,” I said. “Don’t worry!” Nervous laughter pouring forth from my mouth.

We went to bed that night with me insisting it was simply a bad cold. “You’ll be fine in the morning,” I said. “You’re probably just, eh, knackered!”

I woke up the next morning with the bed shaking like it was a harrier jump jet about to execute a vertical take-off. My girlfriend’s shivering had become worse, she was practically vibrating, oscillating at frequencies previously unknown to man. “I’m late for work,” she said, trying to cart her aching bones from the bed to the shower.

Her teeth chittering. Steam coming off her forehead. She let out a wee cough that was so dry it was like her throat was lined with dust you’d find under the couch.

“You want me to give you a lift in?” I joked.

“Aye, please,” she replied with a twitch.

“You’re no gawn anywhere, get back tae bed.” She did as I suggested while I decided what our next move was going to be. She phoned up the NHS who told her to self-isolate.

It appeared I was living with patient zero.

Since this virus popped up on everyone’s radar, I have not been worried about it in the slightest. Now here it was, literally in bed with my girlfriend.

Over the next few days my attitude goes from stoic and unbothered, “This coronavirus isn’t even that bad, it’ll disappear in a few days,” to, “I can’t believe I will be alive to witness the fall of civilisation as we know it.”

I start to worry. We don’t know for definite if it’s the coronavirus she has since she can’t be tested but it’s still quite scary. It’s all fine just now while I feel fit and well and I’m able to look after her.

We have enough food in the house to keep us going for another wee while so we won’t have to leave and risk infecting other people. But what if I become sick before she gets any better? What if our older relatives get sick and we can’t get out to help them? A lot of ‘what ifs’ going round in my head and not a lot of clear answers being given anywhere. All I can do is make sure she’s okay and gets better ASAP.

We’re now a week or so into self-isolation. A somewhat unexpected symptom of my girlfriend’s illness has been her new and incredibly vivid fever dreams. I remember awaking during the night to find her also lying awake. “I just had a weird dream about a whale,” she said. “Tell me about it quick,” I said, “before you forget”.

Other people’s dreams are of great interest to me, especially really weird ones.

“Well, me and my pals were away swimming somewhere and there was a big black whale in the water. I came out the water and said to my pals, ‘don’t go in there. It ate my ear off.’ The whale nibbled my left ear right off my head.”

Freud would have a field day with this lassie.

I could’ve been spending my own time in self-isolation by being productive, using the time I’ve been given off from cancelled gigs and events to finally finish my long overdue book. But, of course, I haven’t been doing that. I’ve instead lost myself in the game Football Manager, stressing myself out to the point where I’m losing sleep over the state of club’s finances. I’ve almost ruined Celtic thanks to my reckless spending.

Anyway, enough about us slowly losing our minds. I’ve caught myself saying to people that coronavirus will “just” be like “a bad flu” before realising the only “bad flus” I’ve ever had have simply been mild colds that I’ve played up to get time off work.

It’s going to hit me like a ton of bricks if and when I do get it. Just look after each other, folks, and look after yourselves.