What It’s Like to be Tested for Covid-19

covid test

Welp, yours truly just got tested for Covid-19. I find it rather ironic considering I made light of Coronavirus back in February, imagining quarantine to be nothing more than a nice little vacation. It’s also ironic that during our stay in Florida, I was the one lecturing about mask-wearing and demanding the use of antibacterial wipes. Hell, I printed out a one-page document on safety rules to keep us healthy.

Then on the last night of vacation (Monday), I took my temperature because I was feeling run down. I had no other symptoms other than feeling “bleh”. Our decade-old thermometer displayed a normal temp which just didn’t match how I felt. I vowed to get a new thermometer when we returned home.

Wednesday

I was back at work, no tanner than before Florida. I still felt yucky but what am I going to do, call the boss and be like, “I feel yucky, I’m calling off.” It wasn’t enough to call off and according to our thermometer, I didn’t have a temp.

Usually around 10, I like to take my temp as an excuse for a 3-minute break to walk to the neighboring department where the thermometer sits. I shoved it in my ear (disposable covering used of course!), pulled it out and read to myself,

‘100.1’

I flipped my hair to the other side and took the opposing ear temperature.

‘100’

“Well this isn’t good,” I said quietly. I stuck it in my right ear again, 100.1. With a temp of 100 or higher, company policy is to go home. As I walked into HR with my news, I heard my co-worker behind me, as she picked up the thermometer and exclaimed, “Jesus, is this you?”

Friday

Fast forward to today and I still feel crappy and still have a 100.1 temperature. I booked a COVID test at CVS, primarily because you get to take the test yourself so you don’t have a complete stranger poking a hole in your brain with the swab. I was told you only stick it in your nose, halfway. As a self-declared wimp, this was more my speed.

But my sister had other plans for my test.Β 

Friday morning, she has the phone number and all the information for me to take a rapid test, today. I knew that the rapid test involved a deep swab of my nostril.

“Can you have a rape kit available for my brain after the test?” I asked her.

“It’s not that bad, you’ll be fine,” she assured me but I knew I wasn’t going to be fine. The nose is what I like to call an outie. Like the pee hole, poop hole and ear hole, nothing should go into the nostrils.

When I called the number she gave me, I was told they were wide open today and I could book whatever time I wanted. Lucky me. Allotting enough time to come up with a feasible excuse and/or back out, I choose 3 PM, 6 hours from the time I called. When it was time to leave for the appointment, I threw a Lorazepam in my pocket, vowing to take it 30 minutes before the test. Sure, it had expired a year ago but I needed something to avoid a full-on panic attack.

At the Testing Location

I got tested at The Ohio State University, East Side, or what I would refer to as a place I could easily be shot. I was there about 30 minutes early and the goal was to sit in the parking lot and sike myself up for my brain to be stabbed. As I followed the arrows to what I thought would be an open parking lot, it actually turned out to be a no going back drive-thru. I began to panic.

“Oh my God, I didn’t take the Lorazepam!” I said out loud upon the realization of what was happening. It was evident that it didn’t matter that I was 30 minutes early, they were ready to swab now. I took a deep breath and called the number, displayed on the banner over the line of cars.

“I’m really early so I could just pull forward and wait my turn,” I said to the nurse on the other line.

“It’s ok. We can take you now,” she said.

Why is it that for miserable procedures like pap smears, root canals and a COVID test, offices are on time, borderline early? But when you’re eagerly anticipating a package from Amazon, they’ll exercise their right to deliver it exactly at 9 PM? If you are famished and can’t wait for your food to arrive at your table, that’s when it will take double the time. It never fails.

Like clockwork, a nurse came out of the medical trailer. She was dressed head to toe PPE but I could tell she was elderly. She could have easily been someone’s sweet grandmother. I rolled down my window. After verifying my name and birth date, I began the negotiations.

“Ma’am, can you please do a throat swab or something?”

“I’m sorry hun but we can’t unless your doctor authorizes it.”

So it was possible! My doctor freakin’ loves me but my only roadblock would be getting her on the phone in the next 30 minutes. The nurse obviously picked up on my confidence and didn’t want me to be disappointed.

“It could take your doctor anywhere from an hour to two hours to respond.”

This news is what broke me. Tears began to well up in my eyes. I was dead honest with her and turned into a toddler.

“I’m sorry but I’m so scared of this. How many seconds do you stick that in my nose?”

“Well it’s actually both nostrils and it’s for 5 seconds apiece.”

“Wait! Both nostrils?” I asked in complete shock. At no point did anyone alert me that we were double-dipping here. Picking up on my anxiety, she explained a bit further.

“But many places are only doing one nostril so if we get a good enough sample, one nostril will be fine.”

“Can I just have some time to park and think about all of this? Maybe call my doctor or something?” I asked. I knew what I was doing and I was ashamed of myself. If I drove into the parking lot, I knew I would just drive home. Regardless, she said I absolutely could. Finally, I asked the one question that would determine if I would get the test today.

“Is it worse than the flu test?”

“No, it’s not as bad.” She said and I believed her. I sat there thinking for a moment.

“Ok, let’s do this, but one nostril.”

“Absolutely!” She agreed as she began to rip open a swab. “Ok, tilt your head back and turn your head a little more to face me.”

I did as I was told, cringing.

“Ok, I want you to hum,” she commanded.

“Hum? Ok.” I said. I wasn’t going to question the method if it made this easier and faster. I hummed absolutely no tune, it was more of a dying beast noise. She stuck the swab up my nose and I could feel it press against a thin barrier that caused a burning sensation. I began to beat my hands against the steering wheel as a “get this over with! Are you done lady?” response.

She pulled the swab out and based on the burn I was sure my nose was bleeding, but it wasn’t. Oh my God, I had done it! It was over!

“Thank you for being so understanding!” I said sincerely.

“Honey, this is so hard. I understand.”

So that was me getting through a Coronavirus test. I did it and I’ll probably lose my shit if they come back saying something like they didn’t have enough snot from the swab and I have to do it over again. I was told the turn around time is averaging a day however they have up to 72 hours. As mentioned above, I’m sure I won’t get the results until like the 71st hour. When I do get them, I’ll post them here.

Until then, stay safe everyone!

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