I never expected to be tested for COVID-19. But when the unexpected happened, I decided to share it with my readers, in the hopes of helping someone else.
Personally, I was scared of the unknown elements of the testing process. What would happen? Would it hurt? What would other people think of me? How would I react if I got a positive result?
I figured that if I felt that way, someone else probably did too. So here is what really happens when you get tested for COVID-19.
My story of being tested for COVID-19
Back in March, when the virus really hit the United States, I took immediate action and did everything I was supposed to do. I stockpiled food and canceled plans. My husband and I worked from home and the kids switched to remote learning.
We only ventured out once a week for groceries. I disinfected everything that came into our home and practically made handwashing an Olympic sport.
And then the world started to open up. My daughter went to a couple of soccer practices. My husband and I took a trip to a home improvement store. But we all wore masks, used hand sanitizer and were cautious around other people.
Everything was going according to plan, until it wasn’t.
On Father’s Day, I woke up and felt “off”. My noon, I was exhausted and a fever set in. I brushed it off as a summer cold and went to take a nap, thinking I would wake up and feel much better.
But it didn’t happen that way. My body started to ache and I barely made it downstairs for dinner that night. Still, I hoped I was just tired and a good night’s rest would take care of it.
Monday and Tuesday were the same and my husband insisted I call the doctor.
“It’s just a cold,” I said.
“Are you trying to convince me or yourself?” he countered.
Calling the doctor
Grudgingly, I called my doctor and left a message for the nurse to call me back. I didn’t want to make the call because I knew in my heart how it would go. They would want me to get tested for Covid-19 and I really didn’t want to do it.
I knew it was the socially responsible thing to do, but I was afraid of what the test would say. In my head, I was holding onto hope that I could ignore the problem and it would go away. I know, I know . . . stupid and childish, but I’m being completely honest with you here.
When the doctor’s office called back, things went pretty much as I expected. The nurse asked me a bunch of COVID-19 screening questions. Was I coughing? How high was my fever? Was I experiencing shortness of breath?
I didn’t have all the classic symptoms, but I had enough that the doctor thought it was a good idea to get tested. She emailed me a prescription and the name and number of the closest testing facility.
I made an appointment for the next morning and settled in for a long night of worrying.
“Did I breathe on my daughter, who has asthma? Or my son, who is immunocompromised?”
“I’m the only one who is sick, so it must not be Covid.”
“What if I somehow contaminated my family’s food while I was making dinner?”
“How would I ever forgive myself if my children got sick?”
“How could I have picked it up? I was so careful.”
“My fever isn’t that high – it’s just a cold. But what if I’m wrong”
The next morning, my husband volunteered to drive me to the testing site. I nervously babbled the entire way there, my face turned to the window so I wouldn’t breathe on him.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I was scared that the test would hurt. I had heard the horror stories about the swab that goes completely up your nasal cavity and basically scrapes your brain.
I kept silently repeating to myself, “It’s only a few seconds. If Trump can handle it, you can too.”
When we arrived, my husband offered to come in with me, but I told him to stay in the car where it was safer.
The testing site was a well-oiled machine. Signs outside directed me to a separate entrance, specifically for COVID-19 testing.
A person met me outside and confirmed that I had the necessary paperwork, my ID and insurance cards. She made me wait with her until there was enough room inside and then she directed me to the next person.
Everyone in the facility was wearing a full-body gown over their scrubs, plus a face mask, eye shield and gloves. It felt eerily similar to a sci-fi movie that I didn’t want to star in.
Inside, another woman helped me check in at a kiosk. I had to scan my appointment barcode on my phone and then she sent me to the official check in desk.
At that desk, my insurance and ID were scanned and they took the prescription from my doctor. Then, I was instructed to sit in a specific cluster of chairs and wait for the test.
Being tested for COVID-19
Yet another woman came to get me and take me for the actual test. She was kind and explained the procedure to me as I sat there, nervously wringing my hands.
The test I took involved a nasal swab that looked like a big q-tip. She stuck it in one nostril and swirled it around and then repeated the procedure in the other nostril. It felt strange, but not at all painful. The test was done in less than twenty seconds.
The woman handed me a sheet with instructions and said, “Your results will be back in one to two days. Until then, we ask that you self quarantine“.
I nodded my assent and slowly walked back to the car, the sobering reality of the situation hitting me. If I tested positive, that would mean my entire family would have to quarantine. I could have put my husband and children at risk. I could potentially get a lot sicker in a short amount of time.
The mom guilt was setting in big time.
I went home and spent the rest of the day resting on the sofa, watching television, taking my temperature every hour and trying to convince myself that I was feeling better.
The next morning, I woke up and checked the online patient portal while I was having my morning coffee. And there it was, under the Test Results column – COVID 19 NEGATIVE.
Relief swept through my body. I can’t even imagine how I would have reacted if the result had been different.
Later that morning, a person called from the testing facility to make sure I had seen the results. That afternoon, my doctor’s office also called to confirm that I saw it.
We still don’t know exactly what I had, but I’m going with my first instinct that it was probably just a cold. So I continue to rest and recover and be grateful that is was nothing else. And I will continue to take precautions and try to keep my family safe because I don’t want to ever experience that level of uncertainty again.
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