It’s 8:15am, and I’m typing while my car is parked in line for me to take a COVID-19 test. Parked because the testing doesn’t begin until 9:00am. I can’t even see how many people are parked in line in front of me and there’s a growing line behind me. Needless to say, for someone like me who has anxiety, this whole situation is not helpful for my condition!
It all began a week ago when I decided to do a good deed and volunteer for a few hours with some friends of mine. (No good deed goes unpunished, right?) We spent most of the time outdoors under an E-Z UP canopy passing out flyers and T-shirts, and a little bit of time inside putting boxes away. I met some nice people, had a good time serving, and then went home with the satisfaction of believing I did something worthwhile.
Four days later I got a phone call telling me that more than one person I volunteered with became sick from COVID-19. Her exact words were ‘very sick’! Oy!! Apparently, they caught it before we volunteered together and weren’t showing any symptoms at the time I was with them!
So now here I am hoping a praying that the masks we all wore, were enough to protect me. As of this typing, I’m not showing any symptoms so at least I’m feeling good… physically. Mentally, it’s been a battle to stay positive why waiting to see if I get sick. Waiting to find out what the test result will be. Waiting to reunite with my family after I quarantined myself this whole time, or at least from the time I found out.
Which brings to the most stressful waiting… waiting to see if I infected my family because for four days I didn’t know I had been exposed to this virus.
And that’s the secret to the spread of COVID. The time it takes to find out if you are infected while you may already be infected without any awareness of it.
In fact, my health care provider told me to wait a week to ten days after exposure before I get tested to make sure I didn’t get a false negative result. Which makes me wonder, how many people get a false negative from their tests and then go out into the world as if they’re fine? Ugh, I hate COVID!
So now it’s 9am and the line behind me wrapped around the parking the lot. I even saw a few people get out of line. Guess the wait was too much for them. Have to say though it wasn’t too bad once we started moving. I was led down to a parking garage where there were a lot of health care workers in yellow scrubs, gloves, masks and face shields. They took my info. I told them I didn’t have symptoms, but I was exposed to someone who tested positive. My car was then directed underneath the garage where there were different stations. One to take your info, ask questions, and then I arrived at the last one.
Here a healthcare worker approached me with swab in hand, asked me to turn off my engine, pull down my mask and stuck the swab down my throat past the place of my comfort level. I somehow managed to resist gagging, and then she asked me to pull the mask up over my mouth while she put THE SAME SWAB up both of the my nostrils! Ugh. If they can’t find the virus now, I must be negative! She then informed me that it would be three or four days before I got the results.
“Three or four days!” I exclaimed. “Yes, I’m sorry,” she replied.
So I went home and broke the bad news to my family, that they may be waiting on me for another three or four days.
While in my solitary confinement I did the best I could to not worry about every little physical discomfort I felt. But with anxiety, that in itself can bring feelings of light headedness, nausea, headache, etc. How do I discern if it is my anxiety, or the virus I’m feeling? I decided that if those feelings went away, then it must be the anxiety. If it’s COVID, those feelings would escalate. Right?
Two days later, I’m up at 4am because I can’t sleep. I scroll through my emails and my heart skips a beat when I see an email from my health care provider telling me I have test results. Already? How did it happen so fast? I opened my message and there it was, I was NEGATIVE for COVID-19!!
I ran to my bedroom door, opened it and shouted, “My test was negative!” Of course my daughter was still asleep at 4am, but my husband heard me! However, the first one to greet me was the dog. All 55 pounds of her came bounding up the stairs and gave me a big lick. Yep, I missed her too. It feels good to be free again!
Please everyone, stay safe, wear your masks, and let’s hope 2021 is a better year!