Thursday, 11 June 2020

The Process Part 2

The day of the test I woke up super nervous.  As much as I tried to convince myself there was nothing to be anxious about, sometimes anxiety doesn't care and is like I WILL MAKE EVERYTHING SO MUCH WORSE FOR YOU, YOU'RE WELCOME!!!!  I cried a lot that morning, ostensibly about the injury to the older gentleman in Buffalo and the "response" to it and the lack of humanity, but as I said to Jason in a weepy call, I know that my stress over the test and my health was all wrapped up in the upset out of the states.

I distracted myself with whatever, and then that afternoon was the longest wait ever.  I really wanted to go early and just say can we please just get this over with, I know I'm not due here for two more hours but... please?

I digress...

So I can not speak to how your experience might be elsewhere in the province or country or world, so this is just my experience of getting tested here on the lower Island.

They'd asked me on the call if I was closer to one of two Island Health facilities, and I said I wasn't sure but that I was probably closer to the one not in Saanich.  (I really have no clue where the facilities are, well now I know where one is!)  They explained to me that I'd see white tents and I'd drive towards them and await instructions - even as to when to roll my window down.

The nurse had suggested I take tissues as I'd wand to blow my nose, and so I had my mask on, and my tissues and my water (not sure why...?) and off I went.  I was anxious, but I'd already used Google maps to double check where to drive and that there was only one way in.  So I got there, pulled onto the side street and cautiously pulled into what i hoped was the location, my mask up and on.

I drove slowly through the parking area and then saw the signage.  A big sign that said "private testing, appointment only" or something close to that and a stop sign.  I stopped at the stop sign (I am good at that, yay me!) and followed the arrows on the sign to turn right.  There I could see one of those white tent set up things and a few people and a vehicle ahead of me.  I stopped at the next stop sign, windows up, mask on, until a security officer waved me forward.  (I was a little early at this point, although I'd tried to be right on time.)  He waved for me to roll down my passenger window, asked if I had an appointment.  I did.  He checked his list, asked me my name and time of appointment and then told me to drive forward to behind the truck and to then turn my engine off.

The nurse on the phone had told me to keep my windows up until they told me to so I had my engine off and window up.  Then a nurse approached my driver's side window in her full PPE gear - cover-all gown type thing and face mask shield thing and gloves and my paperwork and swab thing.

She waved for me to roll down my window, and I had to turn my car on right quick to do so, then off again.  She said hello and asked me the identifying questions.  At this point, the nurse on the phone had suggested they might take some measurements (not the word she used, she used a professional medical term that I've now forgotten) like temperature and stuff, but the nurse didn't do that (which I think I only realized later, not a big deal.)  She asked me if I'd ever had a "nasopharyngeal swab" before and I'm currently embarrassed to say my response was a confused "I don't think so?"  Now, if you're wondering why I said that, it's because years ago I had to go to an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor for reasons I no longer remember and it was a rather miserable experience including things stuffed (?) stuck up my nose so I honestly had no idea what he might have done at that time so my answer is... I don't think so?  Probably should just have said no, but I really try not to be dishonest or something, I dunno.  I was stressed, man!

She explained that it would be about ten seconds "up there" and asked me if there was a nostril I prefer.  This genuinely confused me and when I gave her a... uh.... no? response she explained that some people had a preference due to a deviated septum or something and I just kind of shrugged.  She had me tilt my head honestly not that far at all, really just kind of against the headrest and she asked me to pull my mask down but still covering my mouth and so I did that.  She said to just look straight ahead as if I was driving, so I kind of made a vroom vroom joke and pretended to grab the steering wheel I DON'T KNOW WHY I WAS SO  NERVOUS Y'ALL! And then she said, ok here we go, and I closed my eyes.

I wasn't looking (see "eyes closed" above) but she said here we go and then a thing got stuck way up my nose.  (I'd seen the swab and the length and just tried not to think about it)  It was an uncomfortable feeling but for me the worst part was that I wanted to sniff or snort it out like you do when a bug flies up your nose that SNORT thing.... well I wanted to do that, as a reflex but knew I had to just... not.  So she counted to ten, and I kept my eyes closed and closed and just focussed on "DO NOT SNORT" and then she said ok, we're done and I opened my eyes and my eyes watered and I really really wanted to rub my nose and it felt like it was still in there!  She said oh good, your eyes are watering that means I got the right spot and I kind of thought that was both funny and REALLY NOT and I pulled my mask back all the way up and she thanked me for that.

I sat there, desperately wanting to rub my nose and face to make the feeling go away and my eyes watering and she talked me through what to do if I felt worse (referring to an information sheet she had given me) and when I might expect my results (1-3 days) and that if I was positive, public health would contact me, and that I had to be really careful going home not to touch anything etc etc.  She asked if I live alone, which I think simplifies their instructions greatly and that I just be very careful on my way home.  I showed her my "touching things" handkerchief and said I would be.  She, like the other nurse asked me to stay home until my symptoms cleared up, even if I was negative.  She asked if I was ok and I said yes, other than really wanting to rub my face.  She asked me if I felt worse or better than when I'd talked to the nurse on the phone, I said about the same, but no worse, and she said in that case I was free to go.  She said I could take a minute if I needed it but I didn't.  I just wanted to get away so I could pull off my mask and rub my nose!!!

Which I did.  I didn't need to blow my nose but I tried and, sorry for the gross, but it felt like I couldn't blow my nose because she'd stolen the snot from that side!  Ha!  It still felt kind of like the thing was up there even though it wasn't and, again, sorry for the gross, but it felt similar to how a pap smear feels (ladies?) but in the nose.  So a sort of very slight burn/pinch/awkward ow that doesn't last all that long but is not something I'd like to repeat all that often.  I called C-Dawg and then Jason and then my Mom and then I started obsessively checking for results!

I was relieved to have had the test over since it was quite anxiety producing to be waiting for it to happen, and now that I've done it once, if I have to do it again ever, I know what to expect and know that it's not all that bad, at least for me.  Not lovely, but... uncomfortable.  Not awful. (Your mileage may vary!)

The nurse over the phone said that the soonest I might get results would be 6-12 hours, but since my test was at 3:15, I figured that my sample might not even get to the lab before whatever their closing time was so even though I knew I'd not likely get results that day I still checked.  Sigh.

I'd signed up for the phone alert (from the CDC) but still checked the portal (I'd had to sign up for that too, it's an Island Health specific thing... shrug) and at about 10:30 the next morning my results popped up (super quick, eh?) and NEGATIVE!


I got the text about an hour later which is still less than 24 hours from test to result, so that was great.  (And, no, I'd not expect that in a super massive outbreak... let's hope we don't go there... sigh.)

I was relieved, of course, but I'd also kind of told myself that if I had it it would be ok since I was feeling not too bad, and then I'd be able to tell people how easy it was to "catch" since I'm being pretty darn careful and not doing much at all. 

I was, of course, also very worried that I might have spread it in the days before I got sick, possibly to Jason or the grocery delivery driver or the optometrist, but I guess had I been positive, public health would have contacted them for me?

I was also worried about my supplies.  I do have enough food here, but it was things like orange juice that I'd run out of and would have to ask someone to bring me.  Or ask the grocery guy to come again and then just not let him in the building and wear a mask and, yeah, I wasn't looking forward to possibly having it, and I was anxious that if it was a positive... where had I picked it up and what if I got sicker and what if what if what if, so getting the "negative" result was, phew.  A relief.

My Dad, a few days later, asked me why I'd gone to get tested at all when I wasn't sick and I explained it was honestly only because the app symptom checker and then 8-1-1 had told me to.  Otherwise I'd have just waited out the cold. 

The cold is gone now, by the way.  Not sure it was much of a cold... runny nose, feeling exhausted, drained and run down, slightly sore throat, almost more of a pre-cold, but still.  Enough, it seems.  Sigh.

They asked me to stay home until my symptoms cleared, and I think the relief of not having Covid made my body hurry up the feeling better process because two days later I woke up and felt back to normal again.  (Er... "normal", I suppose?  D'oh.)

But... yeah.  There you go.  I got sick.  (Not very.)  My public health authorities suggested I get tested for Covid.  I chose to do so.  The test was not comfortable but not awful.  I tested negative.  My cold resolved (about 5? days).  I'm relieved, but also glad to have been able to be tested.  And I'm glad I'm ok again and not spreading anything to anyone.


Jason Langlois said...

Glad you're not sick. I think you were in my neck of the woods, since I'm not far from the Victoria testing site. Glad too the symptoms cleared up. I think we're getting through this.

Victoria said...

*waves in your general direction*

I'm glad I'm not sick too.

I hope we're getting through this... I mean, we are, I hope we just keep getting through it as things are.... if that makes sense.