Monday, March 30, 2020

I got tested for COVID-19

Remember way back in second grade, when you found that big book on Miss Hoppenleiger's classroom shelf.  You know, the one that was loaded with interesting facts and cool stuff and sometimes it was pretty gross.  Yeah, that book.  And you read how ancient Egyptians would make mummies by shoving a metal implement up corpse's nose to remove the brain through the nostrils.  Yeah well that's what happened to me about an hour ago.  Only it wasn't a metal hook.  It was something like those plastic coffee stirrers that you pull out of the utensils bin at a McDonald's.  And it was six inches long.  But it did go straight up my left nostril and if it didn't impinge on my brain then it came *$%#ing close.

But anyway...

Following my earlier report this morning about being instructed to self-isolate because of COVID-19-ish symptoms,  one of my co-workers texted me about coronavirus testing being done nearby.  Strictly for people like first responders and health care workers.  I headed straight out down the highway to get the test performed.

What happened when I got there?

Well, it's good to bear in mind that at no point did I leave the car.  It was all done absolutely within a closed-off track, going from one station to the next.  First up was a police cruiser manned by two of the town's finest (wearing face masks).  One of them marked a number on my driver-side window, then directed me to drive forward and stop at the sign that was flashing a phone number and some other info.  I called the number and it went to a statewide screening setup.  The nice lady asked me a series of questions about my symptoms and I answered as best I could (some of them seem a bit fuzzy at the moment).  She then asked for my name, birth date, address, phone number, all that kind of jazz.  After that she instructed me to "drive on further down the course to the next officer."

Now I was approaching the innards of a convention center.  Another cop, also wearing a mask.  He made me pause then waved me on through to inside the building.  Not far from the entrance there was what looked like a HAZMAT field lab, patrolled by four guys in full-body suits that looked like something out of a Resident Evil game.  They told me to stop the car and roll down the window.  I was hesitant at that but as the guy told me "don't worry I've got all this gear on."

He asked me if I knew what the test was going to be, and produced a long swab that was at least eight inches long.  I was expecting something like taking a sample from inside my cheek, or at most from the throat.  But that was not it at all.  "We're going to stick this up your nose and swab there."  Ehhhhhh...

I really, really don't want to have been hit with coronavirus.  But I don't care to have a glorified chopstick shoved into my nostrils either.  I had come this far for peace of mind and there really wasn't much of a choice.  Not if I wanted to be sure.  So I told him "let's do it" - like Gary Gilmore must have spoken before they shot him up in that prison cannery - and leaned forward in the driver's seat then tilted my head back.

"Gag-inducing" doesn't being to describe it.  Not when the reflex is for your nose to be the thing gagging and your brain feels like it's getting probed by some alien implement.  I couldn't tell you how far it went up into my nose, but it was quite a bit.  And he held it there for about three or four seconds before slowly retracting the swab.

And that was it.  Except that my left nostril has never felt so funky.  I was never the kid who shoved crayons up his nose but now, I feel like life ended up enlightening me about the sensation.

The lab results will be coming in tomorrow, or possibly the day after that.  Dear Lord, please be negative.  I'm going stark raving bonkers without the comfort of my office and all that "Weird Al" Yankovic music they let me get away with playing as I type up clinical notes.

Expect another report soon.