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What it's like to get a COVID-19 test.

For the past week, I have had a dry cough, body aches and a nagging headache. Tired.

Bracing for a barrage of questions from overreacting medical staff, yesterday I called the clinic.

“You need to go to the emergency room NOW,” a nurse said. “No, my copay is $100 if I go to an emergency room,” I replied. “Would a walk-in clinic suffice? The copay is only $10. How late is your walk-in clinic open?” Eight o’clock. It was 4:30. Off I went.

Barred from entering the clinic, I was directed to move my car to a designated line of parking spots for testing. “Call the phone number on the sign," a nurse outside the clinic said. "If you don't have a phone, I will call the walk-in clinic for you. After you park, come and tell me your stall number."

The Line of Shame,” I thought, wondering if villagers will stone me. Two other drivers were waiting for a test. Our cars were separated by empty parking spots. Called the phone number.

“Please stay on the line. While you are waiting, please download Zoom on your phone,” the looping message repeated. “Why do they have to make it so difficult?” I fretted. “I don’t know how to download Zoom without hanging up the phone.”

Facing the west sun, I was heating up in the car. Settling in for the long haul, I put up the window reflector and relaxed with a book. Longed to bash the phone. Considered leaving.

Finally, a human being answered the phone! Talked with three people of increasing medical importance, all asking the same damn questions. By the time I got to the exalted medical doctor, I was laughing at the ridiculousness.

“You sound fantastic!” the doctor said. “You’re laughing.” He explained how to tell the difference between allergies, asthma and sinus infection. “What’s the number of your parking spot? Stay in your car. A nurse in a helmet will come out to test you. Many people are asymptomatic. It won’t take long.”

Thirty minutes later, here comes a nurse in full protective gear, including a face shield. He had the kindest eyes. He checked my temperature and oxygen level. Normal. Gave me a handout on COVID home care.

Finally, the COVID-19 test.

“I’m going to stick a swab way up your nose,” he said. “When it’s as far as you think it can possibly go, I will push it up a few inches higher. It takes three seconds. It will make your eyes water.” Ow! "It feels like a bee flew up my nose," I said ruefully.

After securing the swab in a test tube, he asked where I've been hiking. Yay!

"In all that gear, you must get hot in the parking lot," I said. "I like being outside," he replied.

“You should find out the results tomorrow. We’re telling everyone it takes three to five days.”

The process took two hours. Eyes watered all the way home.

And now, the wait.


Good news! My COVID-19 test result was negative. I feel relieved.

Based on experience, I think it was:

  1. Spring allergies: pollen, snow mold, grass tops, dust, life, etc.

  2. Asthma triggered by breathing pollen. Asthma makes me cough and feel tired.

  3. Low-level sinus infection again: headache, coughing and feeling tired.

  4. Body aches from longer, steep hikes with a heavier pack (carrying more food and water).

LiterateHiker 9 Apr 30

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Good news! My COVID-19 test result was NEGATIVE.

I feel relieved.

Yay!!! Glad to hear that. I hope you don’t have to have another one later.

Awesome! Whatever is making you feel bad, I hope it goes away soon.

I was going to leave a message, wishing that things would go well for you... as I was super fast, like a snail, all that is left is expressing how happy I am to know the good news...

That's WONDERFUL news! I'm so happy for you.

So did they suggest what they think is causing your symptoms?


No. Based on experience, my guess is:

  1. Spring allergies- pollen, snow mold, grass, etc.

  2. Asthma triggered by pollen, mold, etc. Makes me cough and feel tired.

  3. Low-level sinus infection makes me cough and feel tired.

  4. Body aches from longer, steep hikes with a heavier pack.

@LiterateHiker I was particularly curious about you feeling tired, but I'm glad it's a symptom you've experienced before. Take special care of yourself during all of this.


Thank you. I think it was:

  1. Spring allergies: pollen, snow mold, grass tops, etc.

  2. Asthma triggered by breathing pollen. Makes me cough and feel tired.

  3. Low-level sinus infection makes me cough and feel tired.

  4. Body aches from longer, steep hikes with a heavier pack.

Very, very good news.

Awesome so happy

Hey congrats! Glad to hear!


So not 'special' sick just normal sick. lol


I woke up with a sore throat Sunday, called my Dr. office, and the recording said if I have COVID19 symptoms, call the Dr.’s mobile. I hung up, called him, and he answered. Told me if my symptom still exists in the morning, call the office. I waited til Tuesday, still had the sore throat, called the office and left a msg @7 am. They called me at 8:30 and told me to drive to the office and call when I arrive. Did that. Waited 20 minutes and out trots the doc and an assistant in full protective gear. The doc stuck a very skinny swan up my nose. It was uncomfortable but not as bad as I’d heard. “We’ll send the sample to the lab tonight and give you the results in 48 to 72 hours. It’s been more than 48 hours now without word. My sore throat is gone, so hoping for negative results.

BTW: 1) I’m insured. Meaning I will have to make a copay and pay lab fees. 2) Kansas ranks last in the nation in testing—kits just haven’t been available. But my doc told me he works with private suppliers and labs and has ample test kits. The distribution of test kits seems entirely based on community wealth vs need. The novel virus has exposed the inequities of our country’s lack of a universal healthcare system and employment-based insurance program.

I hope you test negative and start feeling better soon!!!


Likely taking the same test tomorrow. Not looking forward to it...


Sad we do fingerstick on my team results in 15 minutes.

bobwjr Level 10 Apr 30, 2020

The governor here has a plan for stage ii of managing this mess, but we can't get the tests themselves. Lucky you.

And it's free


The nose swab was the worst for me.


Ugh. I hope your symptoms have been abating, and that you're comfortable. It sounds like a grand annoyance, but it's good to know one way or the other. {{{ hugs }}}


Glad you are currently Covid 19 free

I have a friend that is a nurse. Today she was instructed (with a positive case) how to take the sample. She was told, "If the patient doesn't hate you after you took the sample, you didn't push it in far enough".

  • “The Line of Shame,”  *

Id prefer to think of it as the line of heros. Every day people are in that line, people who want to protect their community amd friends and family by taking care of themselves. We all know that a few in the line have zero intention of doing that, and no consideration for anyone but themselves, but most do. And they are happy to spend a relative pittance to prevent the possibility of health care catastrophes for those around them.


It was my sense of humor. My mind keeps me amused.


I heard mixed things from it should hurt and it sucks, so maybe certain nurses know how to do it better o don't know lols. Medical personnel usually down play anything that hurts and. Say oh it isnt that bad


I of course don't have much to add except I'm sorry you've been feeling ill. And I'm sorry you're at risk especially in light of your previous post about your friend's possible exposure.
I am glad you're being tested though. Good luck.


I wonder what the procedure would be if one didn't have a cell?


"If you don't have a cell phone with you, I will call the walk-in clinic for you," a nurse outside the clinic told me.

"After you park, come and tell me your stall number."


That sucks, because I heard on the news that they have test that can let you know in as little as 15 min.


I hike pretty much every day. There's a trailhead across the street. Because I am antsy just like everyone else during these "stay-home-days” I stay outside as long as possible. Weather has been a factor, wind in particular. I also got a dry cough and fatigue. It turned out to be allergies. But until I figured that out, I was very concerned. Hang in there! Be safe and trek on!


Wow that is certainly annoying. I had one done where I live and it took 10 from the time I walked into the clinic but don't have my results as yet. I do believe I have a cold though not covid but my doctor sent me there and my work wanted me out of the way, just in case.


Good news you are not infected with covid19.


Happy you did ,better play it safe ,than a regret later


Fingers crossed. Wishing you the best!


I guess if you don't have a smartphone, you can't get a test.


You are the second person to ask this. Thanks. I added:

"If you don't have a phone, I will call the walk-in clinic for you," a nurse outside the clinic told me. "After you park, come and tell me your stall number."


So crazy! I heard they were developing a test that wasn’t so invasive. Guess it’s not out yet. Bummer.


Good luck.


That’s the first detailed description I’ve heard, thanks. I can’t help but wonder what the effect of this will be with regard to our nation finally moving ahead with a single-payer healthcare system…

Keep us posted, please ~

Varn Level 8 Apr 30, 2020


Thank you. I will post the test results.


Yikes, that's all pretty tedious. Luckily, here we don't have to pay anything for the test. But it sounds pretty painful. I have no idea what the world is like out there. I haven't left our property since March 11. Luckily we have almost 20 acres to roam around in, our business is on our property (open as essential service), and I work my other job from home. Because of my asthma, I stay on property and send the SO to do all the grocery shopping and errands. I'm clueless about what it's like out there (only know from reported news).

Good luck with the test.



I say anything else you'll block me.

1of5 Level 8 Apr 30, 2020

Really its that bad

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