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:
Spring allergies: pollen, snow mold, grass tops, dust, life, etc.
Asthma triggered by breathing pollen. Asthma makes me cough and feel tired.
Low-level sinus infection again: headache, coughing and feeling tired.
Body aches from longer, steep hikes with a heavier pack (carrying more food and water).
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Good news! My COVID-19 test result was NEGATIVE.
I feel relieved.
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!!!
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".
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.
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.
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.