I was tested for COVID-19 yesterday. I feel like garbage and I’m not gonna lie, this is pretty scary. I will hear my results today. In the meantime, I thought it could be helpful to others if I shared WHY I got tested and what the experience was like.
Why Did I Get Tested?
I woke up on Monday morning with a runny nose and a lot of phlegm in the back of my throat. After a workout, shower, and breakfast, I felt great. So, I went about my normal day. But, there was only one problem: I kept getting sicker all day. When Nathan (the 3-year-old) went down for his nap, I found myself also napping on the couch for about an hour (this was not in the plan).
By Monday night, I was miserable. I wasn’t able to sleep for most of the night because of difficulty breathing and aches and pains throughout my body. I stayed in bed as long as I could on Tuesday morning and when I woke up I could barely function. I was coughing and struggling for breath. I was lightheaded, dizzy, and confused. I was accidentally closing windows on the computer when I was trying to open them, typing the wrong words, that kind of thing. I spent most of the morning sleeping, then checked my temperature before and after lunch and had a fever both times.
So, of course, I did what any sick person at this time ought to do: I Googled, “should I get tested for COVID?”. This led me to the CDC’s website, where I did the CDC Coronavirus Self-Checker. This is a series of questions that helps determine whether or not you need to go get tested. It told me I needed to call 911.
In the meantime, I was also on hold with my doctor’s office. I got the triage nurse, who told me to drive to Skagit Valley’s “ARC” (Acute Respiratory Center), where they’re doing all the COVID-19 screenings & tests for our area.
I know that Googling suspected health problems looks somewhat hypochondriacal, and there are a lot of people who would have just toughed it out for a few more days before calling the doctor. I used to be one of those people. I used to be in the habit of ignoring health problems for days, weeks, even years. But, guess what? That was a bad idea.
I have now changed from someone who avoids the doctor at all costs (and doesn’t trust anything they say) to someone who is interested in health investigation and eager to hear what a highly-educated professional has to say. In recent years, these health investigations have helped me address long-held concerns and improve my well being in a number of ways. I now recommend thorough investigation of health concerns and interaction with a wide variety of health professionals, as appropriate. So, of course, I’d have to follow my own advice.
What Was It Like?
Getting tested for COVID-19 was miserable and I wanted to turn back at every moment. Even though it was all wrapped-up in precisely 1 hour from the time I left my house, it felt like an all-day ordeal.
I had to drive to Mount Vernon. Only 20 minutes or so, but with that fever and headache and body aches, I felt like I could go barreling off the side of the road at any turn. Once I arrived at the ARC, I had to figure out where to go. Seems easy–find the front door–but I was highly disoriented and could not for the life of me figure out how to get into the place. There was a tent in the parking lot and an older man there waiting for the nurse to come test him, but he wasn’t in any better shape than me and couldn’t tell me where to go.
Eventually the nurse walked me around to the front entrance of the building. This is where it got scary: everyone in full-on hazmat suits like that scene in E.T. The building was bare and grimy and reminded me more than anything of these old, abandoned offices at Magnuson Naval Base that we used as sets for a low-budget Werewolf movie I worked on in 2005.
At this point, I’m struggling to keep my eyes open and walk in a straight line. Even though they’re moving pretty quickly for doctor’s office standards, I feel like I’m waiting forever to be moved from room to room.
I am led to a room, where I nurse takes my vitals and asks me lots of questions. Later, an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner comes in and asks me all the same questions again, in more detail, before determining that I am eligible for the test.
Now, another nurse in a hazmat suit comes and leads me outside, all the way back to the tent in the parking lot that I started at. There, the nurse who led me into the building at the beginning of this sits me down, verifies my name and birthday (I forgot to mention that every one of these people asked me for my name and birthday at least once, and I was actually struggling to come up with the answer), and unscrews a vial with the testing swab in it.
She tells me to tilt my head back and shoves this long swab up into my nose–ouch!–way further than I’d expected her to, and I jerk my head back to escape the pain. It felt like she was poking my brain (might have been…). While I’m apologizing for jerking away like that and saying I’m ready for her to put it back in there, I guess she is telling me that we’re done. It takes me a second to figure out that we’re done, but she tells me to wait to hear about results in about 24 hours, and to quarantine myself and my family in the meantime.
Then, I’m back in the car and on my way home.
Now I just wait. If my test results come back negative, I still need to quarantine until 3 days after the fevers subside. If my test results come back positive, well there’ll be a longer quarantine then.
I actually slept well last night, and I don’t feel quite as bad as I did yesterday, but we’ll see. Nothing to do now but wait for those results to come this afternoon.
2 thoughts on “Waiting for Results”