It’s Not the Size

Yesterday, I had the rare privilege of experiencing a COVDI-19 test. It reminds me of the last time I got a flu test, only a little more intrusive. A very brusque but nice nurse told me she’d be with me in a minute after she “suited up”. A few minutes later, she opened the door to invite me in.

Her armor consisted of what appeared to be a blue disposable gown, blue gloves, a mask, a head shield, sunglasses, and safety glasses, and I believe I remember seeing blue shoe covers as well. She told me to have a seat. I looked around the room and found that the only chair facing the far corner of the room. It looked like an adult timeout chair. I think I said, “Seriously?”, but I may have only thought it. I know I did ask why it was facing the corner. She explained that since I’d have to take off my mask for her to collect this particular sample, if I sneezed or coughed, it would be toward the wall corner. I guess that’s like a larger version of coughing into the corner of your elbow.

I sat down in the chair pointed away from her as she explained what she was going to do. Asking for a few more details, she showed me a needle thin cotton swab stick and demonstrated how the first six inches would be shoved, excuse me, placed up each nostril. Yep, you heard that right, six inches – the swab stick has a little marker on it. Each nostril gets its own test swab. My eyes widened in shock and semi-panic. I was then given tissues to clear my nose in preparation. Then, I was directed to lean my head way back and told not to scrunch. I said, “What do you mean by ‘scrunch’?” They don’t want you scrunching up your nose as that impedes the trajectory of the swab stick.

As I reluctantly leaned back and the stick went up, she stopped and said, “Stop scrunching, and try to relax your face” I said, “I’m scrunching?” She said, ”Yes, you’re scrunching between your eyes”. “Oh”, I replied and tried my best to relax. As if! I have a deviated septum on that side so this already wasn’t fun for either of us. She told me when she was done with that side (I had my eyes closed) and was ready to start on the other nostril. I asked her to wait a moment, as I gathered my fresh tissue to blot my teared-up eyes. She gave a brief snort, and said, “Oh, I thought you were kidding.” “Not hardly,” I replied. For the other side, I was a little better prepared until she was able to get the whole six inches up, then I was worried about exactly where that swab was. In a brief flash afterwards, I thought she may have reached my brain, reminding me of how I’d heard mummification works and how the brains are scrambled and pulled out through the nose. But at the actual time the swab was pushed through, I’m afraid all I could think or say was a panicked prayer of Oh God, oh God, oh God…

Afterward, I could relax and ask a few questions about my test results. Apparently, the results may look like two or three results under the listing of SAR. Basically, from a layman’s perspective, I’d see whether the test was negative or positive. But as an interesting bonus, if I had contracted this disease any time in the past and built up a few antibodies, this would show in the results as well.

In the meantime, I am to quarantine until my SVT ablation procedure. I admit to being nervous, although hearing from some of my friends about all the other tough things they’ve gone through lately is humbling. I am blessed to have such strong and supportive family and friends and appreciate them so much. So, for now I will pray for peaceful thoughts, strength and courage.

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