My COVID swab pilgrimage Pt. 2

So, after learning that the cause of my sore throat could be viral, I needed to book in a time for a test. With my placement starting in just a few days, I needed to get it done as soon as possible. Most places weren’t open for same day bookings so I ended up heading into the RAH on a Friday night at around 7pm.

The webpage quite helpfully said “south-eastern corner of the hospital”. That was a little bit upsetting for me. I had a lot of things on my plate, a lot of things I had to sort out. Now on top of those things I had to play Where’s Wally with hospital rooms in the “south-eastern corner”! When I got to the entrance of the hospital and read that people seeking a COVID test were advised not to enter the hospital I almost had a mental breakdown.

I walked along the road on the side of the hospital. There was no side-walk but I wasn’t supposed to enter the hospital, so I just made do. From the road, I saw a group of masked people sitting in chairs spaced 1.5 metres apart. “Bingo!” I congratulated myself. It turns out south eastern corner was a reasonable description because the testing site was accessible without entering the main hospital building. That made me feel a little bit dumb.

The nurse I approached seemed a little bit nervous. She turned her head the other way while she gave me a mask. It must feel weird being staff for a testing clinic, inviting the people who are most likely to be infectious to come to your workplace. She went on to ask basic information like my address. I learnt that you could probably make a comedy sketch out of how hard it is to hear someone in a mask.

I sat outside on a plastic chair for a little while thinking about how ironic it would be if I got COVID while going to get the COVID test. Slowly the numbers were called, and I learned that I was to be the last test for the day. When I entered the room I was told that I would have something shoved up my mouth that would make me choke and gag, and have something shoved up my nose that would make me sneeze, and that both would be very uncomfortable. I appreciated the honesty.

Before being swabbed I had been told by a friend that it was like “having someone pick at your frontal lobe”. That probably helped because I didn’t find it that bad. It’s uncomfortable, sure, but it’s not super painful. I’d say its comfort is comparable to the pinch of an injection or the thing that blows air into your eyes for eye tests (the one with the hot air balloon, it’s a glasses thing).

So that all brings us to the present. I received a text today saying that I am, indeed, COVID free. All just in time for my placement starting up tomorrow. My throat is better, and now I’ve got a mask as a memento for this global pandemic, which is something. So with that, should you have any symptoms or concerns, I encourage you all to do the right thing and seek out testing. Because we're all in this together right?

Tagged in What messes with your head, coronavirus