I know what this is.
I get this every summer. It starts with a stuffy nose, probably from allergies, and then it becomes an infection, moves into my chest and I get a cough.
It’s not the coronavirus.
But before I could get an appointment with a doctor so I can get an antibiotic, I had to get the test. Yes, that one.
Just like most medical tests, this one was administered in a parking lot near a tent. I didn’t have to drop my pants for it — that was an entirely optional choice I made on my own. The person giving the test was a nice lady dressed like she was preparing to take ET to the lab for dissection.
She handed me a pair of tissues, one to blow my nose, and the other to cry into following the test.
I’m pretty good at taking tests, but I hadn’t studied or prepared for this one. I didn’t even have time to jot down some crib notes on the bottom of my sneakers.
Then the nice lady pulled out a medical grade pipe cleaner and proceeded to shove it up my nose.
Once it was up there, I thought, “Well, this isn’t so bad.”
Then she shoved in about four more feet. I’m pretty sure now they need to tickle the back of your brain in order to test for COVID-19. I think she knew she had hit the right spot when my eyeballs popped out of their sockets.
That’s when she started counting down from 10. Now she said it was only 10 seconds, but I’m pretty sure I could have read the entirety of “The Lord of the Rings” in the time it took.
Finally, in a motion not completely unlike starting a lawnmower, she pulled it out, dripping with my germs and brain juices.
Then she handed me a pamphlet and told me to stay home until I got the results.
“If you’re positive, we’ll call you, if not, just download this app and it’ll tell you.”
So I spent the next four days laying low. If the test came back negative, that was a big positive. If it came back positive, I was pretty sure I was going to join ET on the dissection table.
Either way, it’s still better than going to work.
One good thing that came from the test, the side of my nose she had violated was now clear — no longer stuffy. Perhaps I could talk them into running the test up the other side of my nose — just to be sure.
But instead I waited. I thought, this is a great opportunity to catch up on my reading, and by reading I mean Netflix.
However, as I scrolled through four different streaming services, I found nothing I wanted to watch. Nothing held my interest as I waited for the test results. What if I had the virus and had to stay home for 14 days? What if I got my family sick? What if I get really sick? What if I don’t live long enough to see season two of “The Mandalorian?”
Finally the results showed up bright and early on a Monday morning — no COVID-19 detected.
I went to call my healthcare provider and get some medicine, but I stopped.
Maybe it was the regimen of Nyquil, Dr. Pepper and allergy pills I bought at the dollar store, or perhaps it was the extra rest, but the sinus thing mostly cleared up on its own. Everything seems back to normal … except for the bouts of momentary blindness.
Anyway, it was such a relief.
“Certified COVID-free!” I bragged.
Then someone said to me, “Now all you have to worry about is catching it for real.”
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