I knew it was a matter of time. I knew that at one point or another, I was going to have to get tested. COVID-19 has way too many symptoms that could easily be mistaken for any other run-of-the mill illness, but I wasn’t planning on risking it.
Earlier this week, I woke up with a pang in my stomach, and to put it politely, a bad case of the runs, and brushed it off as having eaten something that upset my stomach.
But after it persisted for another two days, I decided to call 111.
After all, Prof. Charmaine mentioned multiple times that loose bowels were quite the common symptom.
The guy on the other end of the line was lovely. After going through my list of symptoms, which were just stomach pains and diarrhea, he penciled in my appointment for 2pm of the next day.
Cars were already queuing up at the test centre, so like the pure Maltija that I am, I rolled in the parking area, with a moderate level of music blasting from my car, mask on, ready to give these anxious souls the performance of a lifetime. As I desperately tried to sing my nerves away while I waited, a nice assistant came to take my details.
Honestly, I was quite impressed at the speed at which everything was functioning by. You just roll in, wait a few minutes until you get your details taken, and proceed to get tested, which takes 15 seconds tops.
You’ll spend more time waiting your turn than actually taking the test.
Now, I’m going to be frank here… I’ve spoken to some people who have taken the test before, and they did warn me about the discomfort … but no pep-talk will prepare you for the actual thing.
Don’t get me wrong, the test NEEDS to be taken. No matter how uncomfortable it is, if you’ve got the symptoms (and at this point, sometimes even if you don’t), you’ve got to do the responsible thing and show up for the test. I don’t like withholding information. In my opinion you should go in there prepared, so I’m not holding anything back.
I drove into the little driveway where the healthcare professionals were taking the swab tests. I was told to tilt my head back. No countdowns, nothing (I mean, I know y’all are busy, but give a girl a heads up you know? – Well, it’s not like you don’t see the stick about to get shoved up your nose… but anyway).
I wouldn’t describe it as pain, because it’s not painful. It’s just a feeling that there’s something making it’s way from your nose to your throat. You can’t breathe from your nose and you can’t swallow. But it’s not that bad. The worst part is when he starts twisting the stick around like there’s some golden treasure they’re trying to reach, and the only way to it is through your nose.
As soon as that stick came out of my nose, I gagged. I smelt and tasted antiseptic and it was not the most pleasing thing. I spent seconds gagging like there’s no tomorrow, but knowing I was responsible enough to get tested, even if it was probably just a 24 hour stomach bug made it a bit more worth it.
Needless to say, I immediately treated myself to ice-cream.I DESERVED IT AFTER THAT EXPERIENCE!
The test lasts around a couple of seconds. It feels like minutes…. but can I just say, once that stick is out of your nose, your nose is born afresh. I was smelling things I hadn’t caught scent of in ages.
I could actually smell my car enough to realise that it needed to get washed.
Yes, it’s uncomfortable, but isn’t it better to get tested and know whether or not you have this?
As cases with no symptoms arise, maybe it’s smart if we actually get tested whether or not we experience symptoms.. because at this stage, we just don’t know!