Life in a COVID- Hot Spot: Week 15 – Testing
Our hot spot is cooling just a little: elective surgeries that were canceled or discouraged are now going forward. I have an extremely minor surgery rescheduled for this week, but before going forward with it, I must be tested to make sure I am not, within a few days of the surgery, infected with the novel coronavirus. So I make an appointment to be tested.
The closest testing spot which will guarantee results before the scheduled surgery is about 15 miles up the road. It is a drive-thru procedure. I let the scheduling nurse know what kind of car I will be in, and whether I will be the driver or the passenger. Husband decides to be the driver.
We show up on time and are waved through the hospital’s parking garage to the test site – a tent staffed by young aides in hospital scrubs, face masks, and polymer shields. I signal to the aide with my photo ID and medical group member card. She comes to the passenger window and asks me to show her the cards so that my name shows – she is not supposed to touch the cards with her surgical gloves. She asks me to confirm my birth date. I pass inspection.
I lower my window, and my face mask. Her eyes are smiling, though her mask hides it. “This will be uncomfortable, but quick,” she says. “Open your mouth and say ‘Aah.'” She inserts a cotton swab on a long stick into the back of my mouth. Not so bad. Then she inserts the same or a similar swab into my left nostril. Waaay in. Tickle prickle want to sneeze. Then into my right nostril. Tickle prickle want to sneeze. “That’s it. You’re done.” Results in 2-4 days – in time to qualify or disqualify my minor surgery. If I test positive, a lot more than my minor surgery will be up-ended. Cross fingers.