On July 15, I was tested for COVID-19. A number of factors led me to recognize I needed to do it. I’m writing about it to answer questions people have about it—especially what the swabbing process feels like.
Julie and I have been diligent about following all of the advice for remaining safe. Our county in Indiana has been hit pretty hard. As of today (July 15), we are one death shy of 700.
In May, Julie’s mother had a stroke. We immediately knew we wanted to go to be with the family, but were concerned to travel to Northwest Iowa because they’ve had ZERO deaths in their county. We took care as we traveled.
I’m back in Indianapolis. Julie returned to Iowa. Sadly, her mom suffered another stroke and lost her life on July 3.
I want to return for Mom’s burial—immediate family for now, with a regular service whenever it’s safe to do so—but have new concerns.
Over the 4th of July, I went home to Michigan. It had been seven years since we’d been able to get all four of my kids and their families together. When states reopened, we decided to proceed with the gathering we’d been planning for months. We had a few days together—sadly, without Julie and one grandchild—and it was wonderful.
All those gathered have been taking the virus seriously, and none have been ill or known anyone close to them who have been ill. Still, with other relatives and friends in attendance, there were a lot of folks, and this virus is so confounding because a person can pass it on without ever experiencing symptoms.
Looking into getting tested
When I returned to Indy, I contemplated getting a test, which any Indiana resident can get. I called the information line. The woman told me for best results it is best to wait eight days since contact before getting tested.
The next day, I got a sore throat, with the typical accompanying sinus drainage and occasional cough. Any other year, I would have assumed it was a slight cold or allergy, or caused by the extreme heat/humidity/being in air conditioning. But, these can be symptoms of COVID-19.
I waited for it to worsen. For other symptoms to occur. For the one that seems most common with COVID-19: overwhelming fatigue.
Nothing else happened. The sore throat has persisted—nagging but minor. I’ve felt healthy enough to maintain my nearly-every-day jogging.
The curious thing is the timing. The sore throat began soon after I got home. I can’t recall my last upper-respiratory trouble—it could be two or more years since I’ve had a cold or sore throat.
I knew that I had to get tested.
Scheduling the test
On July 13, I went online to schedule a test.
Providing all of the info about myself that one would expect, I was directed to select my location. I would not be able to get in for three to five days at the nearest locations. There was a church, not too far away, with only a two day wait.
In under ten minutes after logging onto the website, I had my test scheduled.
Arriving for the test
I assumed it would be a drive-through test. As I drove to the church, I wondered if I would see a line of cars.
Nope and nope.
Indeed, so few were the cars that if there had not been large signs directing me where to go, I would have thought I was at the wrong place.
Reaching the top of the church steps, I was greeted by doors and windows plastered with information. I read it all. I was thankful for it all. It all told me exactly what to do and to expect.
When the one other person who was there for the test moved from the check-in to the testing area, I entered the building. I had my text open with my ID number, which I’d been given when I signed up. The woman asked for that and my birth date.
She now called me Gregory, so I knew she had the right person. She handed me the information sheet I’m holding in the photo above, along with the testing kit, and directed me the fifteen feet to the testing area.
The woman could not have been more friendly or helpful. While the test is very simple, she explained each step. It went pretty close to this:
“I’m going to place this swab deep into your nose. I will turn it about a bit on the insides of your nose and then remove it. It will take less than thirty seconds. You might react with a cough or sneeze. You will need to keep your head still. Are you ready?”
I told her I was ready, and that I expected to cough.
She inserted the swab what felt like a few inches deep. She twirled it around, rubbing the inner walls of my right nostril, and slid it out. It took no more than ten seconds.
I didn’t cough. Or sneeze.
What it felt like
Those who’ve been tested have used a variety of words to describe the swabbing. Some have found it uncomfortable. Some have described it as unpleasant. Others, weird. A small number, painful.
For me, it was neither uncomfortable nor painful. It’s an odd sensation, simply because I’ve never had a swab rubbed around deep inside my nose, but it was in no way unpleasant. And it was completed so quickly that there wasn’t time to start wishing she would remove it.
Waiting for the results
Soon after arriving home, I received a text. Because of the large number of tests being done, I probably won’t get my results in the desired two to three days. The text told me to expect four to six days.
And so I wait. Keeping myself isolated. Longing to go to Iowa.
I’ll let you know when I get my result.