Redefining Comfort Zones

So my nasal cavity was violated yesterday. My first instinct was to write “and not in a fun way” but is there a fun way to have anything inserted into your nose? (Nose pickers, I’m ignoring you intentionally right now… just saying).

Why was my nose assaulted thusly you may ask? Well for those of you lucky enough to not know, that is the test for COVID-19. They take a super long Q-tip, stick it into your nose at a 90° angle until it hits the back of your throat and then send it away for testing. Today is April 3, 2020 and I have been sick since February 18th. That’s 45 days of being sick for those who like to count.

I haven’t been all out sick the whole time, but just sick enough to be annoying. I have had a cough the whole time, my face has been congested and I have had trouble breathing. I haven’t had a fever (or so I thought…) which is the magical ingredient I have been missing to make my myriad of symptoms add up to the magic number of COVID-19.

That is until yesterday when I went in to see my doctor. I didn’t know I was going to see him when the day started; I called the day before to see about getting an appointment because c’mon… 45 days of being sick is starting to get to me. I have been isolating, staying home as much as possible. I order my groceries online as much as possible and any time I do go out I keep my distance from people and use self checkouts as much as possible with my gloves on. It’s still winter here so it’s not weird.

So I called about seeing my doctor and they suggested a telephone appointment; understandable in these times- for the following morning. After talking to him for a few minutes, he asked if I could come in that afternoon to take the COVID-19 screening test. After explaining how busy my schedule was what with self isolation and all, we agreed on a time.

A few minutes later I got a call from a nurse at the clinic to confirm my appointment and asking if I had a cell phone…

“… yes, you just called me on it”

“Ok great. When you get to the clinic, rather than come in, please call in to let us know you are here so we can prepare for you.” In my head I was thinking; is an appointment itself not an opportunity to prepare..? But these are stressful times- especially for those in health care, and as I was soon to learn especially those in this clinic.

So I called from the parking lot expecting to be greeted by hazmat suits and be administered the test from the comfort of my drivers seat but I couldn’t have been more surprised by what was about to transpire. After being put on a brief hold, I was told it was ok to come in. I was greeted at the door by a woman in a protective suit that covered her from head to toe except for a face hole. She wore a face mask (N95 respirator) and safety goggles as well as a face shield.

She greeted me by name, asked me to sanitize my hands and ushered me into a small room just off the side of the main reception. As she led me there I took a look at the rest of the clinic to see how busy it was in there or to see if I recognized anyone else there. It was completely empty.

I had never seen the clinic empty before… it was a very eerie sight. It gave me the same kind of reverence as the empty skies did after 9/11.

I sat in the room for a few minutes before I heard voices in the hallway discussing the test;

“Did you watch the video?”

“Yes, I think I got it.”

“Did you want me to do it?”

“No, I may as well do it.”

Holy balls. I was the first one here to have this test done. My town has a population of about 20,000 and it never once occurred to me that nobody else would have been tested. But knowing that now, my community is clearly not at risk.

After my doctor crammed the swab thru my nose to the back of my throat- gently of course, he did the same going through my mouth to the back of my throat (with a new swab) because I had woken up with a shiny new sore throat two days earlier that I am still enjoying. We discussed my symptoms as he checked me out wearing the same kind of isolation suit as the woman who greeted me.

As he checked my temperature I told him the one thing I didn’t have was a fever- as he told me my temperature was slightly high and I had a low grade fever. Thanks. So he did what all doctors do, told me not to worry and to go home and get some rest while we wait for the results.

Am I worried? Not really. If I have the ‘Vid (my wife REALLY wants that to become a thing, lol) then I do. If it was going to kill me it would have already, it wouldn’t wait 45 days. Like everyone else, I am getting tired of not seeing people. I am an extrovert- I like talking to people.

I have made the joke a few times that I can’t wait to go grocery shopping again that I’ll wait in the regular checkout line just to talk to people.

People do need to chill out though. There was an online chat in my community recently where people are concerned about store shelves being low and they couldn’t grasp the concept that online orders now eclipse in-store customers so stocking shelves is no longer a priority.

I’m not attacking you Karen or saying you can’t go to the store to get toilet paper, but why does the shelf need to have 7000 packages of toilet paper for idiots to decide they “have to have it”? Why should the store staff have to move product from the back to the shelf and then off the shelf again for an online order? Because it makes you feel better when you walk in?

It’s called a state of emergency Karen, we all need to take a step back and realize that things are going on that will put us outside our comfort zones and we will just have to deal with it. I didn’t ask for a Q-tip to get shoved into my throat through my nose, but I’m dealing with it. Chill out, stay home as much as possible and lets get through this.

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