What it’s Like to be Tested for Covid-19

I was tested for Covid-19 and this was my experience.

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On Friday, April 24, I began to fall ill with a slight fever, sore throat and headache. Then, Saturday morning, my fever and other symptoms became worse.  So, I got tested for Covid-19 out of an abundance of caution to protect the high risk individuals in my household. While I was hesitant to get tested at first, I soon complied with my mom’s pleading to take my part in keeping our family healthy (and she wouldn’t let me leave my room until I tested negative). On Saturday, after a consultation with my pediatrician, my mom and I drove to Coastal Pediatric Associates in West Ashley where I would be tested for Covid-19.

Upon arriving, we were guided into a parking lot with four white tents set up for cars to drive under as physicians examined patients for any illness that required an in-person assessment. I rolled my window down and was greeted by a nurse wearing scrubs, goggles, and a mask to prevent her from coming into contact with me. After she took my vitals, a doctor came out from the building and began to further question me about my symptoms. Finally, she concluded that while I probably did not have Covid-19, the possible symptoms are so various they decided to continue with the test. 

After we drove our Honda Odyssey to a parking spot as directed, I left the car and walked to the last tent in the row. Three nurses, two of which were covered from head to toe in PPE (personal protective equipment), told me to take a seat and prepare myself for a rather unpleasant experience. I was informed that if I moved at all during the ten seconds the swab was up my nose, they would have to restart the test. Then, they requested I sit on my hands to help ease the process. The most frightening of their instructions being “it’s totally ok if you throw up as long as it is away from us.” Before I knew it, one nurse was holding my head back for me as the other inserted the swab. 

I would like to say I no longer remember how it felt as the swab collected organic matter from my nasal cavity, however, the sensation has since been engraved in my mind. Upon initial entry, it felt no different than any swab one may receive at the doctor’s office, but to my horror the swab did not stop until it came upon a part of my nose no foreign object had touched before. The next ten seconds would be the longest in my life. As the nurse began to rub the swab  around, my right eye began to water uncontrollably and I felt as if I needed to sneeze but could not. To best describe where the swab went, it felt almost as if it was sitting right where a sneeze starts: the part of your nose that feels that initial tingle. However, this was no tingle. Imagine the discomfort that comes with something being stuck in your belly button, except worse.

Finally, the nurse retracted the swab and handed me a tissue into which I sprayed the entire contents of my right nostril. The swab was put in a vile and they told us that we would have results in a few days. I put my mask back on and slowly sat back down in the car with my mom. The drive home was filled with silence as I struggled to comprehend the experience my nose underwent and the sensations I was still experiencing. That being said, If you or a loved one needs to be tested, contact your physician and do your part to stop the spread of Covid-19. 

Thankfully, my results were Negative!