We pick up where we left off, on Thursday afternoon as I prepared for my COVID test. . . This one’s on the long side, as I didn’t want to drag this out into a part four. If you haven’t had a chance to read parts one and two, the links are below:
Illness During a Pandemic – Part One
Illness During a Pandemic – Part Two
My alarm was set for two o’clock, and I woke and made my way to the clinic where my test was supposed to be conducted. I had slept too long and was running late. I pulled up to the clinic and saw a sign that said, ‘not a COVID-19 testing site’ and was confused and consulted my paperwork again to verify that I was in the right place. Finding that I was, I walked into the clinic – after dowsing my hands with sanitizer and making sure my mask was in place, of course. A nurse immediately greeted me by name. She hurried me from the reception area into a room, maintaining a six-foot distance from me at all times. It wasn’t but a few seconds it seemed, and the doctor was in the room. She had a face shield and mask on, gloves, and a medical gown to protect her clothes. She asked me the same questions as the previous doctor had, about what symptoms I had. Since I vomited once, that got counted. Since my body was achy from lying in bed all day the previous day, that got counted. So, on and so forth. The things that seemed par for the course of a normal sick person were not. They were indicators that I had COVID-19.
Finally, she showed me the swab, which was easily as long as the space between my elbow and wrist.
Okay. Maybe not. But damn close, I assure you.
“I have to take the swab now. It doesn’t feel good.” She looked apologetic.
I sighed heavily and winced at the sight of it. “I know. I’ve seen on the news how far up you have to go.” She instructed me to pull down my mask and tilt my head back and handed me a tissue.
“Okay. I’m going to hold your hair clip back here, and this is going to go up, and there will be a lot of pressure and probably some burning.” And in it went.
When I tell you I’m positive she pulled some of my brains out with that fucking thing, that is not a joke and I’m not saying it to be funny. I cried out and suppressed the urge to fight her, closing my eyes against the tears that instantly formed. I tried to keep from coughing as she twirled the swab around and scraped the very bone that makes up the bridge of my nose, next to my eyeball. Not an exaggeration, that’s exactly where that swab was at. I am not kidding guys; I wouldn’t wish this COVID swab on my worst fucking enemy.
Finally satisfied with the rape of my nose, the doctor stepped away and put the swab in a container and sealed it. “Oh, gosh I made you cry.” she stated, and she definitely looked bothered at the fact. I choked back a sob and shook my head. “Only doing your job,” I finally managed. I’m sure the sinus infection didn’t help the discomfort at all, but I can’t imagine that test would be comfortable on a good day, let alone in the state of illness I was in.
She explained that it would be at least twenty-four hours before my test would come back, and as long as seven days if the sample got sent down to Texas – I don’t know what is in Texas and why it would be sent there, but the fact that it may need to be sent there didn’t sound like a good thing. She proceeded to usher me out the back of the clinic, and I felt a little bit of shame at the whole ordeal. I was being smuggled out. I understood the necessity of it, but it still didn’t feel good.
After this, the fog descended again. I clearly remember the anger I felt as I drove home, knowing that I couldn’t be an active participant in my own life. That I had to seclude myself away from everyone until the test results came back. I wondered how in the hell I was supposed to make my children dinner when that could potentially infect them – if they weren’t already. One of the doctors told me that days three and four were the worst if it was indeed COVID, and days three and four hadn’t even happened yet. I couldn’t imagine feeling worse than I already did at that point in time.
I think I went home and slept. Like I said, the fog descended. The only other thing I remember clearly from Thursday was I came up with a solution for dinner – there was leftover chicken noodle soup that I had ordered for dinner from Bob Evans. I text Matthew and asked him to warm some up for him and Chase. He came downstairs and cautiously opened my bedroom door. “You want me to warm soup up for me and Chase? Do you want me to make you some, too?” he asked. My intention had been for him and Chase to eat and have them leave the kitchen when they were done so I could make my own dinner and properly sanitize afterwards. Already I had a container of Clorox wipes sitting ready, so anytime I left my room I could wipe things down. I wasn’t taking chances.
“You don’t have to, kiddo. I will when you guys are finished.” I answered and smiled reassuringly at him.
“No. I’ll make yours, too. I got you, mom.” And he gave me a thumbs up and walked away.
Soon he was back but knew he couldn’t walk up and directly hand me my food. So, he improvised – finding a board on wheels that he had saved from his old entertainment center. It was actually the bottom board, and I had wondered why he saved it. Now, it was a blessing. He set my bowl and silverware on the tray in my doorway, and carefully slid it across the space to my bed. I laughed at his ingenuity and was warmed by the fact that he was helping me take care of his brother, and taking care of me, as well. I think I’m raising him to be a good man, if I do say so myself.
And his brother, too. I can recall that every time Chase walked past my closed bedroom door, he would call out to me – “Momma? How are you feeling? Do you need anything?” and he would leave me bottles of juice or water if I requested it.
And so went the next 24 hours. Me secluded to my room, my children carefully caring for me from a distance. Sleep. Lots of sleep. I double dosed NyQuil again and slept for eleven hours straight from Thursday into Friday. I woke to take medicine, but then laid there Friday morning, cursing the traffic outside my window. Cursing my noisy neighbor who has been gone most of the summer but must have come home long enough to mow his lawn as I was trying to sleep more. Cursing my brain which was thinking of all the things I could be doing other than laying in my bed. I gave up and got out of bed, showered, and did my laundry – I knew no one else could do it in the event that my test came back positive. So, I took Clorox wipes downstairs and started a load of laundry, wiped everything down that I touched, and went back to my room.
Somewhere in there I did a grocery order and started writing this post. And somewhere in there, I got my test results.
I was not COVID positive.
When I tell you that I was beyond overjoyed, that is a complete understatement. I could hug my kids. I could take care of them. I was still sick – I could feel it there, behind my happiness and antsiness. I was antsy because I had been sitting on my ass for three days, not because I was well enough to be up and doing things. I was antsy because I am not accustomed to not caring for myself and taking care of the things in my life that need attended to.
And so, I wrote my post, and finished my laundry. I picked up the groceries and made a simple dinner of frozen pizza for the boys. I hugged my kids. I watched a movie with Chase and fell asleep for another ten hour stretch.
And woke up Saturday feeling like shit. I slept the day away, only to lay awake late into the night and sleep fitfully.
And woke up today feeling halfway normal. . . .
I am blown away by the fact that a double ear infection and a sinus infection could knock me on my ass the way this one has. I am blown away by how the whole testing process works, and the absolute clusterfuck that COVID has turned our every day lives into. I’m not saying that I don’t think COVID should be taken seriously, nor the ramifications that could have resulted had I opted to not be diligent when I was unsure of my test results. I’m just saying that now I see the other side of it. Because what if I did actually have COVID? I can’t imagine living life the way I did for those 24hours before I knew for sure.
Facts are, this did knock me on my ass. I am still not completely well, and I still have some recovery in front of me. Facts are, I didn’t take notice that I was sick until I was on my ass. So now, I need to concentrate on getting well, and taking care of myself better in the future. Already I’m noticing changes this has brought about – less desire to smoke, I’m not fighting the urges like I was in the days prior to falling ill. I haven’t had a cup of coffee since Wednesday morning, and that was only the few drinks before I vomited. The very thought of coffee is just – no. This morning I made a cup of tea and cleaned the kitchen and started laundry. I attended to my household chores like I always do – but I took more time for my kids. I have always appreciated and loved my children, but that 24 hours where I couldn’t care for them or touch them really got to me. It really solidified for me the fact that we never know what tomorrow can bring. If I ever needed a sign that a change in lifestyle was needed, it was this.
Happy Sunday. Please, don’t take your life as it is for granted. Don’t push yourself to be it all and do it all, and sacrifice your own well being in the process.