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calendar   Wednesday - June 24, 2020

So Now I Nose

I Survived The COVID PCR Test

I had the nasal swab COVID test and it wasn’t that bad. A bit uncomfortable. Almost the whole process is done in pantomine, with the attendees holding up flip chart signs you read through your car window.

Make sure to print out your appointment confirmation email, bring your cell phone, and have your ID ready. And duh, have your mask on. No mask, and they tell you to leave.





~~~~



image

Take this and stick it all the way up your nose. Twice.



So I went down to Walmart in Flemington for my test this morning. They’ve got it set up like a little factory. Signs at the entrance to the parking lot direct you around back, over to the far corner of the lot demarcated with those portable metal fence barriers that look like big bicycle racks. Several patio gazebos are set up to provide shade for the workers.

Drive around the maze following the arrows and get to the check in point. A person in one of those “hazmat” bunny suits is there, mask, gloves, face shield, with a clipboard and two sets of flip charts. Read and respond. English? Thumbs up or down. Espanol? Si or no. “Keep your windows rolled up” reads the first one. Nod. “hold your confirmation email to the window”. Nod. She reads it, marks her papers. “Follow the arrows to the next station”. Ok. Get checked again 50 yards down the path. Yup, it’s still me. “Slightly unroll your window to receive the packet”. I do. It gets delivered at the end of one of those kitchen grabber extension gizmos that grandma uses for the high shelves. “Read and follow the instructions on the bag. Do not open the bag until instructed to do so.” Sure, fine.

Most of the time I was just sitting in line, waiting for the drivers ahead of me to be processed. So I have plenty of time to look at my little bag of stuff. It’s got a paper telling me that I’ll be notified by email when my results are in, and the URL for the online results. There’s a paper tissue, a capped little plastic sample test tube with some liquid in it, and a sealed FLOQswab for me to impale my sinuses with at the appropriate moment. The thing looks like a Q-tip mated with a Samurai sword. Oh joy.

image

The depth guard, what I instantly think of as a tsuba, the hilt on a katana, is rather a long distance back from the swab tip. Must be my imagination, as the whole thing isn’t even 6” long and the swab tip is as thin as the point on a felt tip pen. But that’s my nose it’s going in, so it looks huge and rather intimidating. Remember that scene from Total Recall where Ahnold has to pull the tracking beacon out of his nose? Yeah. “When you hear the crunch you’re there.” What have I got myself into now?

So I putt-putt to the next station, and Freddy Flip Chart holds up a sign with a phone number on it. With a picture of a cell phone, in case I’m not too bright. So I call. The number is in Arizona, but I realize I’m talking to the guy a foot outside my window, with his Bluetooth thing on his ear. I’m talking to him through my car, which has that built in phone connectivity thing. I almost never use it. I never call while driving, but sometimes I get a text, and it will read it to me. The wonders of modern technology.

So he tells me what to do, with diagrams for the easily confused. Open the swab package from this end. Remove the swab by the handle. Take off your mask, tip your head back, and insert the swab into your right nostril until the guard touches your nostrils. I do. Slowly. EEEERRrrG. Only slightly painful, but really weird feeling. I’m not in the habit of sticking things up my nose, and this thing is going way the heck in there. But once it’s in, I don’t even feel it. It stays in for 15 seconds, but I don’t have to rotate it around or anything. Now remove the swab. OMG, this is irritating and I have to sneeze. Now put the swab up your left nostril until the guard touches your nostril. Ok, that side was easier. I guess my sinuses are more open or larger on the left. Wait until he tells me to remove it, now pull it out. I know what to expect, so this time it doesn’t feel so freaky.

Now comes the dexterity part. While holding the swab by the handle with the tip not touching anything, remove the test tube from the kit bag. Holding it cap up with a couple fingers, unscrew and remove the cap. The cap comes off with just half a turn, so that’s easy. Insert the swab into the test tube as far as it goes. Uh huh, done. Now bend the handle around until it breaks. Not quite sure of that, but I bend the handle end once, twice, and it snaps off, leaving the business end in the tube. Screw the cap on. Yup. Put the tube in the bag and close the Ziploc seal. Got it.

Then he steps back, gets a metal cart on wheels with an Igloo chest on the top, opens it and rolls it up to my window, while he’s quite far away at the other end of the cart. Put my envelope in the ice chest. And that’s it. Thank you have a nice day.

Once the swab was out of my sinuses, my nose only felt weird for a few seconds. By the time I followed the arrows out of the parking lot, I wasn’t feeling anything at all.

The self-administered test is nothing to be afraid of. A few seconds of minor discomfort and it’s over. The whole process took 12 minutes, from showing up to driving away.  And it was free.

Damn, I should have bought stock in Quest Diagnostics when this pandemic started. I bet they’re making a killing right now.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/24/2020 at 08:01 AM   
Filed Under: • pandemic and epidemic diseases •  
Comments (3) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  
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