The full 2020 experience

Yesterday, I waited in line for two hours to get a Covid test I probably didn’t need, seeing as we already know the S.O. has Covid. It was my first time getting a Covid test and, at risk of putting you off of getting one, I thought I would describe the experience.

Waiting in line was not really a hassle. I had nowhere else to be, and I am honestly so tired lately that I can easily pass time without being bored. The clinic that I got my test at is run in such a way that the doctor orders it and you show up whenever you have time to be there between 9 am and 6 pm. The S.O. and I arrived about 1 pm, which was probably a terrible time to go, but it was a weekday and rainy so I was hopeful there’d be less people around. There weren’t, as the two hour wait time can attest.

The test itself was very quick. I actually had two tests — flu test, despite having no symptoms of flu, and then the Covid swab. Both involved an invasion of the nasal passages — the flu test, for those who haven’t had it before, involves being swabbed in the nose by a cotton swab that is fairly large and thick. The cotton swab used for the Covid test is long and flexible, thinner than the ones you use at home, and snakes up your nose into your deeper sinuses if done correctly. The nurse described it as getting saltwater up your nose, which I guess is true in that it burns the same way, but it doesn’t just burn. You can feel that little thing bopping around in your sinuses. There’s an intense need to back up, to pull back, to get away from this very invasive feeling. Also your eyes water. A lot. With the back to back administration of both flu and Covid swabs, I was nearly crying by the end of it.

After that we drove down to the river to see the flood waters (we’re flooding really bad this week due to some intense rain over the past two days or so) which was an acceptable detour since there was no one around except one very happy dog playing fetch in the park about a football field or so downriver, splashing through puddles like it was the best day of his life. Then we came home and I sat down to write this reflection.

2020 has been a really weird year and I knew we had a very high chance of getting Covid eventually. The S.O. has been dealing directly with Covid patients since the outbreak started, but of course, the past few weeks have seen our regional numbers skyrocket (along with many other parts of the United States). The nurses at his hospital have to make do with N95s and eyewear for their PPE when in a room, and regular Level 1 masks when they are on the floor. There are plenty of opportunities for transmission in that kind of setting, especially when you are rapidly moving in and out of rooms, changing gear by yourself, and generally trying to get more done than one person is reasonably able to do. For the past couple of weeks, every time the S.O. has come home from a shift he has been absolutely exhausted, having enough energy to eat something and fall into bed usually. It’s not a surprise he tested positive this week, and yet somehow the whole week has taken me off guard. I feel adrift and grounded, simultaneously.

One the one hand, at least it’s here at last. There’s no more questioning every runny nose or half-heard cough. On the other hand, I wonder what comes next. Of course you wonder that, knowing all the things that have happened to other people, knowing it’s just chance, a battle totally outside of your control that is happening inside you just the same.

For now, I’m just going to do my best to take care of this body and give it the support it needs, and to take care of the S.O. too, to spend time together and enjoy our quarantine as much as we can between our coughs and sleepiness and odd night sweats, which is not so bad really. And I encourage you all to do what you can to support getting this pandemic under control, whether that is by your behavior (distancing, masking, minimizing trips, not eating in restaurants) or your actions (supporting candidates who are actually addressing these issues, protesting, and engaging with your politicians to encourage their continued funding of masking and testing programs) or some other option I haven’t listed here.

Until next week.


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