Thursday, March 19, 2020

Quarantine, Day 5

Hi, friends.  Do not freak out, but I got a COVID-19 test yesterday because I spiked a fever to go with my horrible cough and body aches.

I haven't gotten the results yet, but the flu test came back negative for both A and B, and my RSV test also came back negative.

People keep saying oh it's so great that you could get a test, but I have to tell you, getting tested makes me feel WORSE for 2 reasons:
1. Even if I test positive, they are literally going to tell me to stay in my room, drink lots of water, and take Tylenol. And they will not be testing my family or adding anyone but me to our official numbers, even though we would have to assume if I have it then Cooper does, too, and Dorothy and Jack have coughs, and Cooper coughed in Ben's MOUTH last night.
2. There are almost no tests to be found, and I sent a really innocuous message to my doctor through my electronic chart just saying, hey, I'm 17 weeks pregnant, have muscle aches in my legs, a 100.5 fever and oh yeah I have had a cough for 3 days, and I was getting swabbed LESS THAN 90 MINUTES LATER. I would like to feel like less of an urgent case, thanks, and please urgent care PA (who was AWESOME), please never use comorbidity in a conversation with me again. That's a scary word.

Can I just tell you how great, surreal, and painful the experience was?  Ok, so, our HMO is only seeing URI patients at one clinic, which is also an urgent care and used to see regular patients, too (the kids' pedi is there), but absolutely DOES NOT right now. You walk in and get a mask instantly, and then there is a partition down the middle of the waiting room: bleeders on one side (I made that up, but really, I cannot imagine why else you'd be going to a gd URGENT CARE in the middle of a pandemic) and coughers on the other.

I was the only person in the waiting room, and I only stayed there for 3 minutes when a masked CNA came to lead me to an exam room.  She opened the door for me and directed me inside, then she said she'd give me a call and left. There was a hand-lettered sign outside the door reminding staff to bring NOTHING in the room with them, including bags and papers, which was kind of freaky.

I sat there for a few minutes reading my book, and then my cellphone rang. The CNA did all of the charting via phone and said the PA would call me soon. She did, and she, too, did some charting, asking about my symptoms, their duration, my family, etc. She told me they would do a flu test for sure, but she had to share my case with the chief medical officer to see if I could be tested for COVID-19 and that she would be in shortly to examine me.

She entered the room in full hazmat gear, including a face shield. She used a portable cart to check my vitals, and except for a high pulse, everything was great. My lungs sounded good upon examination, but my fever was creeping back, and I was up to 100.6 before I left the office.

The flu test was no big deal-- a quick swab of my nose. The RSV and COVID tests? WERE TOTALLY BRUTAL. It's hard to say which one hurt more. Both involved sticking a really hard bristly probe INTO MY BRAIN through my nose (an exaggeration, to be sure, but not much of one). RSV was a much spikier probe-- kind of like a brush to clean the inside of a metal straw. You have to breathe in through your mouth, and the provider just sort of rams it in there. The COVID probe was softer BUT it has to stay in longer, and they have to TURN IT mid-test.  I almost cried.

After she swabbed me and said comorbidity (damnit!), we were all done, and she walked me out of the clinic through a disabled emergency door.  SO WEIRD.  But, in the absence of drive thru testing, it seemed like a really well-developed protocol. I don't feel like I left any germs, and I don't feel like I got any new ones.

She told me to isolate at home, and I feel awful for going about my business (covering my cough and washing my hands and cleaning surfaces regularly, but still) for 3 days with a cough but no fever. Today I am taking Tylenol regularly for the fever and staying in bed while Ben deals with all the kids and works another 13-hour day. I owe him one for sure.

I feel crappy-- cough, fever, chills, body aches, shooting sinus pain from the tests if I inhale just right-- but Tylenol helps a ton.

I am pretty freaked out, and I miss homeschool.  Also, think twice about sharing the scariest article you read about COVID-19 to the Facebook. You never know which friend is home with a cough and a fever waiting for results, you know?


  1. Anonymous2:30 PM

    Oh Sarah, I’m so sorry. I hope it’s not the virus. I hope you feel better soon and that your family is okay.

  2. I'm so sorry to hear this. I hope the test comes back negative and that everyone recovers soon. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts.

  3. Oh Sarah! I’m so sorry. That’s really, really scary. And super real because I feel like you took this seriously earlier than most. Fingers crossed for all of you <3

  4. Wow--how scary! I hope you're ok soon and that you and fam are back to normalcy soon.
    I felt I was there with you in the disorienting isolation as you waited to be tested. Beginning of a novel? Quarantine hugs!!