My Experience Getting Tested for Covid 19

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Last weekend, I started feeling a bit ill. I was lethargic and had a slight cough. I thought it was stress because I usually get sick when I’m stressed out. Since starting my new job, it seems that I have not yet adjusted to my new routine. I felt fine on Monday (Nov 15th), but I still felt tired and like I needed rest.

I went to bed an hour earlier than usual and slept right through my alarms. I woke up with a slight sniffle, so I decided to make an appointment to see the doctor. I didn’t get through because it was too early. I forgot she opened at 9 am. So I went in directly and got an appointment for 11 am. I went back home to wait and left at 10:30 am. After waiting about 30 mins and completing a form, the nurse informed me that the doctor wasn’t seeing anyone with a cough. So she advised me to get a covid test before I saw her.

I understand the precaution, but at the same time, I wish I knew that ahead of time. I wouldn’t have wasted that 30 mins or the morning, for that matter. I would have gone directly to the health centre to get tested. Unfortunately, it’s too costly for me right now to get it done privately. So began my long wait to get tested for covid 19.

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The Wait to Be Registered For The Covid 19 Test

I got to the health centre at 11:30 am. I washed my hands and took a number. Then I waited for almost 2 hours and got nowhere. They were still on the same number, 67, from when I arrived. My boyfriend came to collect me, and we left. I spent some time relaxing at home and had lunch. Around 3:00 pm, I decided to go back to the health centre. I spent about 3 hours at home. I thought for sure they would be close to my number. Someone who came at 8:00 am got through by 12:30 pm, so I used that as my frame of reference.

I arrived back at the health centre at approximately 3:45 pm. When I asked what number they were on, they said 69. In 3 hours, only two persons got tested. I learned that an emergency case arrived right before I did, and another came right after I arrived. So that held up the process more. Shortly after, we heard that one of the persons had died. She was already unresponsive when her family brought her in. That was a tragic experience for her family. It was a sad moment to witness.

With all the waiting, a group of us became friends. We talked and laughed to keep our spirits up. At about 4:30 pm, I think, one of the persons in our small group got through with her test and left. After she left, there was no activity because apparently, the doctor was changing shift. Finally, around 6:15 pm, my number got called to be registered. The nurse checked my vitals and took some information. Then the wait to see the doctor and get swabbed began.

The Wait To Get Swabbed For The Covid 19 Test

Thank God for the small group of us that became friendly, or the wait would have been unbearable. There was now three of us in our small group. We sat apart from everyone else. We were in an open corridor where we could see the car park and the people going and coming. 

While waiting, another incident happened. It looked like a lady brought her dad to be tested. She was assisting him back from the washroom when her leg went through the wooden ramp. A doctor came and attended to her and eventually wheeled her away after checking for any serious injury. What a dramatic day! That poor lady came to help her dad and left with an injury. We didn’t see her again for the day, so hopefully, she got through.

The three of us were back and forth with the nurse inquiring about the progress and update on the doctor’s arrival. Maybe around 7:30 pm, the doctor arrived and started attending to people. My phone died around 7:00 pm so I can’t be sure about the timing. Persons’ names or numbers began calling again. Hurray! It seemed that the pace was finally picking up.

Countdown to Curfew

In Trinidad and Tobago, we are operating under a curfew due to the pandemic. It starts at 10:00 pm and ends at 5:00 am each morning. As you can imagine, we got a bit impatient with the time drawing closer to the curfew. We were especially concerned for one of the women in our group. She lived further than us, and I didn’t know if she would get transportation to go home. She had to get home in time to relieve her babysitter as well.

Even though the pace had improved, the wait was still long. After talking and trying to get information from the nurses, one of the head nurses, I’m assuming when to investigate for us. He seemed surprised that we were still here from this morning. After checking he said, our file was with the doctor. It was good news, but it didn’t stop the wait.

My partner had time to finish work at 7:00 pm and reach the health centre. He ended up going and buying KFC for me to eat, but I didn’t want to until I was home. I just drank a soft drink. Then finally, at about 9:00 pm, our names got called. 

The lady who had to travel home got through first, thankfully. She finished in about 10 – 15 mins. Next, the guy went. It took the same time, about 10 mins. Then the doctor had to check an elderly patient and a person with breathing issues before attending to me. When my turn arrived, it took the same 10 – 15 mins max. 

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My Visit With The Doctor: Getting Tested

I went through my symptoms with the doctor while she prepared the quarantine order. After that, I had to go to an isolated area for the other doctor to come and swab me. I was a bit nervous. The others before said it wasn’t painful, just uncomfortable. I was still a bit weary.

When the doctor came to do the swab, she told me what to expect and do. She said it isn’t painful but a bit uncomfortable and can feel like it’s burning. I pulled done my mask to uncover my nose, keeping my mouth covered. Then she inserted the swab into my right nostril. It felt strange but okay. It got uncomfortable when she had to turn the swab to get a proper sample. I had to breathe in and out through my mouth. And then, the test was complete. It was a quick process. 

Finally Back Home

I asked for the time before I left. It was 9:55 pm. So my partner and I high tailed it out of there to our home. Good thing we live like 3 mins away. I absolutely didn’t want to receive a ticket for breaking curfew hours, even though it wasn’t our fault.

As soon as I got home, I stripped my clothes and put them in the laundry basket outside our apartment. I sprayed my hair with some aerosol sanitiser and wrapped it up as a precaution since I didn’t want to wash it so late. Then I took a lovely warm shower. My partner took a shower while I organised an anime to watch. Finally, I good eat my KFC. We sat and watched some more episodes of “The Day I Became A God” until I started falling asleep on the cosy rug.

What a day that was. So I’m in quarantine for the next 14 days, or until my results come out, I guess. I’ll be sure to keep you all updated. 

Happy Wednesday.

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3 Replies to “My Experience Getting Tested for Covid 19”

  1. Been there, done that. It’s crazy, but we have to do our due diligence to keep ourselves and others safe. There is never just one contact. It’s who you were in contact with and everyone that they were, and so on. It adds up pretty quick.

    Liked by 1 person

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