Unclean! Unclean!

social distancing, coronavirus, covid-19, covid, symptoms, covid testing

Last Tuesday I woke up feeling off. As I began to fully wake up and assess the situation, I realized I was dealing with many of the symptoms of COVID-19. After a few hours of thought, I decided I should get tested. But where?

I called the clinic I normally go to despite the fact that my much-loved nurse practitioner is no longer there. I asked how I go about getting tested and she said she’d transfer me to a COVID triage nurse. Let me tell you, I’m pretty sure said nurse got her start in the military. Either that or she’s just so over dealing with COVID questions all day long. After a quick assessment she determines that indeed, I do need a COVID test and says she’ll order one for me. I said, “Where will I need to go to have that?” I’m pretty sure she told me “the arena” but in fairness, I was pretty sick so I might have misheard. When I asked where “the arena” is she said it’s just south of their southeastern office. “Do you know where that is?” I said, “I don’t even know what town you’re talking about.” “Rochester” was her answer. It’s a 45-50-minute drive from my house to Rochester. Surely, she jests! Just think about having all the symptoms of COVID, you know what they are, and driving for 45 minutes one way to have a swab stuck up your nose. Um, no.

When I told the nurse I wasn’t going to drive that far for a COVID test she said, “Well, then you’ll have to self-isolate for the next 14 days.” Her tone made me wonder if she was going to send armed-guards to sit outside my house and make sure I was compliant, or at the very least send someone with a “QUARANTINE” notice to hammer onto my front door.

At this point, I tried another clinic, was told I could have the test about 15 miles from home and she’d let them know I was coming. It was all very quick and simple—except when she handed me the list of instructions. Most of the “to-dos” on the list were what you’d expect: wash your hands frequently and stay away from people but my personal favorite was “disinfect all “high-touch” surfaces frequently. Let me get this straight? I’ve got the most dreaded disease of this century and you want me to be cleaning my house?

It’s when my test came back positive that the real fun began. A doctor from the clinic I ended up at called to go over my past medical history and assess my situation. I’m already in the high-risk group just by virtue of my age. When combined with my previous stroke activity and the fact that I carry some extra weight, it put me into the group that wins a Remote Monitoring Kit. I use the kit to take my vital signs twice a day and it is sent electronically to the clinic. Basically, it’s like being in the hospital but taking care of yourself. The kit comes with a blood pressure cuff, oximeter, thermometer, a giant scale, and a tablet that collects the information.

The instructions for using the scale come with some “helpful tips”:

  1. Use the scale in the morning, after you have emptied your bladder and before you eat.
  2. Weigh yourself without clothing or wear the same type of clothing each time you weigh yourself.

Those “helpful tips” are clearly for skinny people. Those of us who carry extra weight have been perfecting the art of “getting the lowest weight” for years. We’re not rookies!

Within 10 minutes of hanging up from the doctor’s call, the county health nurse called. Aren’t sick people supposed to rest? How can I do that when I’m on the phone all day? She had a long list of questions for me, “where have you been, what have you done, who have to been with?” The short answer to “where did I get it” is “nobody knows.” It’s a virus. It’s in their nature to spread and make sneak attacks.

Nonetheless, I still had to call the people I’d inadvertently exposed, and those whom I MIGHT have exposed. I suspect it felt akin to being a leper during Biblical times, having to call out “Unclean! Leper! Unclean!” as they walked down the street. But to be fair, everyone was very nice about it.

The good news is I’m on the mend. And once I am well, it’ll be like having a free hall pass! I’ll still have to wear a mask, no doubt, because that’s the law. But I will no longer have to worry about catching it. I don’t think. If I’m wrong, please let me live in my delusional world for a little while longer.

“The Lord sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness.” Psalm 41:3

Cover photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

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