It Took 15 Days To Get Test Results
Finding out your friend has tested positive for C-vid feels like you just swallowed a bag of marbles. There is an unmovable knot between your throat and chest that water will not push down. An indescribable fear fills you up as you try hard not to show on your face the turbulence happening within your body.
A friend of mine recently quarantined himself after experiencing a few symptoms relating to the virus. He had just attended a large outdoor wedding where he was surrounded by family and a few of our mutual friends. He had spent more time than usual around family and would soon confirm his body’s indication that indeed, he was positive.
Everything for me was business as usual. The start of my day consists of a mile walk, work soon after, and another four miles of walking to end my day. I had just gotten home from the first mile when a text alert came through. “My test came back positive, so make sure you get tested too,” the message read. My stomach dropped. My mind flashed back to the last time we had seen one another and then to all the friends we share in common who had also been around him. I then thought of my Mother who had recently had surgery and had some complications soon after.
I wanted to be supportive, and I was. But the calm, compassionate message I sent was a mask to the fear I felt swelling inside my belly. The “make sure you get tested” part of the text made me feel like every character from a TV sitcom that’s ever had an STD/STI scare. Never in my life had I experienced that sort of anxiety relating to medical testing. I didn’t feel like I had it, but does anyone ever really feel like they have something they’re not showing symptoms for?
I casually went to my Mother and told her that *Calvin had tested positive and that maybe I should get tested. Her tone was consistent and sharp straight through. She asked a few questions and reiterated the importance of needing a mask, even around the people you know. Though I didn’t feel sick, I felt bad for even having to have this conversation.
Once the silence grew awkward, I spilled out of the room and called my doctor. The office said that if I had not been showing symptoms that I needed to be tested at an urgent care. Now I had things to do. I had work to do from home, a trip to the mechanic, and to the Farmers Market for seeded fruit. All of these things were crushed under the weight of this C-vid scare. Maybe if I held out getting tested, the symptoms would come or they wouldn’t. And if they didn’t, I’d be good. But that’s not how this thing works.
I headed for the nearest urgent care and sat until my name was called. While waiting for the doctor, I explained that I wasn’t sick and assured them that I was not disobeying the State’s rules on social distancing and wearing a mask. None of that mattered. I was in this room after possibly being exposed and had to go back tending to my mother’s post-op ailments.
Within 24hours, I received an alert that a test result was posted on the portal. The antibody test I had taken was negative. There was a quick exhale until reading further and discovering that the absence of antibodies does not mean absence of the virus. I called the office and was told that it would take the full 7days to get my nasal swab results and that until that time, I should self quarantine. My nerves were shot. Anxiety levels elevated. And again, the knot in my throat had returned.
Fast (rather slow) forward to day 15. Yes, 15 whole days it took to get my results. They too were negative. Can I be honest and just say that by the time they rolled in, I was already back to my daily routine? The fear had died down. My nerves, stabilized. I don’t want to say the results didn’t matter at that point but… did they? I continued taking all of the necessary precautions of social distancing, wearing a mask, sanitizing, avoiding direct contact with family and friends, boosting my immune system the holistic way and etc. But 15 days, y’all? I get it, the labs are backed up. But how then do we explain folks taking the test days after me getting results days before me? This two week lapse in time, especially with the absence of symptoms, caused me to forget about the virus. So many other important things were happening in my world and the lack of reasonable response time for results pushed the whole ordeal to the back of my mind. And while I continued taking precautions, this same situation may cause other folks to not take the virus as serious as they should.
This moment of transparency is to remind you that there is a real chance you can get this virus. Just because it hasn’t knocked on your door does not mean it can’t. There’s absolutely no way to be sure that the friends and family you’re around have not been exposed. Really, my friend was exposed by people he knew that knew they tested positive. You can’t be responsible for other people’s negligence, but you are the sole owner of your own. Stay active, boost your immunity, and keep a safe distance from folks you don’t know and especially those that you know personally.