The hardest part was accepting that I might have COVID-19. I guess there’s a stigma around it that I didn’t realize. But once I accepted that, yes, I had been exposed, and yes, I was showing a lot of the symptoms that match with the coronavirus, the rest was really quite easy. I went to the Austin Regional Clinic app and scheduled a next-day appointment. I just dropped in a note that I had been exposed to and was exhibiting symptoms.
When I showed up at the clinic, the first thing they asked me was if I needed a mask. I put one on, like every other person there. The waiting room wasn’t very crowded – maybe a dozen of us in a room that would hold 50. When they took me back, they went through all the standard steps. They took my pulse, temperature, blood pressure, and all the rest. The doctor then came in with the test swab and a couple of sheets of paperwork. She had to verify that I was a candidate for the test. I was asked about my travels, why I thought I had been exposed, and what symptoms I had. Honestly, the symptoms sounded a lot what I’ve been asked if they’re screening me for the flu or a cold. The test itself was minor. A giant q-tip stuck up both nostrils way too far! I was in and out of the doctor’s office in about 30 minutes.
I’m still waiting for the results. It may take another day or two to find out. But for now, my family and I are acting like we’re positive for the coronavirus. That means that we’re doing the same thing everyone else is doing. We’re avoiding contact with others, especially my elderly parents. We’re washing our hands way too much and making sure the toddlers don’t share water bottles or eat each others’ snacks. And we’re using Amazon and drive-up services for everything.
Getting tested wasn’t a big deal at all. But if I’m being honest, there is a difficult psychological piece to thinking I may have the coronavirus. Late at night, it’s easy to go down the path of dark thoughts. But I try to keep those thoughts at bay since I don’t know if I’m positive, my symptoms are mild right now, and I don’t have many of the risk factors that would make the coronavirus particularly dangerous. These are scary times for me, my family, and for all of us. We’re kidding ourselves if we say they aren’t. But staying grounded in the facts and in the reality of what we’re experiencing has helped my family deal with the stress and the fear.
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