Another Test

I couldn’t stop coughing yesterday. It was probably allergies; tree pollen counts are soaring. But my son is coming home from school for Easter this weekend, so I thought I should get tested for covid-19 again, just in case. As much as I’d miss him, I’d rather have him stay at school for the holiday than risk infecting him. I’ve had one shot of the vaccine, and my husband has had both of his, but our 19-year-old son is unlikely to be offered his first shot for some time still.

So I signed up last night and went to get tested this morning. How different it is now from earlier in the pandemic! Six months ago, it was difficult to find a test at all. Before that, even a person showing symptoms and a doctor’s order might not be able to access a test. Now, there’s an easy system in my city to sign up online. You can even get a same-day or next-day appointment. You might even be able to show up at the testing site without an appointment and register for one on the spot.

The testing spot I chose is one that the city operates; it’s open every day. Last summer, you had to find an Urgent Care that would test you, or wait for one of the city’s infrequent testing clinics. It wasn’t the city’s fault; vaccines were just not available. Today I waited outside in a short line for about 15 minutes. Some of that was because the testing site didn’t open until 11 a.m., the same time as my appointment. When it was my turn, I walked up to the kiosk, and held my phone up to the window so the worker inside could see my phone screen with the appointment confirmation QR code. She verified my date of birth and sent a small plastic bag through an opening for me to pull out, like grabbing a soda released from a vending machine.

It was a self-test. I did it right there in front of her, and she instructed me through the whole thing. It’s an easy swab to the nostrils. This is not one of those first-generation tests of the first half of 2020, when it felt like the swab was reaching up into your skull to pull out your brain. This one went in only a half-inch. When I finished, I put the swab in the tube that was also in the bag, sealed it up, and stuck it back in the bag. Then I placed the bag back in the slot. And I was finished.

I can expect results in the next couple of days.

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