My COVID Test is Taking So Long That The Results Won’t Even Matter [OPINION]
I'm not a professional athlete or the President so, apparently, my test results don't matter as much.
Let me preface this by being very clear: I've been working from home since mid-March. I had my groceries delivered and had all appointments and meetings over the phone. I've canceled two trips - one to Las Vegas and one to visit my family in Milwaukee. I've taught the majority of my Irish dance classes on Zoom or one-on-one from 6 feet away. And I've worn a mask EVERY TIME I've had to leave my house, even if it was just to go on a hike in a park with my son, since March.
I've had asthma since I was a teeanger, so we took extra precautions when this whole thing started.
All was well until Sunday, July 13th. I woke up feeling a bit congested and assumed that I was catching a summer cold. I immediately started taking zinc and Mucinex, since we had our first (and only) live event for Cars 108 that week. I took it easy on Monday and Tuesday before our fundraiser; you can literally see, from my Apple watch data, when I started feeling not-so-great.
By Thursday, I felt much better and assumed that whatever it was had gone away.
That was, of course, until Saturday morning. Getting out of bed was nearly impossible. My limbs felt like Jello, as if the bed was swallowing me. I got up, had a cup of coffee, and was back in bed by noon. I slept all day, assuming that I was just tired from our fundraiser.
On Sunday, the headache and body aches started. I was sweating profusely, even though I had not done anything physical all day, and I had no appetite. I made the decision to call off work on Monday and cancel my planned trip to hike in the UP that week. I spent most of Sunday in bed, like the previous day.
Monday morning was when the sore throat started and I decided to call my doctor. He wanted to see me immediately; told me to wait in my car and to call when I arrived. He and his assistant did my exam partially from my car and partially in office.
"Could be mono, could be the flu, could be COVID," he said.
He took some blood and did a COVID swab on me and told me that he was going to treat me for it, just to be safe. He prescribed azithromycin and hydroxychloroquine (which my insurance wouldn't cover so it wasn't filled) and told me that they'd call me with the results.
When I got home, the headache was intense. I tried to eat some soup, thinking that maybe I was just hungry since I hadn't eaten all day. I took some Tylenol and one of my migraine meds and laid down, and then the sweating started. My hair was soaked, so I stripped down to a tank top and some shorts and laid in my bed with the fan on my and the blackout curtains closed. For HOURS. It never got better. I laid there from 2:30 in the afternoon till 9 PM, fighting off the urge to throw up. I smoked pot every hour and, for the first time in my life (much like my migraine meds), it didn't help.
Finally, I started to doze off and I knew that it was finally going away, but I was terrified that it would come back. I have weather-induced migraines, and this wasn't one of them. It felt like somebody was burning my temples and my eyeballs from behind my skull.
I called off work on Tuesday so that I could catch up on sleep. For the next four days, the headache persisted, but it never got as bad as it was on Monday. My voice kept coming in and out with the sore throat, which was gone by Thursday. I drank TONS of water and ate what I could, and I slept. A lot. I couldn't keep my eyes open more than three or four hours at a time.
Not ONCE have I had a respiratory problem, even with my asthma.
Silly me, I assumed that my test would take 24, maybe 48 hours at the most. Friday rolled around; I was still exhausted but feeling better and managed to get out and walk my dog for a mile. I called my doctor; the blood test results were back, but not the COVID swab. They're "backlogged," apparently.
So, let's be honest - by the time I get the results, regardless of what they are, they won't matter. Let's say, best-case scenario, that I get them back on Monday. That's a full SEVEN DAYS from my test, and 14 days after I first started feeling ill. If the results are positive, it will be too late to tell anybody whom I've come into contact with to self-isolate and get tested themselves. If its negative, then I've been taking meds for the wrong virus and have missed my second job for an entire week while self-isolating.
And therein lies the problem - what good is testing if it takes this long? I've already exposed my immediate family and a few people close to me.
Real talk - on Monday, I thought I was going to die. The headache/nausea/fatigue/sweating/body aches were unbearable and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, and (according to my doctor) this was possibly a "mild" cause of coronavirus. I am certainly praying for a negative test result; the thought that I may have exposed people that I care about makes me sick. And, if this isn't COVID, what was it, and did I expose others?
We can do better than this, America. I know we can. We have to, or testing people won't mean a damn thing.