Wednesday 25th November 2020

COVID-19 Test Experience For Me. 33.1/2020.

COVID-19 Test Experience For Me. 33.1/2020.

It sure is a topical “event” around the world and now I am outlining my recent experience as a potential* COVID19 patient.

*no spoiler alert: the good news before you read any further is that I tested NEGATIVE and that’s great.

Friday 24 April 2020.

Morning

I woke with a sore throat that is not unusual for me to have.

I knew I had been a bit ‘hayfever-ish’ the day before as my eyes were a bit runny and when I saw my G.P. on Wednesday before, he thought it was an allergy type of thing with my eyes and use the drops I have.

I was determined to visit the beach for a walk as the weather was (still is!) amazing and felt up for it. Despite bit of a sore throat.

Loved my walk and on way back home bought some betadine throat gargle in case it worsened. I know it is not always helpful but I felt better for having it.

Afternoon.

Later in the afternoon as I was doing some art, I noticed that I felt a bit warmer than normal and so, took my temperature. It was over what is normal for me. It was then I recalled the earlier messages from the N.S.W. Premier and N.S.W. Health about getting a COVID-19 test even with the mildest of symptoms.

So after briefly chatting with my husband about doing this, I first called our G.P. I thought there was a protocol for testing. I wanted to be sure. It turns out, I could have (and did) call the Health Hotline: 1800 022 222 where that person entering my details and symptoms said “go get the test”. There is also a National Coronavirus Health Information Hotline 1800 020 080

Before rocking up to Wyong Hospital’s COVID-19 Centre, I rang first: 4394 9200 and they said come on down now and by 4.15 p.m. there I was.

I admit to a wee bit of trepidation knowing once I had started this information sharing…and agreeing to the testing I would now be part of the system and information shared between health professionals but I also had a better feeling that I needed to find out.

The hospital is literally up the road from us and the signage made it easy to find the clinic.

Here’s what happened next:

  • Waited outside the door until it was opened by a person fully covered in what I now know is par for health and safety of personnel: gown, gloves, mask
  • I was asked to clean my hands with sanitiser
  • I was given a mask to put on
  • The nurse then took my temperature (which has reverted to normal of course) and my pulse
  • I was asked a series of questions about risks/exposure: all of which were a negative from me
  • Then I was directed to person behind a screen who completed my contact details (which did need updating as Wyong Hospital community nursing staff were those who attended me at Gorokan after my cancer surgery in 2017)
  • Following that, I was given my plastic folder and asked to walk around the side of the room – a very large one, with arrows for directions and exit
  • I was greeted kindly (again, everyone was lovely and relaxed and helpful!) by a Registered Nurse who asked me to sit in a chair.
  • There were groups of chairs, all empty, set out in rows and columns with correct distancing between them.
  • The questions I was asked now were repeats of earlier ones (verifications) and then more including current health status and the only one I answered ‘yes’ to was about having cancer.
  • We chatted a bit about their day (it had been much busier than now where I was the only one) and about ‘back to school’ as she has one HS student
  • The test would be one taken from inside my nose reaching down to my throat and I mentioned the better nostril for me, post head and neck cancer reconstructions would be the left.
  • I was then asked to go to a partitioned room where another nurse greeted me in a kind and relaxed manner, indicating her preference for that nostril too as she was left-handed. Lefties unite I said.
  • Yes, the test is a tiny bit uncomfortable and it was over in a tick. No sneezing or tears…as an auto reaction, just “glad that’s done”.
  • I’d been given two sheets of information earlier and told, when I got home, to register for text results.
  • I was also told by the nurse earlier that as of now, I was to consider I have COVID19 and to self-isolate at home.
  • I followed the exit signs, clutching my 2 pieces of paper and drove home.

Self-Isolation At Home: Friday to Sunday 26 April.

This took a bit of a think on how to do it without impacting on my husband and me too much. Here’s what worked for us in a large house.

  • We literally stayed distant from each other physically.
  • We already have separate bedrooms
  • I have a space in the house where he does not enter and that is where my computer and art spaces are
  • The shared bathroom was now his, and I moved my things to the other bathroom. We use only one normally as who wants to clean 2?
  • In terms of food preparation and kitchen use, I wiped over every surface such as door and drawer handles etc then left the kitchen so my husband coulr get his dinner.
  • When he was done, I donned my disposable gloves and prepared my simple tea.
  • We sit in different rooms for TV and by 7.30 p.m. were back in our bedrooms.

The Next Day: A.N.Z.A.C. Day. More Self-Isolation. 

  • This became a repeat of the day before.
  • I also needed to have some time to think about how to manage this mindfully
  • Because of my cancer diagnosis (and long spells at home) and the recent weeks of staying home unless needing to go out for essential reasons I was able to come around to managing it well.
  • The small shopping needs we had we sought by my husband.
  • I did some art, I completed the blog post for tomorrow, I talked to Dad on the phone but did not mention this, I loved seeing the various way sA.N.Z.A.C. Day was commemorated in COVID-19 ways, and I went outside. I looked at nature and marvelled at my phone’s camera results….

Waiting for The Results.

I admit that waiting for this result was somewhat like waiting for cancer results so I guess I have had practice. However, I was hoping I would get the results before the Monday as we are hosting a visit from our granddaughter.

At the hospital I was told it could be anywhere from 3 days to 5 days. I understand erring on the longest possibilities.

I used the system from the NSW Health Pathology to receive my results by text and enrolled in that on the Friday evening.

I started feeling better from the sore throat as Saturday evening came and some of my tiredness had dissipated.

Nevertheless, until a negative result was received, I did have to act AS IF I was positive.

The Result: Sunday 26 April 2020.

Waking just after 8.00 a.m. I noticed a message on my phone.

It was from N.S.W. Health Health Pathology COVID-19 SMS Results Service.

Once I had located my unique pin, I received this:

Because none of those conditions applied to me, I was able to cease the self-isolation precautions.

I am not being anything other than grateful. I also know this COVID-19 can be anywhere and we all need to be vigilent.

But how amazing is the time between taking my test to receiving my result (it came in much earlier than I saw it) was: 36 hours. 

This is why I blogged about it.

To share my experience and to connect with anyone who may wish to know more.

I am sending my best wishes and appreciation to all who will continue to help those of us in the community taking risks of exposure as they work to help eradicate this virus.

I also send my best to those who will be returning to the unknown of schools and teaching in Term 2 in Australia and elsewhere.

This is just my experience, for my records too.

Have you been tested? How was the experience for you?

I do hope you are well.

Stay Safe.

Stay Well

Take Care.

Denyse.

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Comments

  1. Sounds like it would have been stressful for you Denyse but I’m glad the final result is negative! Thanks for sharing this

    • Initially it was stressful to decide to do this but as the process happened it felt less so.

      The hard(er) part was the self-isolation which felt a bit weird.

      I didn’t think I would have it but putting myself into the system (NSW Health!) meant I would be traced and followed so I was aware of that.

      The result delivery was awesome. Today, Monday, I had a follow up call from Central Coast Health and all good too. I was able to pass on my appreciation for the way in which it all happened for me.

      Denyse.

  2. I’m glad you got tested, I think we aren’t testing broadly enough. I know they keep saying we are but if 50% of cases have no symptoms, we need to start pulling those people out of circulation if we are wanting to lift restrictions. I also had hay fever symptoms and wondered if it was asymptomatic COVID as I don’t get Hay fever. I’m now wondering if it’s some post bush fire sensitivity, as the 4 months of smoke and haze really mucked me around physically. I think anyone with any doubt as to whether they have COVID should rush out and get tested. It appears, as we’ve learnt from Singapore, Iceland and Taiwan testing, these are actually where the problem lies. (Tho I have my fingers crossed we’re like Greenland soon, and completely virus free!)

    • Dear Lydia….everything you wrote says to me “I need to get the test”.

      I am serious. At least you will have tested and know.

      I am really glad I did. I still had the slight sore throat but I knew what it wasn’t by Sunday morning and I contributed to the community COVID-19 testing.

      It was relatively easy and quicker to go through the centre than a private path group or G.P.

      Denyse.

  3. This was so interesting to read Denyse, thanks for sharing the process with us. I’m also more pleased that you were negative. It’s well worth getting tested if you are at all concerned and I’m glad it’s open to everyone now. #lifethisweek

    • Yes it is good anyone can have the test. This is the work of NSW Health via Gladys and its a good plan.

      I am glad I did, but of course, I was going to blog about it!!

      Denyse.

  4. Thanks for sharing that Denyse – it’s really useful as I wondered about the procedure. We’ve had no new cases in our whole region for over two weeks now (and only 7 or 8 before that and almost all from those who’d been o/s), so we’ve been pretty lucky.

    • Yes it was helpful for me to recount it too, so unusual blog post it was yesterday.

      The thing with getting the good result is you think “oh that’s goof” but of course life still is very COVID-19 centred so all the restrictions in NSW still apply.

      It was pleasing though that I no longer had to self isolate and that was sad and annoying in our 2 person household. I cannot imagine 14 days in a hotel room. Yikes.

      Sounds like you have done well where you are but with winter coming, who knows if it will ramp up.

      The unknown is always the worst.

      Denyse.

  5. Interesting to see it from the “inside” Denyse – fortunately it all turned out well for you. It’s quite a rigmarole to go through but it would definitely put your mind at rest after the test was done and to know that you’ve done all the right things in the meantime before getting your results. Glad it turned out to be negative – a big relief I’m sure.

    • Thanks Leanne.

      I was grateful to see how well it was gone.

      Being curious and a blogger helped too!

      So, it made sense tor recount it for me and others.

      I did not like the waiting but having had lots of those times with cancer, I applied to my thinking what I learned then.

      We are not out of the woods yet but for that brief time of the negative result it felt like it.

      Denyse.

  6. I’m glad you came back negative! I wonder if we will get some wider testing before opening the world back up – and I mean even within states! Not even the world world. I feel like Australia is at risk of some dumb decisions as we head into flu season and relaxing restrictions which could cause a second wave so I’m just hoping those at the head have the brains to see the risk factors. I already know of people in other workplaces who are being pressured to return physically to work – or those who have never been allowed to WFH even though it’s 100% possible with their jobs.

    • I know what you mean about going too fast back to what ‘was’. There are far too many unknowns . I must say I am glad I do not have to make those decisions either. Going into Winter is fraught with possibly more people being exposed to the virus. I guess, in your case, you will be hoping to be WFH as long as possible.

      Yes the good news for me was welcome. It made me think it was all over for a bit but then of course, it isn’t.

      Ah well.

      Denyse.

  7. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid says:

    Interesting to read, I’m so pleased you got your results so quickly and so pleased they were negative!

    • Thanks Sam. I thought it would be useful for others and for me to write it.
      Glad I did and glad, of course to get that negative news.

      Denyse.