The Test

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MS is usually pretty good at alerting us to any underlining health blips, like the start of a cold, a virus or an infection. At the onset of such a blip our MS will often go into overdrive and start throwing all its symptoms at us, much like a baby throwing its toys out of the pram. On these occasions MS needs our attention and will do anything to make sure it gets it!

Over the last couple of days my MS has certainly made itself known. My body feels as though it is being trampled on by a herd of heavy dinosaurs, but it’s not – I’ve checked. Instead the familiar heaviness is an attention-seeking reaction to a blip intent on bringing me down. Now, in these days of days it is perhaps not terribly wise to assume that it’s just a bug, and so I trotted off to one of those Covid-19 testing sites to see if I need to take any sort of drastic action.*

On arrival at the defunct park & ride I followed the winding rows of cones, being careful not to exceed the impossible-to-stick-to 5 mph rule in place. I was halted at the first stop by a smiling bearded chap who was in his element pointing out all the necessary signage surrounding him: Turn your engine off. Keep your windows closed. No photography. Turn your dashboard camera off (I don’t know why, but I felt the need to act as though I were doing just that, despite not even owning a dashboard camera…) Another young man sidled up to my window and requested some ID, which I held up to the window, and then I was good to go, carefully (and slowly) following the waves of the attendants lining the route.

Next up was a masked woman, who stood eerily still in front of my car holding up a sign saying ‘Call 073*******3’. I’m not gonna lie, I was starting to feel a little nervous. Who was I being asked to call? As it turned out the number I rang was linked to another woman sitting in a nearby portacabin who proceeded to talk me through the testing process. I didn’t know where to look – should I be looking at the woman to whom I was talking to? Or simply look straight ahead as I would do during a normal phone conversation. But this wasn’t a normal phone conversation, this was the most surreal telephone call I have ever had.

I was instructed to lower the passenger window by 1 inch so that a test kit could be slotted through and then I was free to park up and perform the test on myself. But only after being stopped, mid-manoeuvre, by a man holding yet another sign, ‘Reverse Park’.

The test itself is fairly straight forward – you take a swab of your tonsils followed by a swab inside your nostril. I say ‘straight forward’, it wasn’t. The swab needs to touch your tonsils for a full 10 seconds WITHOUT making contact with your tongue or the inside of your cheeks – impossible when your knee-jerk reaction to having a stick stuffed down your throat is to lift your tongue up and gag. I’d therefore contaminated the swab with my tongue and had to sit and wait with my hazard lights on until someone could bring me a new swab. I might also add here, cringing as it is, that I’d always thought the dangly thing at the back of the throat was the tonsils – apparently that’s the uvula, which of course everyone else already knows; biology was never my strong point!

After the debacle with the first swab I managed to complete the test, which just left me with the final task of dropping the bagged up test into the collection bin. Easy peasy… At least it should have been. Holding the bag with my outstretched hand through the window and directly above the bin I was all set to let go just as a gust of wind snatched it from my hand and landed it, plonk, several yards away. I couldn’t even do that bit right!

*Test was negative.

4 thoughts on “The Test

  1. Those covid tests are awful! I don’t know how they can possibly be accurate when they rely on controlled gag reflexes! I had to take one, safe to say I ‘contaminated’ mine but didn’t get offered a new one, then I had to clamp Esme’s mouth open and head back while they performed it on her – It was a very traumatic half an hour!
    Our tests came back negative too but I don’t understand how they can be confident about that!

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    1. Sounds horrific, poor Esme! It’s very uncomfortable isn’t it?! I don’t think the tests can be terribly accurate either…

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  2. What if you don’t have tonsils?

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    1. The instructions say to swab where the tonsils used to be.

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