Waiting for the Results of My Coronavirus Test
They say patience is a virtue, but sometimes it’s more of an anxiety ridden nightmare.
In January of 2021 I discovered it would be in my best interest to get a COVID-19 test. I don’t want to bore you with the drama as to why, because that’s not important. The “why” kinda falls by the wayside in these types of situations anyway, especially since there’s a time factor involved. Regardless of why, the fact still remained that I needed to get one. This was also my first test, so based on what I’d seen on the news, I was looking forward to having my nose cherry popped, potentially along with my brain, by a large nasal swab.
Actually, I didn’t want to. But I did, partially because I’m a responsible person who does their best to act in reasonable, level headed ways during stressful situations. And, if I’m being honest, I was also slightly panicked. OK, a lot panicked. No way around that. I recognized how incredibly fortunate I’d been that I had not needed to get one until this point, especially since I live in Texas. Not sure if everyone has heard about how Texas was handling COVID-19 early on, but between Texas Governor Abbott getting mad about counties implementing their own lock-downs until ultimately deciding to lock-down without calling it a lock-down to Lt. Governor Dan Patrick saying that old people should sacrifice their lives to save the economy, I was a little worried about this being where I’ve chosen to remain for the time being. But once the summer happened in Texas, I felt a little better because soon to be former President Trump promised that COVID would go away in warmer weather (sarcasm). Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and the numbers exploded!
My point being, I was extremely thankful to have not been put in a position to take a COVID test much sooner. But, I suppose it was inevitable. Whatever. This was the situation.
So I got a test. Thankfully, the test I got was not the cue-tip through the brain kind. Instead, I got the swab around the mouth like pretending to brush your teeth kind. That was more my speed.
I was told to expect the results between 24–48 hours. Not that I care what they think, but a thought about anyone reading this who doesn’t trust the vaccines because it seems like it’s awfully too fast to develop something in such a short amount of time would be happy that at least I’m waiting.
The problem is, I’m waiting.
Don’t know how others do this, but as I was waiting, my mind suddenly decided that now was a good time to switch into hypochondriac mode. Now anything that’s happening in my body is suddenly magnified and my brain zeroes in on it!
At one point I began feeling a small sensation in my pectoral area. My brain figured that means I have coronavirus… or breast cancer. Definitely either one or the other, no question. I mean, I’m no doctor, nor did I study medicine or immunology in any form at school, but my brain decided that that small sensation that was repeating itself throughout the day was totally without a doubt either coronavirus… or breast cancer.
Now over these days my brain is starting to over-analyze every cough or sneeze. Was that an allergy cough or a corona cough? My brain decided that somehow it could tell the difference. It wasn’t just the sounds of my body that my brain was reacting to either. One of the days I spent waiting, I distinctly remember hearing a sound coming from our upstairs neighbors. My brain began wondering if that was the regular sound of our upstairs neighbors getting into their 5th argument this week or if it was the coronavirus upstairs with the neighbors?
It’s like my brain had totally forgotten that I’m a 33 year old male that drinks smoothies nearly every morning, thanks to the goddess (I don’t have time to go into detail in this story why I call my girlfriend “the goddess,” but you’re welcome to read why in a previous story). In addition to smoothies, it’s also like my brain forgot the fact I drink and shower in filtered water (though not simultaneously) in addition to eating fruits, veggies and mostly fake meat in various forms while also doing 5–10 minute exercises 4–5 days a week AND I’ve been regularly taking CBD for the past 4 months.
My brain doesn’t seem to care though. My brain tries to tell me “Yeah, but over the holidays you also ate half of two different pies, ordered take out twice and were drinking more rum cream than my occasional bourbon drinks.” Like, somehow a 2 week period cancels out everything else. Sure, that makes sense. Granted, I’m no doctor, nor did I study medicine or immunology in any form at school, but this was good enough for my brain.
It was strange to feel my brain doing this, partially because I meditate. So, I figured maybe I should try meditating a little more frequently to offset some of this anxiety. I decided to try doing it at night before bed as well. After doing that, my brain began to calm down. I remember reminding my brain that meditation helps ease stress. My brain responded in agreement, noting that now I’ll just be less stressed about having the coronavirus, which I totally have even though I haven’t gotten the test results back yet. Between meditation and taking CBD, I’ll be super chill about having COVID.
While I’ve had a minor headache the last few days before discovering I needed to take a COVID test, naturally my mind decided this also meant I definitely, totally had the coronavirus. Never mind the fact that I’d been essentially working overtime (from home) for some holiday pay the last two weeks, which involves me staring at a screen for long periods of time, that doesn’t mean nothing.
Once all of this didn’t seem to be helping, the goddess thought it might be a good idea to lay off the news for a bit, what with the purge unofficially starting Jan 6, not to mention all the updates about the COVID numbers going up and looking more grim everyday in the U.S., let alone where I live in San Antonio. My brain briefly briefly tried explaining why I needed to stay up to date, though not necessarily convincingly. My brain tried to explain why the same way a child tries to convince its parents why they want 2 extra cookies after dinner. Eventually my brain relented and it was time for work on this particular day.
While I can’t get into specifics about my job, what I can say is that it involves captioning calls for hard of hearing. I was actually glad to start work because I thought it would help me take my mind off everything going on. But then my brain quickly reminded me that one of the main topics people are talking about on these calls just so happens to be the coronavirus and how bad the numbers are getting. Lucky break I guess.
Because I work nights, usually after I finish it’s time for bed.
During my first night’s sleep I found myself waking up once to use the bathroom, because even though I’m 33 years old, my body likes to pretend it’s older than 50 at night. But for a few minutes, My brain was quiet! I felt the sweet relief of nothing but silence in the darkness. My head wasn’t hurting. I felt no pinching in my chest. I was nearly euphoric, until my feet touched the floor, and I felt a tightness, a cramp of some sort in my leg! After the cramp, I began feeling a tight pressure on my lower thumb and my headache from earlier resumed! In case you couldn’t guess the pattern by now, this definitely confirmed to my brain that I had coronavirus. My brain conveniently decided to ignore the fact that I nervously exercised earlier in the day for the first time in 7-ish days. Definitely wasn’t that, but rather it meant it was coronavirus.
That, and the sweat that was drenching the sheets under me totally confirmed this hunch. It didn’t matter that I was wearing layers in a bed covered in thick cotton sheets, there was only one possible explanation. Eventually, I cried a little in the arms of my goddess.
FYI — she also had to get a COVID test since we live under the same roof. The difference being that she and her brain were handling this waiting much better than my brain. She kept assuring me that what I was experiencing was simple anxiety. Naturally, my brain did not concur.
She reminded me again that I have been working a lot and spending more times on screens than usual. Eventually I fell asleep again after I cried a little more.
When I woke up, the goddess reminded me about spending too much time on screens. But I did want check the link to “testing tracker” I was given the previous day. In case you haven’t experienced this, the testing tracker is kinda like Domino’s pizza tracker, except the stakes a potentially much higher and way more nerve wracking. It tracks the progress of your Coronavirs test, from when a person gives their sample to when it’s finished being tested and examined.
This seems like good idea. But my brain decided that this was probably a bad idea, based on all the questions and thoughts it was beaming into me. “Why is testing taking so long? That probably totally means I have covid. They should be able to see I have nothing and let me know fast without having to monitor things.”
Naturally I checked my phone a only a few hundred times.
Granted, I’m no doctor, nor did I study medicine or immunology in any form at school, let alone the job responsibilities of a lab technician, but this lack of evidence was good enough for my brain.
Eventually I was able to convince my brain that we should just make peace with the fact I have coronavirus. But before I did that, I made sure to check my phone a few more (hundred) times. Naturally, the Coronavirus results delivery app had not updated. So the next day, I attributed that it was my acceptance of having the coronavirus to the fact as to why I was feeling a little better and not the fact that I wasn’t jumping on screens right away in the morning or staying glued to them during the day.
We decided to take few walks that day, as the goddess insisted fresh air would do some good for me. Turns out, she was right and my brain agreed. I did feel better taking a few walks. I definitely felt better as the day progressed, but again, I think it was partially because my brain convinced me that I should just accept that I have COVID-19. Like our soon to be former 45th President said at one point, “It is what it is.”
Later that night as I was working from home, the goddess got her results back. But mine were still MIA. Naturally, my half day electronic detox was shattered when I decided to check my phone a few hundred times more. So of course in the following moments my brain conjured up all types of reasons as to why my results were delayed. I think the two most popular theories shared with nobody involved the internet not working solely on my phone & laptop, or that I needed to clean out my gmail because it was slowing down the memory. Granted, I knew this didn’t make much sense, but my panicked brain was ready to believe anything.
My last day of work for the week was spent halfheartedly attempting to do my job while I contemplated the supposed severity of the COVID I contracted. It took another day and a half to finally get my results.
Thankfully, said results turned out to be negative. But the extra day and a half didn’t make me feel my chances had improved any.
I acknowledge I am fortunate to test negative as cases are exploding everywhere. But I wanted to share this for a good laugh at how easy it is for our brains to sometimes trick us into thinking the worst by creating the most absurd situations imaginable while we wait for something that could potentially be life-changing. No pressure, right?