What it’s really like to get a COVID test

 

FOR weeks doctors have implored the public not to dismiss symptoms and get tested.

Not just for ourselves, but for the good of others.

So when my no-friends sniffle and cough arrived - I signed up for the swab.

I even felt a little patriotic, digging my Medicare card out of the bottom of god knows which bag I left it in.

The online booking process for one of the Gold Coast's four respiratory clinics was like an average appointment, except for a few extra COVID specific forms.

WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN AT COAST BORDER CHECK POINTS

Staff who sit behind a perspex barrier are not to be approached at the clinics, instead patients are asked to call ahead and then call again when they arrive at the door.
Staff who sit behind a perspex barrier are not to be approached at the clinics, instead patients are asked to call ahead and then call again when they arrive at the door.

On arrival, patients to the Hope Island Clinic are greeted with a large sign that asks them not to enter, but call the reception.

Patients are told to sit back in their car until they are called to enter when a doctor is free.

When that call comes, you are handed a mask and sanitiser by a staff member, who is acting as the quasi-doorman clad in pandemic appropriate garb.

A little disappointed my homemade superman mask didn't cut it, I swap to the medical variety.

MAYOR TOM TATE: SCHOOLIES NEEDS TO BE CANCELLED

The test was eye watering.. but not painful. As is illustrated by my watering eye.
The test was eye watering.. but not painful. As is illustrated by my watering eye.

 

I'm shuffled forward and exiting patients are guided out, like mannequins, so we do not get too close to one another.

Inside, the waiting room is stripped bare, save for a single plastic chair in the middle of the space. A perspex wall separates staff behind the counter from the public.

From there, a doctor in full safety get up ushers patients into a consult room.

"You can sit down, I cleaned the chairs, they are safe enough to eat off," he declares.

I resist the urge to whip out a sandwich and sit down.

After a quick temperature test comes the moment most dread - the swab.

The swab itself looks like a 15cm-long stick with a cotton bud-type brush at the end.

After a quick wipe of the back of my throat, it goes up my nose.

BORDER HOPPERS CHARGED AND FINED AFTER CHECK POINT LIES

The swap. This is used on the back of your throat and the back of your nose.
The swap. This is used on the back of your throat and the back of your nose.

As a woman in my mid-twenties, I have endured many not-so-comfortable medical check-ups, so this didn't even rate in my top 10.

Truly, the experience is not as terrible as I had heard. Instead it was quick and pain-free.

A similar sensation to the weird moment before a sneeze - only this lasts a little longer. Although it did bring water to the eyes.

That was it. No need to pay, all done in 20 minutes.

Time to wait for the test results and self-isolate.

It was tough, but I made sure to skip the Maccas drive through on the way home to self-isolate. Another patriotic decision I thought.

'EVERY DAY IS A GOOD ONE': BEHIND THE COAST'S DRUG ADDICTION FIGHT

Doctors are fully covered up to swab patients - ready for any coughing and spluttering that might happen.
Doctors are fully covered up to swab patients - ready for any coughing and spluttering that might happen.

I admit I'm fortunate to have access to sick leave and the ability to work from home, while isolation rules are far more difficult for those working in casual roles.

Just over 24 hours later my results come back via text at 7pm, although the wait can vary.

A collegue who was tested on the same day is still waiting, more than 72 hours down the track.

I'm certified all clear, for those wondering.

The sniffles and cough have gone on holiday too. Outstayed their welcome.

If they call again I am happy to revisit the testing process. So should you.

Originally published as What it's really like to get a COVID test



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