“I’m not gonna lie, that was kinda painful.” I’m trying to make a video for the Index Tribune website but I’m not a great selfie guy or pain guy for that matter.
I had been trying to get COVID tested for weeks, Kaiser only tests people who possess signs of the virus and even though certain politicians say otherwise, it’s tough to get tested. Unless you live in a small beach town (Bolinas) where a wealthy resident buys 1,845 tests for the entire community (100% negative results).
My school counselor Tracy who is awesome and always sending little tidbits of encouragement texted the staff on Monday that testing was available to all residents of Sonoma County. I immediately called the number (1-888-634-1123), it was 3:00 and thankfully I had papers to grade while I waited. At 4:10 I finally get through to Barry who explains that I am his first registration so if I could be patient that would be great. I explain that as a high school teacher I am well versed in being patient while people learn. Especially now when distance learning requires teachers to greatly expand their toolboxes.
He asks questions including “Which of the 6 California genders do I identify with.” I ask what the six are and he explains: Male, Female, Lesbian, Gay, Trans and Other. I want to get into a gender discussion (especially why Lesbian is different than Gay?!?) but I’m already an hour and a half in and I have scheduled nothing so I say Male and move on.
He explains that LHI (Logistics Health Incorporated) contracted with California two weeks ago to do the testing. The goal is to test anyone who wants it. Great, should have happened long ago but great it’s happening now. He also says a site will soon open up in Sonoma.
Testing is the key to beating this thing. Scientific results will give us clarity during the confusion. We should be testing everyone period, and if you’re thinking right now that you should get tested then go to LHI.care and register. I’ll wait; it’s much easier to do it online as I learned.
4:49 Barry has had me on hold three times and even my teacher patience is waning. He says he has run into some hiccups and even though I have an ID number that has been texted to my phone, I have yet to register for an actual test. At 6:02, he explains the hiccups are not going to allow me or anyone else to register until they can work them out. Arrggghhh.
I take a break for a couple games of solitaire and log in to LHI care at 6:44. By 6:47 I have a test scheduled for Tuesday between 4 and 5 in San Rafael. Go figure.
3:45 Tuesday: I can’t find the test site, as it is an old West America Bank repurposed for this purpose. I am looking for a mass of people but when I pull in there are only two others in line. Both elderly females who I chat up and determine have the same motivation as me for testing. I ask the nurse at the entrance if I can film inside and he says no, the state does not allow it.
“Can I set up the money shot of the swab going into my brain?” I ask.
“No, and it doesn’t go into your brain.” He answers through his double mask and face shield, no longer amused at my questions.
I wait my turn on the duct tape numbers on the floor, everyone is very serious inside, they give me some paperwork, a little vial and a packaged swab. I sit at a table and the nurse asks me to please blow my nose. I try and throw the used Kleenex away and she explains that I have to take it with me.
“Please pull your mask down so it just covers your mouth, now tilt your head back, good.” I’ve seen all the memes; I know what’s coming. The swab entering my left nostril is fine but the turning and scraping takes me off guard. The nose is usually an exit not an entrance and I am pretty sure that I am being swabbed where no swab has gone before. It’s over in a second and a nurse who thanks me for coming in walks me out of the bank.
I get to my car and try and do the selfie video but my motivation is gone, pulled out of my nose by a masked stranger in a bank. There are still only three people in line, which I find curious. I drive up the road to Costco (the real reason I signed up to be tested in San Rafael) and am rewarded with a fresh 30-roll pack of toilet paper that makes me feel rich.
Strange times these. Get tested. Knowledge is power.