“Smile, breathe and go slowly.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Per my last post regarding mental health care during the Corona, I thought I’d share this personal experience…
I got tested for Covid-19 today finally, after a month of my ‘extreme’ lockdown. I will know results in 3-5 days.
I have a strong feeling my symptoms are the result of ‘something else’…But I might be “refreshing the inbox” in my gmail account more often the next few days…
The journalist/anthropologist in me feels inclined to offer a few thoughts “briefly”…
For the past three nights I couldn’t sleep until around 6 am. My breathing problems have been getting worse lately, and I was showing multiple symptoms for a while now. But despite the trepidation, I got up in time today and mustered up some energy/‘courage’, put on a home-made mask, and head out the door to the testing place before it closed at 1:30 pm. According to the instructions and hours of operation, this would have been my last chance for this free testing, otherwise I would have to call again. And last time I waited for about 10 days to get my testing location. I was not sure about other locations or testing procedures in the area.
Here is the number for the DC Department of Health which is providing free testing for those in the area: (855)-363-0333. Call Monday-Friday from 9AM-4PM.
Being in lockdown for a month, and torturing myself with news on politics and corona virus, number of cases and deaths, (now nearing 40,000 ☹ in the US), to drive from Alexandria, VA to South East, Washington, DC (approximately 19 minutes) to the testing site at United Medical Center seemed quite a long distance to me. Only essential travel is allowed right now, so this felt like a nice outing. Lol…sigh… Even as I’m already accustomed to “PhD quarantining,” the lockdown in one place can get suffocating. It’s been rough, but I can only imagine how it’s like for others in more difficult situations.
And getting into “Warrior mode,” recalling some of my “Hostile Environment Awareness Training” I received a while ago, and not being caught up in the local news to see what life is like 20 minutes away, I may have accidentally convinced myself to expect to drive into the city, like that within the cinematic epic moment in the Quiet Place 2 trailer, when Emily Blunt drives into the monster infested town and gets stuck behind a Bus moving backwards… then she pulls in reverse as the monster crawls out from the back of the bus…
Yeah, that didn’t happen this time thankfully, and I didn’t see any monsters. Someone did ram their car door into my vehicle, while I was sitting in it, in the parking lot at UMC, (don’t you hate it when that happens), but otherwise it was more civil than my experience watching people fight over Lysol in Walmart a few weeks ago.
As clearly indicative, I admit the idea of the possibility of infection, and discomfort of the anticipated invasive procedure created further anxiety…
For me, any hospital type scene always feels like “a conflict zone” of some sort, from the imagination at least, so it’s clear I could never be that kind of “doctor.” But tents were set up outside of the Medical Center instead, in the front, with orange cones surrounding the building and the entire lot. Several workers were present with their masks and shields. It was well organized with the necessary protocols in place…only two others came to get tested the same time as me so not too many people were around, which was helpful for me. But I wonder how many more could actually benefit from this if it was this slow…
And Man…. they really stuck that swab up….LOL.. I had no idea anything could go up that far. 🙂 It made me tear up a bit…(the selfie featured below is after the test) and the discomfort and a little pain lasted for a good three hours for me. It still feels a bit “sore” right now even. I am not sure if anyone has been able to describe it properly… But, what an unusual feeling!
And it was a small bit of “empowerment” when the testing site workers cheered and wished me good health, after the test…I guess it must have been obvious I was nervous! I didn’t get a lolly-pop or sticker :), but they were all really nice and supportive! 😊 May God reward them for their service and efforts!
I hope I will test negative, and I am sure the symptoms may be connected to my Asthma and anxiety acting up, but I will move forward as if I’ve tested positive, as we all should. Because nothing changes, unless symptoms get more severe, on the need to stay home, stay quarantined, and adopt the extreme cautions into our “coronapocalyspe” lifestyle now and possibly for a long time..
If anything could come from this “COVID-19 Scare” for me, beyond the extra precautions and preventative measures, I guess it can console “the anxious mind” with a small but sometimes necessary reminder, that there may be people who do care for you, and are rooting for your “survival”, as I received several messages of support from friends when I mentioned the need to go testing, and perhaps it can help reverse the broken GPS system in the brain or reroute the neural pathways towards a more sustain-ably positive direction.
It may seem like a small thing for many, but as someone who struggles with depression and anxiety, I am grateful. And whatever result emerges, it may just help a little to know amid all the clouds of uncertainty. And perhaps lead to a decrease in anxiety in some way for the normally anxious individual, who’s anxieties may have multiplied ten-fold, as expected with a deadly global pandemic.
My wise little sister who advised me to go and get tested, told me the other day, everyone should be getting tested, if there is an opportunity. Unfortunately, the opportunity doesn’t come for everyone and that’s very sad.
I felt this before the pandemic, during my “PHD quarantine life,” but I guess it’s less pathetic now during “coronapocalypse” to say that I could really go for that Good-Will-Hunting-“It’s not your fault, It’s not your fault”-Robin Williams- Hug” right now. 😊
But as Harvard Research Scientists predict, I may have to wait until 2022 for that sort of embrace… ☹
Interestingly 2022 is my 11-year deadline for me to complete this PHD. 😊 Godwilling it will happen before then, preferably this year!!!
With that, I salute you, my fellow warriors, and head back to grind…
Much appreciation to those who gave their sister a little encouragement, prayers and care. It really helps.
May we all continue to be there for each other, in whatever ways we can, as we get through this difficult time.
Please continue to stay safe, present and careful!
with warmth, love, peace, and blessings,
“What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.” – Plutarch