The novel coronavirus has changed our lives in so many ways. From no more travel, to celebrating holidays without family, to job losses and business downturns. It has had an awful effect on all of us.
I was thinking about it the other day and the thought occurred to me that this is the first disease that asks us to make moral decisions.
COVID-19 asks us to wear masks, not necessarily to protect ourselves but to protect others. Nobody likes masks. They’re hot, it’s harder to breathe and they fog up my glasses. But I’m wearing them when I enter a public space.
COVID-19 also asks us to consider not going to work if we feel a bit ill. Now health professionals have been telling us this for years, but did we really listen? No. It is a long held tradition, especially in North America, that those who go to work no matter what are to be admired. They are toughing it out for the good of the company. They are go-getters.
And who really has enough sick days to take a day off every time you’re under the weather?
But that is what COVID-19 asks us to do. Assess our health and make the call. We cannot take the risk that the sore throat, or cough, isn’t the virus that has changed all our lives.
I had to do it myself this week. I began feeling ill on Monday and by Tuesday morning I knew I couldn’t go in to work. However, I also knew that I wouldn’t be able to go back to work without a COVID-19 test.
And thus I entered the system.
Let me first say that the test itself is not that bad. Yes, they do put a very thin Q-tip like swab up your nose, but they don’t drive it right into your brain as some may have recounted. It’s about ten seconds of mild discomfort, a little sting — less than a needle. I also picked up a pro tip (at a distance) from a gentleman leaving the testing facility as I was going in. Continue to breathe slowly through your nose, he said. I followed his advice and found it sound.
And the staff at the Public Health Unit in Cranbrook, where testing is conducted, could not be more professional and helpful. Even the parking is free. On the grounds of East Kootenay Regional! I know!
To get to the point of the test, you must call the 811 health line. I was told I should get tested.
They gave me the number of the lab. I called and left a message and about an hour later I got a call back. I spoke to a nurse, ran through my symptoms and was given an appointment for that afternoon.
You are given the option to sign up for a text message for results, which I did, and I received a ‘negative’ text less than 48 hours later. Very efficient. I did miss three days of work, but it could have been a lot longer. On Vancouver Island my sister had to wait four days to get an appointment for a test, and then wait for results.
And certainly my colleagues at work are relieved to know that they have not been exposed.
So all in all, it was a fairly positive experience. With no positive result, thankfully.