It’s just an irritated throat…or is it?
Before COVID, it wasn’t anxiety-causing when I was fighting early signs of an immune challenge, whether it was the sniffles, a tickly throat, or feeling a bit low on energy. Now? if anyone has a cough or anything, it makes people think twice, or wonder.
Earlier this summer, after eating a round of spicy jerk patties, I figured it was all of the “yeet hay”: the mix of the oil, sodium, spice, and unhealthy processed food and spice that got to my throat, and perhaps I breathed in fine particles of sawdust when I was helping j.w with cutting the deck boards. I suddenly found myself constantly thirsty even after gulping water and my throat just felt “off”, though a honibe elderberry lozenge would help it temporarily. It wasn’t really sore or ticklish, but just off. Knowing that I’d likely fail pre-screen questions, I decided to skip a few social meetings, watch church online, and then finally, I decided I should get a COVID test, as my sister-in-law was getting married the following week, and I didn’t want to disrupt those plans, or risk getting people sick there.
I’ve heard third-hand how the nasal swab is painfully uncomfortable, and some have even said that it feels like it’s going into your brain, so I had been prolonging and delaying the procedure until I felt like I couldn’t put it off anymore. The city had turned an old Greyhound bus terminal into a drive-thru testing centre, and after snaking through the turns, I must say that it is certainly a great use of idle space! Now, with the big circular fans, nurses in full PPE, and white tents, it looks like some sort of alien lab from a sci-fi movie. It’s a bit of a mystery when you first go in: the entrance has a security attendant, then you drive into a bay, queuing up like car wash. At that point, you think, oh, it’s not a long line at all. Until you later realize that you have to drive through three bays before you actually get tested: the first, you fill out a form with a golf pencil; the second, they collect the form; and then finally at the third, they conduct the swab.
When it was my turn to get swabbed, the nurse (?) was kind enough to tell me what to expect and explained that I needed to pull my mask so that my nose was exposed but keep my mouth covered. The swab wasn’t as painful or uncomfortable as I expected (Pap smears are worse—TMI but yes, that’s what it reminded me of); it bothered me more afterwards than during the swab itself as it felt akin to the effects of having choked on water (up the nose). All in all, it took about 40ish mins from when I pulled in to when it was done; I’m not sure how helpful or useful it was to pre-book an appointment online, as they never verified that I had an appointment in the first place. Now that I’ve done it once, it was a relatively easy process that I don’t have to drag my feet and put off next time. I was a bit anxious when waiting to see the results, and sure enough, around the 24-hour mark, I saw the green clear status. Phewf! I was now clear to go into work, take Little Brother to the in-person fire safety program, and attend the wedding!
Thankful that it wasn’t COVID, but why was my throat irritated? The fire safety program leader suggested that perhaps it was environmental allergies or something that we don’t normally think of. Shortly after, I saw a comment in our neighbourhood Facebook group that mentioned that the construction nearby had affected the life span of their furnace filters and they were finding that they needed to change it more. That prompted me to check our furnace filters and sure enough, they were quite clogged! Whether it was psychological or really because of the clogged filter, it cleared up shortly after a new one was put in. Now, while the COVID test wasn’t as bad as I thought, I still don’t really want to go in again or take the children through it—we just need to manage to stay healthy during the school year and we won’t have to take a COVID test again.