Getting sick and getting tested for COVID-19

– getting tested

This morning – and by “morning” I mean 4:00 am – I woke up with a raging sore throat. It had been bugging me in a mild-to-annoying fashion for a couple of days but then hit me full-force in Saturday’s early hours.

Normally, I would ride out something like that. But 2020’s hyper-careful medical protocols kicked in and I did two things: First, I called out from my Saturday small-group (as per church guidelines), then I headed for the walk-in clinic to check things out.

The Swab:

You have to know something about me. Not only am I freakishly sensitive to pain, but I seriously cannot tolerate anything intrusive. So good luck going in for a throat culture, or getting a nose swab more than a centimeter or two up a reluctant nostril.

Just my luck they wanted both. The unfortunate nurse had to go in twice for the throat, and she may well have scored some brain tissue when mining for COVID (twice, BTW, once each side).

The good news is that I tested negative for both. No Strep, no COVID. And, best of all, I added one more good number to help keep North Carolina’s test-to-positive ratio moving in the right direction. Currently North Carolina is trending slightly down at 6.6%, with Wake County averaging a fairly steady 4%.

I was pitiful. Coughing, sputtering, waving my arms, tears running down my cheeks. Of course it was a series of reflexive responses, completely outside my control. But I still apologized profusely to the nurse, Janet, who was both patient and understanding.

Now I get to suck analgesic throat lozenges, swallow ibuprofen, and wait for my throat to stop hurting.

Wear a Mask!

I have to tell you it all added up to a good reminder and affirmation that my choice to wear a mask in public is a good and necessary precaution. First, this is what they require at the doctor’s office; they are highly trained and very intelligent medical professionals – they have no reason to make stuff up. Then the realization that if I had tested positive I would have been potentially shedding particles of COVID into the air well before I checked in at the clinic.

The science is well documented: wearing a mask and social distancing is the best we can do to show respect and consideration for our brothers and sisters, who are also trying to navigate safely through this morass.

– at the clinic today…

Then – and I have to say this – the famous politician who answered a COVID question with, “I don’t remember if I got a test or not,” evidently didn’t have nurse Janet jam a Q-tip deep into his lower brain! Or maybe he didn’t notice because it was Q-anonymous?

Peace y’all. Stay safe, care about others, and stay humble – DEREK


  1. Your description of the swab that samples brain matter sounds exactly the way our son Jeff described getting tested a month ago in Columbus. He too was negative. I was exposed Oct. 1st and was told to quarantine for 14 days. I didn’t contract Covid, but the idea that I might become ill was frightening. Doubly concerning was the idea that I might have unknowingly exposed friends in their 80’s. I can’t imagine how I would feel if by my cavalier behavior someone caught the virus and became seriously ill or worse. I believe in mask wearing!! Glad you don’t have the virus. Hope you feel better soon.


  2. Prayers that you feel better soon. THANK YOU for the reminder about the importance of wearing a mask & social distancing. I had a procedure this week (not related to Covid) and want to thank all the medical professionals everywhere. They help us at our worst with no judgement. I am SO GRATEFUL for the doctors & nurses that have ever cared for me.


  3. This is good. I have been dealing with sinus allergies real bad the last two weeks and so I’ve limited my outings, and when I did it was with a mask. I also have opted out of going to church because even though it was sinuses I still didn’t want to go when I was feeling yucky and sneezing every five minutes. Hoping and praying you feel better friend!


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