“Number four: gently insert the entire tip of the swab inside your nose and rub the wall of your nostril five times.” We had spread out the twelve-part instructions for our Covid test kits on the bathroom counter and were reading the steps as we went along. As I insert the cotton swab into my nose, it feels like it is scraping me raw. I wince in pain at the tenderness and itchy feeling. I suppress a sneeze and cough so that I can swab for the required fifteen seconds, which seems like forever. Then I squint and tolerate the same itchy attack on my other nostril. My husband reads, “Remove the swab and place into the extraction buffer tube. The results should be read in fifteen minutes.” We set the timer for fifteen minutes to await my fate.
We trade places as I watch my husband do his test. I see his face scrunch up like mine did from the sensitivity to the cotton swab. I sit on my bed and have time to think about how we got here. A week ago, a woman on his work crew helped my husband pick out his diving gear and put on his wetsuit. Four days later she contracted Covid from her child. A few days after that my husband got cold symptoms and was fatigued. Then I got it. Yesterday I had a fever and chills and stayed in bed. I wonder, we are triple vaxxed, so if we get it, will it be a mild case? Maybe, but we are older, so I worry. If we have Covid we would have to change holiday plans and we would have to quarantine.
I know there are people on both sides of the political spectrum in the USA who are against Covid vaccinations. Some of them are left leaning progressives who believe in clean living and some are right leaning conservatives who don’t trust the government. Some people who have been forced to show negative tests are even faking them in order to keep their jobs. I understand that nobody likes being pushed around, but I believe herd immunity is needed in this war. The more of us who get vaccinated, the more we patch up the cracks that this virus can ooze through, in order to attack us again.
My gut tightens, I close my eyes and take a purposeful breath to relax.
“It is time. Wanna have a look?”
I hop up and zip to the bathroom, anxious to check the test. A red mark shows on the control line and the test line is blank.
“Oh, it is negative. Thank God.”
Relief floods through my bones. A few minutes later, my husband’s test is also negative. We both take a long exhale and I feel the warmth of a yellow sun peek through my grey clouds.