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Things I've Learned From My Positive Covid19 Test

By now most of us know someone who has been affected by the COVID-19 virus. Everyone who's been affected, please stand up...you get me, right?

Well, now I can count myself and my work associates part of the affected, sorry friends! Each morning at the office we take our temperatures, and mine came back that morning a few weeks ago at a 99 degrees. Working with industries and the school systems, I got nervous! I decided to cancel my afternoon appointments and schedule a rapid COVID test.

There is only one place in town that offers the rapid test, so it's a hot commodity and I couldn't get in until the next day. The process was simple, on the day of your appointment you will get a telemedicine call before lunch, and do a drive through swab in the afternoon. The results are given that day before 7 pm. I got a call by around 3 pm that I had a positive test, the only advice they gave was to quarantine for 14 days (which according to the CDC has changed, so look that up for recommendations.)

Knowing that I had possibly been with people longer than the recommended times (closer than 6 feet for longer than 15 minutes) I started making phone calls. The contagious time is 48 hours from the onset of symptoms, so my list wasn't too long, but the phone calls weren't fun to make! Everyone, excluding one person, was kind and gracious knowing that this is our world now. I did feel responsible for the people that had to quarantine because of me, which is a hard feeling to shake, but choose to have grace for myself as well.

Although the rapid test is being claimed to be a 98% accuracy rating, further research shows that there are questions with that rating. Armed with this knowledge, I called our health department to get a more accurate test. Luckily, I got a test scheduled for the next day, which is much more quickly than most. However, test results could be 5-7 days after that.

Working from home is an option for my job, so I didn't miss a beat there. In fact it was nice to be able to work on some larger projects that required the dedication of quiet rather than a busy office environment. Not all are that lucky, and not all employers have quarantine time set up for their employees (find out your rights to being paid if you're required to quarantine, it's worth knowing.)

Exactly 7 days later, I got the call that my more accurate test results were negative. Turns out I never had COVID-19, and it only took 9 days of shutting down my life, and the lives of those who also had been in contact with me. How frustrating.

It has taken me a while to process through this, sometimes our experiences affect us in ways we didn't expect. The guilt of those I came into contact with and how it made their lives harder, the frustration of the one person who chose to be ugly to me about getting a positive test and how it affected their life, the fear of how this virus might effect my health or the health of those around me.

The things I'd do differently are: wait for real symptoms. I figured getting a test would give me the ok to continue going about my life as normal. Unfortunately the accuracy of the rapid test makes that untrue for some people. The lab overload makes the more accurate test harder to wait for if there are no real symptoms anyways. Best course of action, in my opinion, is to quarantine yourself if you feel like you were exposed or have a symptom and make sure that you're safe before spreading it to people.

Keep your meetings short or virtual, and social distance or wear a mask. Cross pollination can expose you or others to this disruptive virus.

Above all else, be kind. Thinking of others in this new state of the world is the kindest and most human thing you can choose. The Japanese culture begins with this salute to others: "The kindness that we show others will return to us."