Well me, Mr Points of Sue and our eldest son had to book a Covid test today as we have all been feeling unwell. It was long and laborious to actually book the thing to start with over the internet, and I can quite understand why some older people could get quite confused. It actually only had one slot available in the area it give me a 1330 to 1400hrs slot at 1333hrs…..not very helpful and obviously I couldn’t get there for that time so it informed me to try again tonight if necessary. I managed to re-enter everything and it gave me a slot which was quite a drive out to actually get to the testing station …. all in all not very helpful and definitely not user friendly.
Anyway went through the Gov website and then printed off all the articles and into the car we went.
We had to take with us tissues and hand gel and of course the obligatory mask.
We duly arrived at the testing station to be met by some young people who were correctly PPE’d and holding up signs as you are not allowed to open your window. They were easy enough to understand and after we had had our number confirmed we were directed elsewhere. They double checked that there were 3 of us and with the quick wind down of the window, three black bags were thrown in the back window.
Another person holding up a sign asking us to ring a mobile and then the confusion began. They had written on black bags the letters D, P and BP and it took us a while to actually see it and realise it meant passenger, driver and back passenger. This is where it would be helpful if there was actually a way of seeing the letters without the massive confusion setting in as honestly we couldn’t see anything.
We were stuck in a car with the windows very fastly steaming up trying to talk to a chap who was wearing a mask, and where we were asked to wear a mask and it was difficult to talk and understand. Thankfully my son has better eyesight than me and his dad and we finally got the right testing kit.
Then, we were told to open the bags, read the instructions and then put the hazard lights on when finished.
By this point the stress levels were hitting higher than average marks…..
On opening the bag we had a further bag which we had to put to one side, a swab, a padded tissue and a vial with liquid in it.
The bags were not numbered, not listed with any means of identification and it was just a case of trial and error and poor old Mr Points of Sue who is not feeling a 100% was getting more and more stressed out as being unwell can do that to you.
The upshot was that this swab has to hit the back of your tonsils and it makes you have that gagging feeling. Mr Points of Sue was really struggling with that as anything like that sets him off again and he will cough, cough and more cough. That was holding it there for 10 seconds and it seems so long especially when you are trying not to throw up. Then we have to take the swab and up the nose it goes for another 15 seconds.
Then there is the putting the swab into the vial and into a bag. It says bag. It does not say which bag and you have to kind of guess and then into the bio hazard bag which you cannot shut. Then on went the hazard lights and up pops a young person happy to help. So with regards to the staff wanting to help I do give them 9/10 as the young man who dealt with us was very patient.
The bags were electronically added to the system by shoving them at the window, and only after wiping the window down from the condensation and then this grabber appeared through the window to take the bags, after we were allowed to close them.
I am not knocking the system but it can be quite stressful when you are unwell and trying to comply whilst stuck in a very small space, and it would help if the bags were labelled A and B for use with the swab and the actual black bag had lettering on it that is easy to see, especially as we had gotten there in the dark. If not for our son we would have struggled as we are both glasses wearers and with the steaming up of the car, and the steaming up of the glasses with the masks on it can make it very difficult to see anything to be honest.
The people there were very polite and I have no issues with the way they did their job. They were efficient and very helpful over the phone and it is this actual testing that has made it hit home just how this pandemic has robbed us of the one thing we cherish the most….human contact. That is what makes us who we are and to be robbed of it makes the whole process seem so inhuman in a way.
There is now the wait to see whether it comes back positive or negative. I am quite surprised at how much I am not worrying as the way I look at it, I either have it and will deal with it then or I haven’t got it. I have done the most important part and informed everyone who we have spoken too. It wasn’t a lot of ringing….just my daughter…..but waiting here I come.
The thing that struck me was how young the testers were and I did not see any medical staff but it was efficiently run but the bags need labelling differently and so do the way they label the test kits themselves, and maybe opening up more testing centres would help as not everyone has access to a car and having to travel miles when you are under the weather is never a happy thing to do.