[Tripping On…] COVID-19 Testing Confusion

As of late August, I’ve had two COVID-19 tests. One was an at-home nasal swab test, which came back negative, and one was a deeper nasal swab test at a hospital a few days before my spine surgery, which came back negative? I’m not sure. The results I found when I logged in to see my records gave me cryptic information. They said they’d call if I had COVID-19, so I guess I don’t, then?

I’ll paste the test results below with only a number changed to #####:

COVID-19 – Details

Study Result
The following orders were created for panel order SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).
Procedure Abnormality Status
——— ———– ——
2019-Novel Coronavirus Di…[#####] Normal Final result

Please view results for these tests on the individual orders.

Component Results
There is no component information for this result.

Result Status: Final result

From my understanding, if COVID-19is not present, then one doesn’t have it…?

This is one problem I have with the healthcare system. It might not be specific to America, but it certainly has been a theme I’ve noticed: the amount of red tape necessary to run a hospital leads to situations like this where the patient receives a test result with vague information to interpret at best. I’m sure that for a healthcare provider, they can easily translate this information into a more definitive answer, but would it hurt them to write something at the top stating “Results Status: Negative for COVID-19” or something like that?

COVID-19 is still an on-going, unsolved, worldwide problem.

Yesterday, I went to the hospital for my appointment. 8:50am. What they’ve been doing at the hospital during the weekdays is keeping someone posted at their Information booth to do temperature checks with a little device that one could pick up from the drug store. If you don’t have a temperature, you’re free to go into the hospital. I suppose that only catches the symptomatic carriers of COVID-19, which might be enough to keep our economy going as those who can research the disease while the rest of us try to return to some degree of normalcy.

On the weekends, COVID-19, along with the Information desk, takes a break, apparently.

So I go into the COVID-19 testing office and they ask if I did the temperature check. I said no. [I didn’t say: “what’s the point, because I’m getting the check right here?”] I was told to get a temperature check. So I did. When I returned, there was enough time for me to suggest that they include signage stating that COVID-19 temperature checks are required prior to getting COVID-19 nasal checks. The receptionist said that they would forward that suggestion along to their manager. At least two others, similarly, had to get their temperatures checked in the time I was there, between my COVID-19 check and my bloodwork.

This is an example of red tape not being applied thoroughly enough.

Once the red tape signage would be applied to their office and spaces outside it, that receptionist would not need to tell anyone to get a COVID-19 temperature check, other than those who had not read this hypothetical sign. It’s funny, too, because the only confirmation that I had done the temperature check was a cheap blue name tag where someone writes the date and places a sticker on it. Given enough resourcefulness, one could hack that system and get in without getting a temperature check.

Now, I’m a firm believer that we need to be careful in regards to COVID-19.

We know enough about it to know that it’s not spread through digital interaction or through basic sanitation, so we can still proceed with living our lives, but I believe our former lives were full of enough hubris to partially be responsible for this. If we had practiced basic and thorough sanitation before, then it wouldn’t be such a big deal now. So I can see the need for doing basic checks. Pre-COVID-19, I was only asked if I had been outside the country. Now, I’m asked that along with if I have had any symptoms. I always say no, and I try not to scoff at these people asking these questions, because I know they’re doing their best.

I just would rather say “I’ve been tested twice and I’m careful, so I’m fine.”

The problem with that is that I am subconsciously trying to reduce my overall concern of COVID-19 so I can operate in such capacities as going to a hospital for errands. How many people have had COVID-19 that were similarly almost impatient, lied about their symptoms, and passed through only to spread this deadly coronavirus that seems to have so many variants? It’s a volatile topic with many wrong answers and only a few right answers. We should take this seriously. We shouldn’t needlessly abstract the problem through layers of red tape. Though hospitals and other facilities may feel safe with that red tape barricading them from COVID-19, done ineffectively, and I, too, will begin to scoff at the sorts of barriers set in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

How long will it be until I get COVID-19?

I’ve been on long-term medical leave and have had limited contact with only certain people, so I’ve been fine, but what happens when my medical leave ends and I return to my physical office? My company sends out emails explaining when people test positive for COVID-19, but how many people test? How many people go to work that have COVID-19 but are asymptomatic? We can’t fully protect ourselves unless we can do what we can to remain safe first. Will we need a worldwide vaccine given to everyone? When I go to a concert next, will they have a temperature scanner and a metal detector? I don’t feel overly anxious about this, at least now that we’re nearly six months into this. We seem to know the basics of COVID-19.

Now if we could do tests more often with clear results, that’d be even nicer.[]

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal and professional experiences.
Inspirations: This will be published two months after I write this, so maybe there will be more efficient ways of monitoring this, but considering the temperature check thing was done nearly two months ago when I went to the ER, I think that’s probably going to be there in some capacity until there’s something more thorough.
Related: Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.
Picture: Template
Written On: 2020 August 30 [12:05pm to 12:32pm]
Last Edited: 2020 August 30 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.