I scheduled a COVID test for 8 am. Let me explain, I am not getting a COVID test because I am feeling ill, it is just as a precaution before my scheduled colonoscopy next week. The doctor’s office instructed that it was mandatory that I submit my negative COVID test result and be in quarantine until my procedure.
COVID test appointments were offered in Stony Brook (Suffolk County NY) or at Jones Beach (Nassau County NY). I live in between, so I selected the beach and the beautiful drive. Who does not love a summer day at the waterfront?
Driving south on the Meadowbrook Parkway to my test, I approached the pointy pencil water tower indicating that I arrived at Jones Beach and was directed by a blinking COVID TEST sign to the West End exit, as the waves crashed nearby.
I witnessed a seagull dropping his selected crab snack onto the pavement to break its shell right near my car. I resisted the urge to stop and grab my camera and nervously took a sip of tea from my travel mug.
Upon arrival at the center, I discovered that I was now located in the same place as the theater’s bag search/security check area. I had been to Jones Beach concerts many times before. Usually, upon arrival at this spot, I am much more excited, emptying my pockets out, unzipping my bag, and holding up my concert tickets for another 80’s or country music show; but not today.
On this visit, I was alone in my car (as requested) and I kept my vehicle windows rolled up (as instructed), while the workers confirmed my appointment, checked me in, and reviewed my identification. Luckily for me, there were not too many cars ahead of me in line. I held my license up against my window and yelled to answers to the questions, trying my hardest to fight the urge to roll down the window and speak at a polite decibel level.
I became apprehensive because as a safety professional, I knew that the test could make me gag and I was dreading the procedure as my car inched closer and closer to tents and tables.
Eventually, I pulled up to the last table, where I observed the person who was donning the most personal protective equipment and I realized that it was now my turn. The tester gave me both a postcard of information and a tissue and requested that I blow my nose.
Next, the tester asked that I stare straight ahead and suddenly the long swab was up my nose and felt as if it was also inside of my head. My first thought was, it does not hurt. Then, the tester wiggled the swab around as I was afraid to breathe or move. At the same time, I attempted desperately through ESP to inform the tester, REMOVE THE SWAB NOW.
Once the test had finished, I felt immediate relief, and suddenly I was done, after all of the waiting. My eye (on that one side of my face) teared up uncontrollably as I drove away from the testing center.
I was appreciative of all the (essential!!) employees at the testing location. It was a hot day for them to be outside and standing in a scorching parking lot.
The overall experience was unpleasant, but I am sure it is much more difficult if you are not feeling well or the waiting time is even longer.
Heading home I chose to go the long way back home via scenic Ocean Parkway. I cranked up the tunes, admired the waterfront views, watched some bunnies eating grass on the roadside, as various shorebirds soared overhead, all while trying way too hard to relax.
Thank goodness I know myself well enough to have chosen the park testing location as well as to select the shoreline drive, so I could unwind with nature and finally move on with my day.