Yep, I worked in the COVID tent on Monday. What is the COVID tent you might be wondering? Well, it’s a freestanding tent that people come to in order to be tested to see if they have COVID-19. And on Memorial Day, I spent that day in that tent, and in case you are curious, I thought I would share my experience with you.
First Things First – The Test
To start, let me tell you about the test, it’s not pleasant. If you are going to get a COVID test, let me share with you what you will be experiencing.
This is what a test looks like. It’s a collection tube to put the swab in. Oh the swab. This is the not so nice part. Taking a very long Q-Tip and putting it up your nose. Do you see the little red marks on the swab? That is how far the swab needs to go back into the nose.
That’s pretty far right? Yes, it is. And it’s not pleasant at all. I made people gag, wince, and I even gave a couple of them a bloody nose. Not intentionally, but it happened. And the newest testing process requires you to put the swab in both nares (nostrils) and rub it around for 15 seconds in each nostril.
Yeah, not pleasant.
Then you wait to hear back from the testing center anywhere from 24 to 48 hours to find out if you are negative or positive.
Most of the people we tested for the day were not sick and were being tested for an upcoming surgery.
But a few of the people had an earlier positive test, and they were being retested. A few others were sick with fevers, but they didn’t know if they had COVID-19. I don’t know if they had it either. But every person I came into contact with, I assumed they had it. And took precautions, the same that I do on a daily basis.
From a patient perspective, I think it can be pretty intimidating to be brought into a tent with no windows, so you can’t see what is going on inside.
But the tent is set up very efficiently, and for me, it’s pretty cool. It’s like a mini clinic with everything I need to do my job.
A Humbling Experience
I have to say, it was very humbling to come to work in the tent for the day. The people I met were so kind, even though some of them were afraid, and others didn’t feel good. Even though I shoved a giant Q-Tip up their nose (twice) each one of them thanked me and told me thank you so much for doing what you do. They were genuinely grateful, and kind.
This is why I became a nurse, to help people, and to make a difference for them. To treat someone with kindness when they aren’t feeling well, and show them that someone does care. This is why I love my job. I truly love what I do.
Fear Not the COVID Tent
So if you have to be tested for COVID, and you have to go to a tent like the one I was in, fear not. Inside may be a little overwhelming and scary, but the people inside are there to help you, and hopefully give you some peace of mind.
And one day when this is all behind us, we can get back to normal. It will happen, it just might be awhile before it does. In the meantime, don’t live in fear. Take precautions to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy. And most of all find your joy, in everything that you do.