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Sleepness night - do I have Covid?

Yesterday evening, the social assistant (who I saw in the morning) called me (left a message) to say that she had tested positive for Coronavirus. I didn't get the message until later in the evening because my phone was on battery so it turned off the WiFi when not in use. It wasn't until I turned it on to check something that it picked up a phone number withheld had left a message of 77 seconds.


This presented a problem, obviously. I couldn't go to work. Was I supposed to isolate now? Call the doctor? What?

I got up at about half four (having barely slept) and went on to the Améli website. This informed me that if one is a "cas contact" (been in contact with somebody who tested positive), then:

  • If you have not been vaccinated, then you must immediately isolate. Blah blah, I didn't read the rest as...
  • If you have been fully vaccinated, then there is no need to isolate but strict barriers should be maintained and it is obligatory to get a test, along with follow-up self-tests.

Now, it's clear that I can't go to work in this state. The last thing I want is to be "that dickhead that turned up when positive". So I looked up the opening hours of the pharmacy in town. They open at 8.30am. I start work at 9am. Not doable, but too bad.

I turned up there for ten past eight. It was lucky that my "don't be late" approach means that I turn up early for things, there was a queue of a dozen people by opening time.

I ducked under the automatic door as it opened, and was first in. A smiley woman waved to me and said hello. I waved back, and turned left to speak to a different woman...the pharmacy-doctor who is joint owner of the pharmacy (it's a family business).

I explained what had happened and asked for a test.
She said "Sorry, antigen tests are by appointment only".

Oh damn! :-(

Then she noticed the vaccination paper that I was holding. I could see her eyes scanning down it, reading it upside down.
"Three times?"
"Tout à fait" (that's the French equivalent of "absolutely").

She gave me a smile and said that she has three people booked for half eight. If I don't mind waiting, she'll make an exception and fit me in.

Oh, damn! :-)

A husband and wife that are the owners of a nearby supermarket. And a young woman (girl?) who I think was speaking Romanian with her father. It was a language with a lot of "dzuh" sounds. I wondered if it was Russian, but they looked more Eastern European than Russian. Which means they're probably from Syria, I know what my guesses are like.
They all went before me. No problems with that.

Then she called me.

I didn't have a PCR test. I had what they call an antigen test. Looking at pictures on Google, this would appear to be a type of lateral flow test.

Now, what happened next is the difference between self-test kits where you stick a q-tip up your nose and swish it around, and a medical professional doing it. It's also likely to be something to make the test more accurate.
She look a long plastic thing, like a thin and bendy q-tip with a tiny little swab on the end, and stuck it into my nose. All maybe fifteen centimetres of it (I didn't measure). I've never had something shoved so far into my nasal passageways and it was quite disagreeable.

This was extracted, and the tip stuck into a little bottle and jiggled around for a few seconds. The test swab thing was then discarded, and the solution in the plastic bottle shaken. A few drops were then placed onto this plastic thing, in a little window, and I was told it will take fifteen minutes.

So I waited. She sorted out the paperwork of the supermarket couple, and then went off to find glasses-girl (the in-store geek) because apparently something wasn't working the way it was supposed to.
She came back and in a surprise, told me that my test was negative, and started taking my information. I wonder if that was so I could get to work sooner?

I now have another paper with barcodes on it, as this is a registered negative test which is a part of the infamous "Passe sanitaire".
As I am vaccinated, I paid nothing. I was also given two self-tests. One is for Saturday, and the other for Monday morning.


To quote Taylor Swift: Are we out of the woods yet? Are we out of the woods yet? Are we out of the woods yet? Are we out of the woods? Are we in the clear yet? Are we in the clear yet? Are we in the clear yet? In the clear yet?

It may be that my test is negative because the virus has not had a sufficient incubation period. That's why the self-tests. I'm guessing that the requirement to immediately test is to catch asymptomatic cases, because I don't think I'll have enough antibodies to trigger the test until 3-4 days after exposure.
So I know that I tested negative. I don't yet know if I really am negative. That's why the two home tests.
They will also need to be used alongside other obvious diagnosis, such as feverish symptoms, an unexplained new cough, sore throat, etc etc.

Monday morning, that's five days after exposure so if I'm positive, it ought to show up.

I really hope it doesn't. But for now, it's business as usual.


Covid home tests
Covid home tests.

Usefully, it is written in English on the back. ☺

Covid home test - instructions
Covid home - instructions.

I'm going to have to have a good rummage in my nostrils with that swab. I'd rather test positive if I am, than appear to be negative because I didn't do it correctly. That being said, it doesn't look particularly onerous. Stick the entire soft tip inside for 1.5cm and rummage around? I think when I was a child random bits of Lego got inserted further (but not as far as the pharmacy woman did it!). ☺


I got to work for just after ten past. I put my stuff in the fridge for lunch and bought myself a little bottle of water in order to tip most of it away, and drop a multivitamin tablet into the rest to make a weird solution that claims to be orange but is unlike anything orange I've ever tasted, whether that be actual oranges or Irn-Bru which is best described as "what the colour orange tastes like" as I'm sure any other description would be invalid/incorrect/impossible.

I then went and got changed, and made it to clock in for 9.21am.
As far as I'm aware, it isn't possible to "work to make up seven hours if you turn up late" because people were abusing this. Maybe this is justifiable? Whatever, I clocked out at normal time. I am 54.7 hours ahead, I'm not going to lose any sleep over twenty one minutes. I've lost enough sleep already...


Of course, since I had a pretty solid "not my fault" excuse for being late, I wasn't holding back on telling the management people. I trust they also recognise that I was conscientious enough to get the test first. Okay, my next-day viral load would likely be too small to make any difference, but you know...

Turns out that somebody overheard me apologising for missing the morning exercise routine that we have on alternate weeks, and she was like "what the hell? I spoke to her too, why didn't she call me?". Even more egregious, this particular person has "health issues" that mean it was rather remiss of the social worker not to notify. Another person going to the pharmacy for a test. I hope it's negative too.


Talking about this with various people, it seems that a worrying number of the employees are unvaccinated.



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Steve Drain, 13th January 2022, 23:39
I had to visit the hospital today for a routine check and that meant on Tuesday I had to have a PCR test. The site for this is a 25 min drive out of town, behind a farm shop car park. But you can only EXIT through the car park and to get in is a long and torturous drive through an industrial estate. This is actually thought through as a one-way system, but it feels weird. 
More to the point, the sampling is much more thorough than those I have had before. That long stick not only goes right to the back of both nostrils it also swabs both cheeks, the gums, under the tongue and then right down the throat. It is not at all pleasant, but brief. My test was negative.

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