Getting Tested Wasn’t So Easy

I had a high fever for 4-5 days as I laid in bed, at night having serious body sweats. I had occasional body aches and some fatigue. I had this very weird taste in my mouth that I just couldn’t get rid of (it was the worst when drinking water). I also was starting to have a cough. This came on much later. I strongly suspected that I had the coronavirus but wasn’t 100% sure. Who did I come in contact with? How could I trace my whereabouts and pinpoint who had given this to me?

This was two months ago. I had called my doctor and the nurse at the front desk adamantly stated that my doctor wouldn’t see me with the symptoms that I had. She gave me the number to the NY State Department of Health hotline. What did they say? They told me to go see my doctor!

What the hell?

This was during a time when it was widely stated that tests would be available for everyone. Here I am in New York, THE hotbed of Covid-19 and I could not get tested for the life of me. There were moments in the middle of the night when I laid awake, hoping and praying that it wouldn’t get worse. I was upset that testing depended on the zip code that you lived in. A friend of mine who lived out of state, could not believe the difficulty I was experiencing in getting tested. It was frustrating trying to explain that it wasn’t as simple as going to your doctor, asking for a test and getting tested. If you’re a person of color, your access to testing is exponentially worse. This is a fact. Don’t believe me, a 30-year old middle school teacher in Brooklyn was denied testing TWICE and ultimately died of the coronavirus.

Thank God that in my case, I didn’t get worse. Several days later when my strength returned, I went to the local urgent care clinic. The place was barren. It was late at night.

I had it on good authority that I would surely get tested at this site. After providing my information on a tablet (I tried to be very careful) and waiting several minutes, I was finally seen. The doctor came in the room wearing the full pandemic gear, face shield and all. He tested me out taking some vitals and told me I would be okay. When I asked if I could have a test, he told me that I did not meet the criteria. Really?!

He prescribed some medication and a short while later, I was on my way home very dissatisfied. It was a complete waste of time and I was $50 lighter in my pockets.

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