For everyone that is afraid of Covid and the Covid test I have something to tell you. More often than not based on the current data (as per all the nurses I spoke to yesterday) and my own experience it’s not that bad! I’m taking you today with me as I go for my Covid-19 test to lift-up the curtain on what it really feels like to get tested if you or someone you know has symptoms/tested positive for the virus. I currently do not have any symptoms, have not been in direct contact with anyone who is positive (as far as I know), and did this to put people’s fear/anxieties to rest about the testing process itself.
I will preface this by pointing out that you should first head over to this site if you’re in Quebec before you get tested. It’s a great resource to figure out which clinics are near you and they now have updated wait times. We went from no testing to now mass testing in only a few months. To me that’s progress. Click here for info if you’re a resident of Quebec.
Getting Tested Step by Step
Sept.25.2020, 3:30 pm I start my walk to the McGill University Health Centre. One thing I love about Montreal is how damn walkable it is when the weather is nice. You can walk this entire city in the span of a couple of hours if you really wanted to. It was the perfect fall day at a balmy 68F (what that translates to in Canada I’m still getting used to after 5 years abroad). I wore my 2 piece suit that I scored vintage shopping in Tijuana, Triangle shades for Mexico City, and a black wool hat.. from China. Stylishly armed for whatever hellish type of line I was sure I would be waiting in to get tested.
3:50 pm I arrive at McGill University Hospital. What a wonder to behold! A series of technicolor lego-looking blocks, metal beams, and glass make up the exterior. This is the happiest looking hospital I’ve ever seen in my life. Large scale metal art structures are scattered around the property and there is a park built right around the entrance ways. Where ironically enough you can find most people lounging while smoking. Welcome to Quebec! The French do not give a fuck. You gotta give it to them though for being so ballsy in the face of a pandemic. To each their very own.
3:55 pm While walking through the park I realize that this a very large hospital with absolutely zero signage indicating where the COVID testing is taking place. I see a train station on my left, a road in the middle, and a hospital on my right. Then I scan the park and amid a newly formed cloud of cigarette smoke from a bench lounging sloth of a human I see a security guard. I flag the nice 5 foot 5 inches if that Dennis Rodman looking man over. He had black skin and blonde tips in his hair which is what reminded me of Rodman in his 90’s hay day (You know, that time he married himself in times square and dressed up as a bride). He proceeds to tell me that it’s his second day on the job and he’s not sure where it is but to go towards the entrance and they can assist me further.
3:59 pm I enter through some green doors that said something about the Cancer ward. Hand sanitizers galore in the lobby and 2 big black female security guards. It’s almost as if they are twins! 6-foot tall Amazonian-like woman speaking in French to each other. They proceed to then give me incorrect directions to where the testing facility is. I exit the door knowing that something was wrong and flag down yet another security guard. This one knew exactly what time it was. His name is Jonathan and he personally escorts me to the testing facility. This beats directions any day! Yay, Canada, your points are going up with me.
4:05 pm I am escorted to the parking lot of the hospital and Thank Jonathan for his service. This is where they can keep people at a social distance in an open-air environment. What I was anticipating to be a 2-hour line was really a 2 person one. Delighted, I was more than happy to take my place and wait. No one was coughing or seemed sick around me, it wasn’t some hectic war-like virus zone. It was very calm, nurses in hazmat suits, and a line up for cars right beside the pedestrian line. If you drive you can now do drive-through testing without ever leaving your vehicle. A nurse comes by your car, sticks a swab up your nose, and your off back into rush hour Montreal traffic exacerbated by construction cones everywhere.
4:08 pm I’m now inside the testing facility room. I give my health care details and contact information to the nice nurse. She has a tough time entering it into the system and this is the part that took the most time. Computers are not really this lady’s jam but she’s short, sweet, and much older than me so I can’t hate. After a mild dispute with her laptop, she gets assisted by another nurse to get my information in the system. Then I’m off to wait my turn to get swabbed. There’s one man in front of me at a 6-foot distance and only one other person inside the facility getting tested. At this point, I’m impressed at how well they are keeping this COVID Congo line of test patients at extremely safe distances from each other and how quickly they are testing. I’m sure this is not the case in other countries right now.. but this is Canada folks, and it feels damn good to be back! How does it go again? Oh… Canada… I digress.. Time for my turn!
4:20 pm I’m seated in an empty area behind a partition. Another friendly nurse comes over to greet me. An Asian lady with a French accent. It still trips me out how French is so deeply engrained in the province. She checks my name on my tag to make sure it’s correct and grabs a long cotton swab. “Look up for me and hold this position for 10 seconds, I’m going to stick this up your nose and it needs to stay there for 10 seconds so don’t move okay?”. Hit me! I replied. The swab goes deep up into my left nostril, which plugs my breathing temporarily. Luckily my deep breathing in Yoga kicks in and I’m able to breath solely out of my right nostril to help ease the discomfort of not being able to move without injuring myself. “3, 2, 1 and your all done! You did great!” the nurse says as I pull up my face mask and high tail it out of there. I thanked the nurse staff as I leave and I wonder why everyone is in such a panic about getting tested in the first place?
All in all, I would have much rather recorded my Podcast yesterday than have to have taken the time out of my day to get tested. However, I did this to not only show you how simple this is in Canada but also, to be on the extra-safe side. I currently share a living space with people. One of their friends tested positive this week for COVID. I had no contact with this person but my roommate did. They do not want to get tested in fear of the hospitals and pain from the test. Instead, they have chosen the self-quarantining option. I did not want to waste any more time under a quarantine (I already had a mandated one for 2 weeks in June upon arriving in Canada Click here for more on that) life is so short and every day I like to give myself a present. That present is to enjoy my life and exercise my freedoms daily. Pandemic/not. We all need to learn how to adapt to this new wave of mental warfare that humans are transmitting faster than COVID purely based on fear.
If you have symptoms and your in an area of the world that is handling this thing well, get tested. Is it uncomfortable? Yes. However, I’ve had bumps of blow 10x worse than the COVID test in my decades of drug use/abuse, and those actually left holes inside my nose (Which is also why I don’t do hard drugs anymore not to glamorize it but to give you perspective). If I have holes in my nasal cavities and the COVID test didn’t hurt me then it’s not painful. It’s just not comfortable and no, it does NOT go all the way up into your brain either. Cool your tits because I also hear this rumor running rampant which scare people off testing. It’s time to calm down when it comes to pain and being uncomfortable and roll with these god damn punches.
We need more people to get tested to better trace and understand the nature of this virus. People need tests so they can live out their lives instead of having to assume they have it and waste weeks isolated indoors with no clear answer. It comes down to numbers and data to crack this code. If you came/come in contact with someone who has COVID and you have no symptoms then just get tested so you can keep living your life to the fullest. That’s only my opinion, it’s up to you how you proceed but it’s based on what the lovely sweethearts of nurses in Montreal all told me during my little adventure in a Hospital parking lot yesterday. Be well folks and don’t become a fear-spreader. Those are way worse than the COVID super-spreaders because those people don’t even know they have it!
About Me: My name is Tiffini Truth and I’m a Metal Artist living in Montreal. I adore writing. Specifically about life, style, and culture. I host the “People Suck Podcast”.
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