Bill Sniffin: I Took a Covid-19 Test. This is What it Was Like

He stuck that thing up my nostril way, way up into the hinterlands of my sinus area and rubbed against my pituitary gland, I am sure.

Bill Sniffin

June 03, 20205 min read

Sniffin headshot

It all started with a little cough. Then a big cough. After scaring the heck out of my family and friends with my illness, I finally went to our Lander Medical Clinic to get some answers. 

They suggested I take a COVID-19 test, “just in case.”  

A nurse practitioner named Aaron Wright, originally from Kemmerer, grabbed a long cotton swab, asked me to tilt my head back and remarked, casually, that this might be “a little uncomfortable.”

If this is “a little uncomfortable,” then a proctological exam is a breeze. Luckily, the procedure only took about 10 seconds, which seemed like 10 minutes.  And yes, I really did wince. A lot. 

He stuck that thing up my nostril way, way up into the hinterlands of my sinus area and rubbed against my pituitary gland, I am sure. Whew! 

Aaron apologized for causing me the discomfort and handed me a tissue to clear my nose and wipe away my tears.  

The procedure reminded me of checking the oil on the big diesel engine in my old motorhome. You keep sticking that dipstick farther and farther and farther until it finally hits bottom.

Even though Nancy and I have been hunkering down (as my friend Ray Hunkins calls it) for almost three months, Aaron said I was now officially quarantined, since I was sick enough that they gave me the test. 

For 14 days or until they got the results, which would not be for five days, I was to stay put. He said I allowed to maintain contact with my wife, but otherwise I should lay low until the test results came through. 

And what about this darned cough?  It did not feel like a cold, but Aaron said allergies were quite active this year.  Did I get allergies? I said I did and made the mistake of telling him that I had had a terrible earache about a week ago and was going to come into the clinic about it. But the earache went away.

“Let’s check that out,” he said. “Hmmm, you have so much wax in that left ear, I can’t even see your ear drum. We need to clear that out.”

Uh-oh, I thought, here we go again.

A nice young gal came in to the room with what looked like a spray-painting rig.  Actually, it was a wand they had borrowed from the downtown car wash, I surmised.  

She stuck that thing in my ear and turned it on and, well, it was a drenching experience.  She tried to cover me but I still got wet. Very wet. 

I think she managed to shake loose a few of the little buggers clogging my ear canal, but she finally gave up. Aaron looked it over and also decided we had done our best for the day. He suggested I buy some over-the-counter drops to help loosen it up. 

He told me to take Claritin or Benadryl for allergies and he prescribed some little golden pearls, that would help my cough.  He had no suggestions for my hoarse voice.

My wife Nancy was eager to hear about my COVID-19 test. But she really perked up when I told her about my ear canal spray job. 

“I hope it improved your hearing,” she remarked.

“Huh?” I replied. 

So, despite fixing my selective hearing, our lives are continuing on in this strange quarantine purgatory.

Five days later, I called the clinic. The result? Negative for COVID-19. Whew.

Like many other older business guys, I still use a paper daily planner. There have been a lot of jokes about people buying a planner for 2020. 

Some folks see humor in all this.  There is an anti-Baby Boomer Facebook page called OK Boomer.  They originally called this plague the “Boomer Remover” until they caught so much grief, they took it down. Not funny to us Boomers. 

Jim Hicks up in Buffalo says he knew 2020 was a leap year because February had 29 days, March had 500 and April and May were three years long!

Hicks also says people have quit referring to the days of the week.  His new list is: Thisday, Thatday, Otherday, Someday, Yesterday, Today, and Nextday. 

Retirees used to refer to the seven days of the week as Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, Sunday, Saturday, Saturday, and Saturday.

There is an old saying that goes: “Hindsight is 20-20.”  I predict that expression will be used a world record number of times in the future to describe this crazy year. 

If we all can stay well (and the odds look good, that way), these will be times to look back on in total wonder.  The entire world stopped. If we ever wondered how the world would react to an invasion of otherworldly aliens, this was a preview.  Amazing.  

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Bill Sniffin

Wyoming Life Columnist

Columnist, author, and journalist Bill Sniffin writes about Wyoming life on Cowboy State Daily -- the state's most-read news publication.