Covid-19 Test

Bit of excitement this week—I was asked to take part in some research, which involved taking a Covid-19 test at home and sending it off. I was picked at random, so it was unexpected. My week is not very full of exciting things at the moment so I was happy to take part. I had to reply to the letter online, and answer a couple of questions, and then they would send me the test.

I filled out the online survey, and waited. My children then informed me that this was potentially a scam, and what exactly had I answered, and had I given any passwords or my address or date of birth etc. This worried me, but all the personal data had already been added, and I simply had to confirm details, so I thought it was probably legit. Waited, hoping the test would arrive and not a burglar.

Yesterday, the test arrived. It came through the post in a big padded envelope, and inside were bits of paper and instruction booklets and other stuff. There was a covering letter. This told me to do the test without delay, and I was about to open it and work out what to do, when I decided to read all the instructions first, so turned instead to the instruction booklet. (This I feel, proves that I am female—not saying anything else, just mentioning it.)

The instruction booklet said NOT to take the test immediately, but to first book a courier. The test needs to be analysed within 72 hours, so first I must book a courier to collect it, THEN I do the test on the morning of the collection day. Lucky I read the booklet, feel they should have mentioned this in the covering letter (for all the non-females).

To book a courier, you had to go to a website (this was easy) and type in your ID number (not so easy). The ID code was on the “sheet with the two bar codes”. Well, I had a sheet with several stickers, of which one was a bar code, and a tube with a different bar code. I tried entering the numbers under each of them, both were rejected. The instruction book said “Do not include the GB at the start of the code.” Neither code started with ‘GB’. I searched the pack of stuff, but nothing else had anything remotely like a code. Then I realised that one of the codes started with ‘UK’. Maybe ‘GB’ was actually ‘UK’ and no one had noticed? I tried again, removing the UK from the start, and they accepted the code. Managed to book a courier for today.

This morning I did the test when I woke, because the courier was due between 8am and 8pm. The test was fiddly and uncomfortable, and I just hope I did it correctly. The instructions said I should first watch a Youtube video, but the link they sent didn’t work (rather lost faith in the instruction booklet by this point). I did a Google search, found a video of taking a sample, and tried to copy it. It basically involved sticking a long cotton-bud down your throat and touching your tonsils, then sticking it up your nose, before putting it into a tube and sealing it. Not very pleasant, and made me gag, but there are worse things. I wanted to keep everything clean, and also needed a mirror, so had the brilliant idea of placing a clean tray over the sink, and using this as a shelf. It would have worked better if the tap hadn’t been dripping, but I’m sure soggy labels are something researchers cope with all the time.

The (unreliable) instruction booklet said the courier would arrive and knock on the door, he would then place a box on the doorstep, step back 2 metres, and wait. I should place the test in the box, then shut the door so he would be safe to pick up the box and take it to the lab. In actual fact, the courier arrived, I opened the door, and he held out his hand for the test. I indicated that I would place it on a shelf, and he took it from there, but otherwise he would have taken it directly from my hand. Maybe they forgot to send him a copy of the instruction booklet.

There was also a padded envelope in the kit. No idea what that was for. It is a white, unused, padded envelope. I will keep if for if I need to post anything.

They said they would tell me the test result within a week, but as I have no symptoms, and have not been near anyone at all other than my family, for several weeks, I am fully expecting it to be negative—if I ever hear—not entirely trusting that booklet now. Let’s hope it is useful to the lab, and the clever people who work there manage to help manage Covid-19 so we’re all safe again. Perhaps I’ll apply for a job as their instruction book writer—I feel there is a need there.

Hope you have a nice weekend. Take care, and stay safe.

Love, Anne x


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