A few weeks ago we got the call that we had been dreading. Erin’s school phoned to say that her cough wasn’t going away so based on Government guidance, Erin was no longer able to stay at school and we had to go and pick her up as soon as possible.
I’ll be completely honest, at this point I had a bit of a breakdown. It wasn’t that I was worried that Erin had COVID because I wasn’t. Erin gets coughs quite often and they sometimes last quite a while so I knew what was wrong with her. I begun to panic at the thought of being house bound. A couple of days was bad enough but there was the possibility for maybe 10-14 days of isolation. I don’t cope well with being confined so this brought on a panic attack.
This post isn’t really about me though but instead what we went through with Erin and our experience of a home COVID test. We are a non-driving family so getting to a test centre wasn’t an option. As soon as I’d had the phone call from school John got online to order a home testing kit. It only took a couple of minutes and we knew the test would arrive in the next few days.
We ordered the home test on Wednesday at around midday and it arrived on Thursday just before 6pm. Sadly, this meant we couldn’t get it posted out that day (I’ll explain soon).
The test needs to be done on the same day that it gets posted. You have to go online to the Post Office website where you can find a Priority Mailbox. I didn’t know that you had to put the test in specific mailboxes before we got the test so it’s so important to read all of the instructions carefully. Luckily, our nearest was a 5 minute walk away. The test also needs to be posted at least an hour before the last collection of the day so 4pm or before for a 5pm collection.
On the Friday morning we got everything ready for Erin’s test. The instructions are really quite simple and straightforward. We all washed our hands, prepared the different bits and got Erin to blow her nose etc. From here things weren’t quite so easy.
The test involves a cotton bud on a long stick that needs to be rubbed on the tonsil area for 10-15 seconds and the same again up a nostril for the same length of time. We started with the throat and after only 2 or 3 seconds Erin tried to pull away. Saying she hated it would be an understatement. At this point she was crying quite a lot but we had to do this bit again to make sure it had been done for long enough. Both Erin and I were in tears now. I hated doing something to her that made her feel this way.
Already being so distressed, Erin begged and begged and begged for us not to do the same thing to her nose. She was crying quite badly and having to tell her we had to do it was horrible. As a parent, forcing your child to do something they clearly don’t want to do is incredibly hard and really emotional.
In the end, we had to bribe Erin with a chocolate muffin and whatever change Grandma had in her purse. Although it worked Erin was upset about it for quite some time afterwards and begged again for us never to do that again to her. Unfortunately, I think we’re bound to have to do it again at some point.
After the test was sent off we had a little wait for the results. We were told it should be within 72 hours. By Sunday evening we thought that there was no way Erin would be back at school on Monday as we hadn’t had the results yet. We got the email at 5:40am on the Monday morning to say that the test result was negative and we could go back to normal.
Erin has been through a lot; a broken elbow, a head glued back together but the COVID test was definitely one of the worst things I’ve had to go through with her. I want to be brutally honest with how bad doing the test was for us. I hadn’t really heard of anyone doing one before us so I didn’t know how Erin might react of what to expect. I hope this post helps someone, to prepare parents for what might happen. I think if I’d known it could go so badly I would have been able to prepare both me and Erin better for it.
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