Katrina Stonoff

Covid Update

Well, I was right. I do not have COVID-19. Thank God. But WHAT A NIGHTMARE it was, trying to get the results!

The Animator and I developed symptoms last Thursday that could have been Covid (though we were pretty sure they weren’t). However, we decided to get tested, just to be sure.

We had two options: Steese “Immediate” Care ($335 each with results in two hours) or another option recommended by the COVID hotline (small co-pay with results in three to fourteen days). We opted to pay for the “rapid” response.

Their first available appointment (this shoulda have been my first clue) was Monday morning. So other way, we’d be self-isolating for a few days.

Our appointment was at 9:30 yesterday morning. We had the option of coming back to pick up our results (potentially being exposed to the virus) or having them either faxed (who still faxes?!) or emailed. I checked the email box on both papers (carefully writing my email address very clearly) and handed them back to the receptionist.

We were back home before 10 and back into isolation. I spent the day compulsively clicking “refresh” on my webmail every few minutes. I tried to work on the novel I’m writing, but I couldn’t focus. I tried not to do the writer thing and wander down the “What if…?” path and picture myself dying and obviously going to hell because that’s where my parents believe I belong, but … yeah. Obviously that didn’t work so well.

I tried to call about 2 p.m. (the time they said I could pick up the results if I’d opted for that), but nobody answered the phone. That wasn’t surprising. They hadn’t answered it Thursday either, none of the many times I tried. But they did eventually return my call.

I get it. They’re swamped. I respect that. And I’m sure there was a line of people at their door at 2 p.m. waiting for results. So thinking they were open until 8 p.m., I waited to call again until after 5 p.m. (still compulsively clicking “refresh” every few minutes). No answer, so I left a message.

By then I’d spent four days in the spare room. It wasn’t too bad though because I knew it should all be over Monday. Monday night, I’d be able to sleep with Mars again.

Instead I spent the evening in my lonely space, refreshing my email on the off-chance that my release could still arrive. I finally went to bed, sad and lonely. But every time I woke up (2 a.m., 4 a.m., etc.), I checked my email. Nothing.

About 10:30 a.m. I called. No answer, of course, so I left another message.

At that point, it had been more than twenty-four hours to get I was promised in TWO HOURS. To get a result I paid $670 to get in TWO HOURS.

(Sorry for shouting. I’m seriously pissed off.)

I spent Tuesday refreshing my email.

It didn’t help that I’d talked to two different people who had the tests done at the other clinic, the one that takes “three to fourteen days” to get results, and both people had gotten their results in two days. So I sat at my rickety little camp table in the guest room refreshing my email and thinking, “I’d probably have gotten my results by now if I hadn’t opted for the $670 option instead of the small copay option.”

I finally called again about 2:30 p.m. and…glory be!…the receptionist actually answered the phone. As calmly as I possibly could, I explained the situation.

“Oh, nobody back there explained to me that I was supposed to email you,” the girl said. “I need a valid email address.”

I have zero patience with people who refuse to take responsibility for their actions. Zero. Still, I gulped back my knee-jerk response and simply stated my email addy, carefully spelling both names.

But I couldn’t help myself. Call me a Karen, but I just couldn’t let her little “white” lie stand, the lie that trapped me in the guest room for more than twenty-eight hours longer than necessary.

I said, “My email address, and my request to have the results emailed were on the paper I handed you.” Emphasis on you.

To her credit, she didn’t defend herself. And she did (finally!) offer an apology. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I’ll get these right out.”

And she did. The results were negative for both of us, as I was sure they would be. I’m writing this from the comfort of my lovely office, in a real office chair, at my nice big desk that is just the right height.

We haven’t had much need for medical care since we moved to Fairbanks a year ago. None of us get sick very often, so it just hasn’t been a priority to find a primary care physician.

But I’ll tell you thing: I sure as hell know where I WON’T be going!