My First COVID-19 Swab Experience

After writing some articles related to COVID-19, I decided to share my first COVID-19 swab experience on this platform. If you are a first-time reader, I am pleased to welcome you to my medium platform.

It was a rather gloomy afternoon when I was about to do some work before I leave to meet my friends for a simple dinner. Before that, I had a terrible week of coughing and sustained a bad sore throat, which hampered me whenever I ate or drink. My initial thought was to drink more water (duh) and eat less heaty food because it was like an Asian thing to do.

After many considerations, the cough didn’t get any better, and drinking honey wouldn’t get my throat any less sore. This uncertain feeling in my head gave in, and I decided to head to the nearest clinic.

While I knew that if I had any symptoms related to COVID-19, I expect the doctor to be more cautious about the diagnosis. And yes, the doctor reviewed my situation and went ahead to talk about the government’s advisory on the COVID-19 swab test. Although Singapore’s COVID-19 situation was largely under control with little to no daily community cases, the procedures for routine medical check-ups are not compromised.

If anyone has any COVID-19 related symptoms that last more than a day, they conduct a mandatory swab test to ensure patient safety and well-being; the doctor said. Subsequently, the patient will be given a three-day stay-home advisory and a three-day medical certificate (MC) and waiting for the test results to be notified by the Ministry of Health (MOH) through their mobile contact.

I was a bit nervous when the doctor explained the whole swabbing process, which I briefly had some recollection from friends who went through on various occasions. The doctor then changed into her full personal protection equipment (PPE) gear, covering her entire body from head to toe.

Eventually, she took me to a fairly secluded corner at the parking lot, where it was a white tentage filled with medical equipment. I slowly sat down on a stool in front of a booth with a separate glass panel-mounted with a pair of long rubber gloves. Looking around the tentage, it was a well-structured medical facility that can house at least 10 people at once for the swab test. I finally followed her instructions to remove my mask and gave my fullest attention to what I was expecting from the swab. With complete transparency, she assured me she had swabbed over 600 patients under her care, though I might feel a little discomfort. She reached out to a 20-cm brush and promised to get through my nostrils with ease.

She made me count to 10 and began inserting the swab through my left nostril, twisting slightly from side to side. And while I was breathing through my mouth, my tears involuntarily gushed down my cheeks. I could sense my nose groove being brushed and became irritated along the sidewalls of my nose. I was surprised how my body responded and the swabbing process ended well. It was a fuzzy-free process, noting that I was the only one taking the test on a weekday afternoon.

Upon leaving the clinic, they instructed me to avoid taking public transport and must rely on private transport such as a taxi to return home. Luckily, the clinic was a walkable distance from my house, and I went back to rest.

On the next morning, I received a message from MOH that my COVID-19 results turned out to be negative. I felt an immense relief off my chest, and thankfully I could continue my day without worrying about the negative notion of contracting a disease with no proper medical treatment or availability of vaccines. Then, I was reminded that I must stay home as I was issued a three-day MC from the clinic.

After my virgin experience taking the COVID-19 swab test, I was fortunate enough to get it done at a private clinic compared to some of my peers who did it at the government facilities. After hearing some horrific stories of choking or sustained bleeding cases, I thought I would also experience it firsthand.

While we think our country has been coping well and phrase 3 is around the corner, we should not take it lightly and keep upholding high hygiene standards until at least vaccinated. With vaccine hopes coming in at the end of the month, I have high hopes for how vaccines can bring hope to everyone going through this tough period.

I hope Singapore can uphold its high standards of public health and maintain its top spot as a highly sought international business hub.

Thank you for reading this article and I will see you in my next one. Stay safe and take care.

About The Author:

Vince Law is a Final Year Accountancy and Finance undergraduate at Singapore Management University. He has worked at one of the Big 4 Accounting firms and having completed a consulting internship with an SME in Singapore. He writes on topics related to personal development and current affairs through his lens.

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