Oke, But, Srsly, OW

[Dutch Lock Down Day Two Hundred Sixteen]

Photo by Jerry Wang on Unsplash

I took the COVID19 test just now.

Let’s talk about how much my nose hurts now.

And how awesome the Dutch testing system has gotten.

But first the news:

The testing center I went to this afternoon is outside of the Groningen city center and accommodates car parking as well as the typical bike / scooter / motorcycle parking. AND it’s FREE.

You queue up in front, 1.5 metres apart, even in the rain, and while the line looks a bit daunting initially, it goes FAST. Just outside of the entrance are instructions, in Dutch, to maintain the 1.5 metres, use hand sanitizer and wear a face mask.

Just inside the door is a massive vat of hand sanitizer with more Dutch instructions to use the hand sanitizer. In case you missed the previous instructions, I suppose?

And 1.5 metres from there are free face masks with Dutch instructions to put one on, if you don’t have one on already.

THEN instructions in Dutch and English, “Have you sanitized your hands? Put on your face mask? Get in line and maintain 1.5 metres.”

Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

There’s a guy standing in a face mask facing a hallway saying numbers which isn’t clear until you can see down the hallway where there are numbers and doors and every once in a while, someone exits the rooms and walks further down the hallway or pops out, faces the guy, and waves.

He says something to me in Dutch, but it’s so fast and doesn’t make sense in context, so I say, “What?” in English, cause I’m stressed.

He says in English, “Room five, at the end, on the left.”

I’m kicking myself as I walk down the hallway cause I should’ve caught that meaning. I must be more stressed than I thought.

So I enter number five and say slowly in Dutch, “Sorry, Dutch is not my mother tongue.” to whit one tester (there are two) replies in Dutch, “But your Dutch is really good.” which gives me confidence, so when the other tester asks in Dutch, “Do you want us to speak Dutch or English” I reply in Dutch, “I would like to practice, if I can?” And they tell me, “Good job!”

So entirely in Dutch, speaking very slowly, and translating every once in a while when I look completely lost, my identification was verified FIVE different ways – my last name, my appointment time, my birthday, the last three digits of my government number, and my phone number.

I was impressed with me.

But, more importantly, thinking this hard made me calm down a LOT.

“Is this your first test?”

“Yeah.”

“I’m going to swab your throat first and then your nose. Tilt your head back. Open your mouth. Stick out your tongue.”

Yeah, all in Dutch.

Go, me.

Throat swab was, seriously, no big deal, but mildly annoying.

“Look at the smiley face.”

Which made me smile because some inventive person had made a smiley face out of three post it notes and a marker across the room from the chair.

“Don’t move.”

And this wonderfully sweet person stabbed me in the brain via my nose.

Seriously, it went from annoying. To painful. To my brain panic’d and I started to throw up, but I also have this ridiculous dance discipline to do exactly as the choreographer dictates and so I’m also utterly still.

And then it stops.

And I breathe.

“Ow.”

I haven’t even taken off my coat or scarf and I’m directed out and to the left. The exit is right there. I walk around the building to the front where my car is parked. I get in and drive away.

The entire experience took five minutes from turning the car off after parking to turning it back on again to leave.

It took longer to drive to / from the testing facility from my house.

Sadly, results won’t arrive for up to twenty four hours from the test, but I’ll let you know as soon as I know.

Although I’m fairly sure I’m negative.

Eighty percent sure.