Do I or Don’t I?

Last Monday I got an email from a medical clinic I had visited years ago. At the time I was kind of a lab rat for a clinical trial on IBS. I dropped out of the trial because I got violently ill from the drug, and that was that. But I did collect my $500.00, thank you.

Anyway, the email said they were testing for covid19, both the swab test to see if you are currently sick with the virus, and the blood serum test which checks for antibodies to see if you at some point were exposed to the virus and recovered.

I do think I had symptoms in late February right before the shutdown. But also – everyone is second guessing their colds that they got then . Everyone would like to believe that they had the virus. I’ve gone back and forth on this so many times. Yeah, I had symptoms that fit, but at the same time, everyone thinks they did. People weren’t dropping dead all over the place then like they are now. So, it’s unlikely, right? Or, is it? A recent random antibody test in NYC shows that around 20% of people have had it….. I ride the subway all the time, and that’s like – jesus – I can’t think of a better germ transmitter.

So having read the email, I contact the Doctors office, and they schedule me for a zoom appointment. This seems somehow less risky than just showing up at a place where they are welcoming the public for testing, as I had heard City MD was. I liked the zoom appointment beforehand so I could ask questions. But really, what happened was , my doctor explained during our zoom session, that his clinic was losing money testing for covid, so in order to get the test for antibodies, I would have to get a normal doctor’s consult and run some other tests that were basically unnecessary. Like test for cholesterol and high blood pressure or whatever. He scheduled me for a number of bullshit stuff that I didn’t need at all. (and that, among many things, is what is wrong with America!)

At this point, I chose to just go to City MD, an urgent care clinic that has locations throughout the city and is offering walk in tests, because the other scenario was complete bullshit. ( I mean, seriously – you can’t get tested for a deadly virus unless you consent to a bunch of other bullshit you never would have dreamed of beforehand???!!! USA!!!) At City MD I stood in line and waited for approximately two hours. The line was only about ten people deep but was moving very slowly. At one point, someone who had been in the line and gotten into the clinic came out on a stretcher and was hauled off in an ambulance…. nice….

I did have a near panic attack in the waiting room – you suddenly realize that you are in a room with a bunch of people who could unknowingly kill you. Fuckin hats off to nurses and medical professionals everywhere, I don’t know how thet do it.

And then they drew my blood and now I wait for 3 to 5 days.

I will also insert here because I see that some people that read this are from other countries, or hell, even the USA, that MOST places in the US do not have this testing available. Even NYC is not advertising it. I sought this out because I am very curious. And I do feel very lucky that I was able to get this test done, I think everybody should be able to do this in any city and any state. However, NYC has been hit very hard and by the nature of the high density and reliance on public transportation will need to figure this out more that, say Iowa. (no offense to Iowa, just saying – you people don’t take the subway every day, or live in big apartment buildings) So yeah, I’m lucky and privileged to get this test, but I also live in the epicenter of coronavirus, and its god-damn fucking depressing and feels hopeless at times. I can’t say because I haven’t been to other towns in other states, and I know we are all afraid, but here in NYC, you can’t walk out the door and NOT be assaulted by how depressing and abnormal this is. There is no business as usual, there is palpable fear at the bodegas and by passerby’s, there are now only slight moments of normalcy, and I can’t even think of a recent one to give an example. I don’t even see how New York can be New York any more. Most people in New York now know someone who has died from this. Other places, sure, eventually will get back to normal – but here? It’s soul crushing and impossible to imagine. So, I just want to make sure that everyone knows that just because NY is a rich state doesn’t mean it’s all fine and dandy here. It is fucked up beyond recognition and a lot of people are suffering even though I got my fancy test.

so, yeah, on that cheery note, we go on – My friends got the antibodies test on Wednesday, I held out until Friday, thinking I would go through the private doctors office. These are good friends who I used to routinely have over every Monday to watch the Bachelor. We’d often order a pizza and share it, sitting in my tiny living room. When I thought I had symptoms, (although, I didn’t recognize them as symptoms until later) it was on one of these Bachelor nights. I can only imagine the amount of germs that were swapped unknowingly then. I mean, I take pride in my living quarters and try to keep it clean, but still – shit.

I ran into them on the street on Friday right after I got out of the clinic having had my blood drawn. They were picking up food from a restaurant. I said “if any of us is positive, we all are….” I said this so full of ‘yeah, we got this. We all have the antibodies and it’s going to be fine’. I was so completely sure that I had indeed had symptoms back in February that meant I had already had the virus and there was no reason to sweat it.

They texted me tonight and said that they both tested negative for antibodies.

so yeah, fuck. that sucks. i’m feeling my chances have dropped significantly.

In other news, I might start a project where I photograph the interiors of NY Bodegas, because they have all built these amazing barricades / sneeze guards out of saran wrap and various trash. It’s sad and hilarious but also.. I dunno, I admire it.

And I am considering sharing an epic tale of discovering your partner has a weird fetish.

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