I don’t have COVID. That’s the good news. I have a minor medical procedure coming up that requires me to get a COVID test. Not an at-home test. One that requires me to drive to Potsdam early in the morning.
On Monday, I pulled into a testing center parking spot and dutifully called the number on the sign. I gave the woman who answered my secret code (It was my birthday) and the make of my car (which I nearly forgot) and drove up to the line.
If you have yet to have your COVID test at the St. Lawrence Health testing center, you should know that it is more of a testing shed, than a testing center.
I am not knocking it. It is located in the Seacomm Plaza parking lot and has a pre-made garden shed with a carport attached. It is a model of efficiency with a little Adirondack vibe.
You drive in, the nurse comes out the door, sticks a swab up your nose, and you are done.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
Let’s back up four paragraphs.
I was very pleased with myself for not saying, after I coughed up my birthday, that I was expecting a card this year. I know from experience that people don’t appreciate that joke, yet I blurt it out, almost reflexively, way too often.
When my turn came, the nurse came and asked me if I had ever had a COVID test. I hadn’t thought about that.
I told her I had, but it was almost three years ago. It was the early days of the pandemic and was a big deal, as I remember.
“It’s different now,” she said.
It is no longer the brain-tickling ordeal it was in 2020. The swab only goes in one nostril for five seconds and you are done. I got my test results via the Rochester Memorial patient portal later that day.
I am one of those lucky ones—almost exactly three years in and still COVID-free. I have had all the vaccines. I work at home and, for the most part, avoid large crowds.
I am not entirely isolated. I go to public meetings. I went to a concert last week. I occasionally go to a restaurant or bar. But, it is not life like it used to be.
I am not unusually immune to disease. I have had cancer twice. A few years ago, I had West Nile virus.
There have been some changes in these three years.
I remember putting a mask on to go to the grocery store for the first time. I fashioned it out of a bandana and a rubber band. I took it off shortly after I exited the produce section. I still had rubber gloves on.
I also remember going into a restaurant for the first time, waking up with sniffles the next day, and freaking out. I was sure I had sinned and was paying the price almost immediately.
Our lives changed incredibly following the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and they changed again in 2020 when the novel coronavirus pandemic emerged.
By my calculations, we are due for another significant change in seven years or so.
I hope the odds will be in our favor and that change will be good.
Tom Graser is the editor of the St. Lawrence Plaindealer. He rarely wins bets.
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