PCR Test: My Experience

Today, I had my first ever PCR test. It’s the first one I have had during the whole of the pandemic since we have been strict about self isolation and I am high risk. I remember scenes from the news of people getting PCR tests and have to admit I felt a little anxious about in the days leading up to today.

My strategy for when I am anxious about a medical test is to Google it. I found the information I needed.

What I was most worried about was the fact that I was wondering if my test would be a nasal test or where they had to get a sample from my throat.

This worry was based on real-life experience of having a nasogastric (NG) tube every time I had surgery for hydrocephalus since one of my biggest symptoms was vomiting and this meant I couldn’t eat or drink anything by mouth.

My comments to my husband on the way to the hospital were “I definitely want to use the tilt function on my wheelchair, we may have to tilt it back more.” When we were waiting, I told him I felt a little nervous. At the testing site at the hospital, we had to wait outside before we were called in. There were a few people before us and I gave my name to the nurse as we waited.

No thanks to my hearing, I could hear people’s discomfort as the sample was taken from their nose, but I took some breaths to keep calm.

Minutes later, I was called into the room and Alfredo guided my wheelchair.

The nurse first checked my date of birth and then she asked me to put my head back. She helped me to do this and we didn’t need to tilt me back more in my wheelchair. Alfredo helped me put my head back, something that is difficult for me.

The nurse told me not to scrunch my eyes, which is something I did involuntarily. I concentrated on breathing though my mouth and I won’t lie, the test is not exactly comfortable. I didn’t feel pain, but it was uncomfortable. Tears sprang to my eyes involuntarily and I was sniffing afterwards.

Right after, I felt like the nostril they had used for the test was blocked, like I had a cold, and I felt as I do when I have a cold and repeatedly blow my nose too hard. The inside of my nose was very sore and tickly.

I felt the most discomfort in the half hour immediately following the test, and had the “blocked nostril” feeling for around five hours afterwards where I had discomfort like the inside of my nose was irritated if I sniffed or blew my nose. I felt intense itching, burning and soreness throughout the rest of the day and it was bothersome and uncomfortable. By the evening, this was more like a very occasional throbbing. I was aware of the feeling in my nose as I fell asleep and when I woke up.

I still had a strange feeling in my nostril the morning after the test, like the area was still irritated, but it wasn’t as uncomfortable as the day of the test.

Overall, I’m proud of myself for being as calm as I could, and glad I didn’t have too many involuntary movements (just some before). This is a big deal for me as I find it hard to stay still for medical tests. I had taken my usual Baclofen in the morning. The PCR test felt strange, but was much less painful than having an NG tube, and I am so, so glad that I didn’t have to have the swab taken directly from my throat because my CP has give me a strong gag reflex. I already experience it, and nausea/ dizziness when waking up as mornings are hard for me and I love my bed too much 🙂

We went to the supermarket and park after the test. I bought some lipglosses I’ll tell you about on Sunday.

One thought on “PCR Test: My Experience

  1. Glad that it all went relatively well!!
    The nose swab brings tears to a lot of people including me.. and it feels so very irritated and I feel like I want to blow my nose a lot.. so you’re not alone in that!

    Liked by 1 person

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