COVID 19 ANTIBODIES?

Editor’s note: Following is a page from my spiritual journal.

Testing, testing! I hear about it on TV news. I read it is the key to gauging our pandemic But I have not seen or heard of testing available for personal requests. No. The first testing required symptoms and a doc-tor’s note. This week I read in the Gainesville, Florida news-paper that testing is available IF one has symptoms.

To help figure if JK and I would be able to safely travel North to see friends and family, I decided I needed an antibody test. (Yes, I know antibodies don’t necessarily “prove” any-thing. But, no studies have been done on them for this virus, either.) When I discovered such tests were available, I asked my doctor if he would order me one.

Monday, his nurse email-ed me an order. Later that day, I took a deep breath and sat down to work on getting an on-line ap-pointment. Luckily, the site ad-dress was saved from the pre-vious week when I went in for blood work to check my thyroxin level. I grabbed the slot at 9:30 on Wednesday.

The morning was sunny and but only in the sixties. Trees waved leafy branches and birds chirped. I wore a zippered hoody as I climbed into the driver’s seat and drove to Quest Diagnostics near North Florida Regional Hospital about a mile away.

In the car, ready to drive.

Inside the brick building, I entered tandem waiting rooms. Several people were already there. I checked in at an elec-tronic kiosk and glanced around. Two chairs in each area were filled. I had been to the lab before and knew two lab techs were working – calling people from their two doors in the waiting rooms. As I prepared to lean against the wall and wait, a tech wearing full clear plastic face gear, purple gloves and a blue paper-thin gown came bustling out of the far door.

Apparently in charge, she boomed, “Too many people are in this area!” Waving at several of us who were standing by the wall she directed, “Whoever came in last needs to wait in the hallway.” Thoughtful

Three of us had just paraded in. We glanced at each other and shrugged. I turned to follow a masked young woman into the hall. As I left, I heard the boss-lady say, “Someone else needs to go!”

Before long, five of us stood in the hallway trying to arrange ourselves at a social distance. At least we are all wearing face masks!

Minutes later, one gowned tech stepped into the hall and called, “Mary?” One of the women said, “Me!”

After they left, I read three pages of Nickolas Sparks’ Last Song, which a friend had given me when the “boss” tech appeared and called, “Frances?”

I followed her into one side and “her” door. She pointed. “Room two.”

Entering, I set my purse and book on a side chair. As she bustled out and returned, I took off my zippered, zebra-striped hoodie. I knew the blood-draw drill. I handed the tech my paperwork. While she typed information into her computer, I sat down on the chair with two padded arms and chatted with her. “What time did you start work today?”

She responded with a straight face. “We open at seven.”

“Oh! That’s early! You must be about ready to have lunch!”

“Yes,” she agreed, “In fifteen minutes.”

Finished typing, the tech opened a drawer to get a syringe. I said, “Butterfly, please.”

She nodded and pulled out a small one shaped like its name. It was in a plastic sleeve. As I presented my left arm to the woman, she pointed the small syringe at my arm. “People seem to like this one…”

I looked away.

In minutes, she put a piece of cotton on the puncture and taped it down instructing, “Press down.” She labeled two tubes of blood and showed me the labels asking, “Is this you?”

After reading the two tubes I nodded, “Yes.”

“That’s it.” declared the boss-lady.

I smiled, “Have a good lunch!”

She nodded and said, “Go straight out.”

I did. Walking to the car I thought, By this time next week, I’ll know if I have antibodies!

“Can JK and I can travel safely to Indiana this summer?” and “If so, how?” These ques-tions have no answers. I’m gathering information. Taking the antibody test is a first bit.

However, ultimately our decisions are in God’s hands.

Frances Fritzie

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