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COLUMN: Getting a COVID-19 test at Foust Hall put my mind at ease

During an international pandemic, one can never be too cautious. Getting tested regularly can help keep you and your loved ones safe, even if you are asymptomatic. 

So, for the sake of my loved ones - who I will be visiting at home - I made a visit to Foust hall, the location for Central Michigan University's free COVID-19 testing center.  

I wasn't showing symptoms, and I expected to test negative. But, knowing that this test will determine whether or not I can visit my own home and my elderly family for the next two weeks was nerve-wracking. 

As I entered the building on the south entrance, I made my way down the stairs following the signs to the testing center. I passed no less than six hand sanitizer stations before even getting to the end of the hall.

My nerves were settled when I met an employee who quickly confirmed my appointment and explained the procedure. All I had to do was fill out one sheet of insurance information while making small talk with the employees. 

By having people make appointments, the staff can monitor the number of people in the facility at one time. In the twenty minutes I spent inside, I only saw three other students. I didn't come within six feet of any person that wasn't an employee. I was even placed in an entirely different waiting room than the patients that showed symptoms. I'm happy to say the staff took every precaution possible.

Then was the test everyone seems to fear.

It involves a staff member sticking a cotton swab up the nose until it shows resistance and moving it in a circular motion to gather a sample. That may sound painful, and I can't say it wasn't uncomfortable. However, those few moments of discomfort are well worth the peace of mind.

After the fact, the only sensation I felt was watery eyes and the need to sneeze, like someone had tickled a feather under my nose. The test itself took less than a minute. In fact, it took me longer to get comfortable in the chair than it did to complete the swab test. 

After the swab was collected, I was directed to the building exit, a different door than the testing site entrance, passed several more hand sanitizing stations and was out of the door at 11:15 a.m. from my 11 a.m. appointment.

Less than 48 hours after my appointment, I was called and notified of my negative result. With that peace of mind, I finally made plans to see my family in the coming weekends. 

If you're considering getting tested for COVID-19 but aren't sure, my advice is to go ahead and do it. 

The people I met in Foust Hall were kind and helped make the best out of a nervous situation. Plus, the entire appointment only cost me 20 minutes of my life and some mild discomfort. The peace of mind from my negative result was more than worth the time out of my day.