This past Tuesday I had to do one of those at home COVID tests, with Aira’s help of course. After I figured out what all the doodle bobs were for, it wasn’t too crazy hard, but of course I would have been screwed if I didn’t have Aira because I wouldn’t be able to look at the test cassette thing. But I have heard descriptions of some of the tests and they seem impossible. This was better than I expected…once I figured out what the heck I was doing. I thought I’d write down my experience so I could hopefully help someone else out who found themselves needing to do one of these.
Like I said a little bit ago, I was going to my first in person conference yesterday. Because life is mean, last Monday, I developed the sniffles. I wanted to be sure they weren’t the COVID sniffles, so decided to crack open my first rapid test.
The kit I have is called the Rapid Response kit.
Apparently it’s not one that a lot of Aira agents have seen. Inside the kit, there is enough stuff to do five tests. But instead of compiling the components for each test in an individual container, they just put all the components in the box. So you have a bag of five swabs, a bag of 5 tubes and stoppers, a bag of five vials, and a bag of five test cassettes. Why not make five bags, with each bag containing the components for a test? Once you know what you’re doing, it’s no big deal, but cut the newb a break! Oh, and you have a little tray to use to stand the tube in for all the swab-swirling goodness.
So, you have your kit. You’ve figured out what the hell is going on, you have all your stuff out in a little tray so nothing can fall down. If you’re using Aira or Facetime or some kind of phone-assisted thing, you have your phone sitting up on a stack of books or a stand or, appropriately enough, an unopened kleenex box so they can see down into your tray. You have a timer nearby that isn’t your phone. Let’s rock and roll!
So, the first thing you have to do is grab an empty tube and stand it up in the little tube stand thingamabob. It’s a tray with 8 holes. I don’t know why they picked 8. Maybe it’s to confuse the newbs among us.
Then, grab that vial of liquid they call buffer solution and give it a shakeroo. When I saw it, I said “Hey! It looks like a tube of flea and tick preventative for dogs!” Not exactly, but kind of. The top of the tube has a notch on each side and a raised bumpy liney thing right in the centre. If you twist it at the bumpy liney thing, the top will snap nicely and make you a little spout that you’re supposed to pour the liquid into the tube through. Find your tube, and place the makeshift spout into the opening of the tube and squeeze until it’s all gone. When I did this part, I was scared shitless because I had heard this solution could hurt your skin. If it can, I was lucky because my first makeshift spout was a little raggedy and dribbled solution crud on the side of the tube…which I was holding.
After you’ve done that, the fun starts! take your swab out of its packaging, holding the stick end, tilt your head back, and stick the swab in one of your nostrils. They say to not have it straight up and down, but going straight back, kind of at the lower part of your nostril. They said “parallel to your palate.” For some reason I had to think about that a lot before I got the message. Stick it in about an inch or until you hit resistance. Swirl it around for a few seconds and then take it out. Then stick that disgusting swab in your other nostril and repeat.
After you’ve done that, stick the swab in that tube of scary fluid. Swirl it around in there several times, smush it against the tube walls, and then let it sit in the scary fluid for two minutes. When that’s done, take the swab out of the tube, all the while squishing and pinching it against the tube walls to get all the liquid out of it. Chuck the swab in the garbage. Then, grab your stopper cap thingamabob and stick it on the top of the tube. Make sure it’s on their firmly so the potential COVID cocktail you just made doesn’t leak when you pour.
Then grab your test cassette. There is a long part and a round part and each is very noticeable by feel. The long part is where the results show up and the round part is where you pour your mix of swab juice and scary fluid. Yeah, I’m so technical.
Take your tube that has the cap on it, find the round part, and then turn the tube upside down so that the drops will land in the round part. It says do 3 drops, but it doesn’t say what will happen if you get too much in there, so I just pour and wait a couple of seconds.
Now, I wait. I set a timer for 15 minutes. I sit and whistle and pray that it’s negative. The test cassette has a c and a t written on it, c for control, t for test. If it is negative, there will be a line pointing at the c. If it is positive, there will be two lines, one pointing at c and one pointing at t. If you screwed it up and it’s confused, there will just be a line pointing at t.
Time to whistle, whistle, chat with whoever is being eyeballs for this lovely test, la la la…ooo! Time’s up! What’s the result? Negative! I can be out among people! Yea!
And that is how this kind of rapid test is done. I did a second test the day before going to the conference to confirm my non-covid status, and it went much faster and easier than the first test. Hopefully neither of us will need to do one for a long long time!