If you saw my updates yesterday on social media, my 17-month-old son developed a temperature over 40'C. As this is one of the main symptoms of Coronavirus, we needed to rule out that he isn't carrying the bug before he carries on seeing grandparents, seeing friends and going to nursery.
We want to eradicate this evil bug as much as the next person and get back to our new normal as quickly as possible whilst protecting everyone we love and care about, as well as protecting those we don't even know.
To rule out the coronavirus in our son and ourselves, we tried to book a test.
I'm sure you have all seen the adverts on television, if you haven't you can watch it here -
Their slogan is "Testing is free, quick and vital to stop the spread of coronavirus.
So let's get tested, and back to the things we love."
Yesterday we went onto the Governments website to try and book my son and ourselves a, quote their advert "Quick" test.
The first hurdle is that according to the governments' website, there are no testing locations in our county! The whole of Cornwall and the website says our nearest testing location is in Plymouth Devon.
Surely this can not be correct? If it is that "vital" to get our selves tested to stop this killer disease there must be somewhere more local to get a test.
No Coronavirus Testing Sites In Cornwall?
Not really wanting to make a 70-mile round trip to Devon, we thought about ordering tests to do at home. However, with a poorly child who might need to see a GP we really do need to get him tested to make sure he isn't contagious and unknowingly spreading something to others.
We decided to phone the coronavirus testing telephone number 119 for advice, as for anyone that doesn't know Cornwall, driving anywhere during the summer months can take double the amount of time with the addition of tourism in the county.
Turns out there are in fact two testing locations currently in Cornwall, Camborne College 22 miles away from us or one in Bude 38 miles away these just aren't listed on the Governments website?
There are discrepancies between what is online and what is available via the telephone, so we booked into a test at Camborne college.
The testing station available to us is 22.5 miles away, however, factor in the notorious Chiverton Cross roundabout and summer season that is easily a 40-minute drive away. We drive to the station and are told to park up in rows and keep our windows shut and that we will be called to start queuing at one of two rows.
About half an hour passes and we finally get called to one of these lanes, by this time I am sweating. Actual beads of sweat forming on my face. It's 22'C outside and we are stuck in a car without aircon literally melting.
We then get shown a board with a mobile telephone number on it and asked to call the number. This is a way to talk to the staff without opening our windows. This would seem a great way to protect the staff from germs if that then same member of staff didn't then ask me to open the window and lean across me to put the tests onto the dashboard of the car?
We then have to move the car again to another location in the car park, this time to do the tests ourselves. By this time the baby in the back in getting very grumpy, bear in mind he has the 40'C temperature and we've shut him in a car with the windows shut for nearly an hour. Now I've seen countless times when members of the public have smashed windows of cars when dogs are left in hot cars but for the good of stopping the spread of this virus it's ok to leave us, humans, inside sweating.
We had been in the car for ages and only now given leaflets on how to do the test on ourselves. WHY couldn't we been given these leaflets on arrival and read them whilst waiting to queue or even be sent these leaflets digitally the night before. That would have not only saved a lot of paper and printing budget for the NHS/Government but it would have sped up the whole process a lot.
I have suffered from tonsillitis a lot and whenever I have swabs taken from the GP, they use a little wooden lollipop stick to hold my tongue down whilst they swab the tonsils. Yet here I am, a completely untrained medical professional being told to swab my own tonsils and nose without letting the swab touch my tongue. If you touch your tongue you don't get accurate results and have to do it all again.
Well, do you know what, it touched my tongue, the results are probably totally inaccurate and add to the inaccuracy of reporting the whole way through this pandemic?
We are led to believe that constant testing, tracking and tracing will just become the new normal and something that we all have to get used to and if that's the case, that is fine, it is what it is in this crazy new world.
The NHS has been amazing and worked so hard throughout all of this and this isn't a moan at them and the hard work they are doing at all. The helpful kind lady on the phone from the 119 service, wishing our son a speedy recovery whatever was wrong with him. The staff at the test and trace facility standing out in all weathers to process people to keep other people safe. If you are an NHS member of staff I applaud you and the work that you are doing.
If you are in the unfortunate scenario where you do need to get tested, I would highly recommend that you don't use the online booking system and phone 119 for advice but equally, I would book yourself a home test as you have to do it all yourself anyway.
As for the accuracy of the test, I very much doubt my test was done correctly, my husband thinks he did better but there's an awful lot of hit and miss about the test and track system as well as a lot of flaws to the whole process.
I know Rome wasn't built in a day and to have even developed a process and even developed a test so quickly is still amazing but for me, the whole process had lots of issues and in our case a lot of sweat.
Now we just wait 24 - 48 hours to get the results.