Stabbing Myself For Science!

So I signed up to be in a study where you send a blood sample in the mail and they test your blood for antibodies to COVID-19. I signed up for it eleventy billion years ago, but there were delays in actually sending the kits because supply chain. Honestly, I did not expect that supply chains were going to be such an important part of the apocalypse. Zombie movies led me to believe that the most important skills I was going to need during the apocalypse would be stabbing the undead in their brains and finding canned goods, not mastering the intricacies of supply chain. But I digress.

Once the researchers got their hands on the kits, they shipped them out to guinea pigs like me. This is what I recived.

COVID-19 antibody serology study

The blue and white devices in the top right of that photo are lancets. They give you two in case you screw up the first time. You use the lancet to stab yourself in the finger to make you bleed, and then you drop your blood on the piece of paper so that they get a few good samples, like so:

COVID-19 antibody serology study

Then you dry the spots and then package it all up in the envelope and mail it back the lab, where they test your blood to see if it has antibodies to COVID-19… if you do, it means you had COVID-19.

I’ve been wanting to get an antibody test for a while, because I think I got COVID when I went to NYC in February. At the time, we didn’t think it was COVID because there wasn’t a single case of COVID in NYC… except it turns out that it probably was all over NYC at the time, but they just weren’t testing for it.

COVID-19 was in NYC a lot earlier than previously thought
COVID-19 was in NYC a lot earlier than previously thought

We all know how NYC exploded with cases after that time….

As I described it at the time: “I got sick on the Thursday night of the NYC trip – I’m talking fever and chills. Like the kind of chills were you have to sit in a hot bath – with a touque on – to not feel like your bones are made of ice. And then you go to bed in multiple layers – t-shirt, hoodie, long pants, socks, and again the touque – and you still feel cold. So I lost Thursday night and the whole day of Friday of my trip where I had to just sleep until my fever subsided.” When I got home, I slept for two days. I had a cough and a wicked sore throat for weeks and even went to my doctor because I was worried it was strep throat. She said “It doesn’t look bacterial. It looks viral, but I’ll test for strep just in case.” I wasn’t strep. I figured it must have been a flu, although I’d had the flu shot…

Also, although I didn’t realize it at the time, I lost my sense of taste. I only realized it months later when I heard Tom Hanks being interviewed by Stephen Colbert and he described when he and his wife, Rita Wilson, had COVID. He said that she had experience a loss of sense of taste and he didn’t. They were eating one day and she complained the food they were eating was very bland and he thought “this food is tasty. I don’t know what she’s talking about.” This *exact* same thing happened to me and Scott. On the day I got sick, we went to a Jewish deli for lunch and I thought the food was so bland, whereas he thought it was great. And then at dinner I thought the food was mediocre as well (though I was a bit distracted by the fact that I was freezing and could not warm up, even when I went to the bathroom and ran hot water over my hands for a very long time). I totally just thought that we had the bad luck to go to two crappy restaurants that day until I saw that Tom Hanks interview. In my defence, at the time, no one was talking about losing one’s sense of taste as being a symptom of this disease (and since no one knew it was in NYC at the time, it seemed like it couldn’t possibly be that).

I was telling this story to someone and they said “You totally had it. Have you ever been that sick before?” And I was like “Not since I had H1N1!” Apparently catching pandemic viruses is my thing.

Anyway, it’s going to take a while before the results from my blood come back, because lab capacity is limited. Zombie movies also did not prepare me for the importance of lab capacity during the end times.

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  • I am waiting for my 2nd kit to do the testing again for the next part of testing…interesting but am also waiting for my results from the 1st test (supposed to get them in December)…and I hate needles…every time I give blood…I hate the finger lancet most of all.


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