Auld Lang Syne in the COVID Testing Line

by | Jan 6, 2021 | Heidi's Updates

I waited in the driver’s seat of my Subaru, one of many in a long line to have a COVID test. My husband had tested positive the day before after having mild symptoms for a few days. I didn’t have any symptoms, but it was my turn for a test. 

It wasn’t my first rodeo, actually. Our entire family had been tested a couple months ago after one of my sons had been found to be a close contact with a classmate. Back then, I’d been brave for the sake of my kids. This time, irrational anxiety filled my chest.

Maybe because the thing we’d been avoiding since March was now sleeping in my bed. (Love you, honey!) Maybe because we’d been with a small gathering of family that included a high risk individual over Christmas (with open windows and while wearing masks). Or maybe it was the thought of the many who’d suffered and died at the hands of the virus—a virus that I hated to think I had inadvertently perpetuated in any way. 

The line moved slow as we crept beneath a covered parking lot, and I observed the two workers in Hazmat suits and respirators. Seriously, they looked like Doc and Marty handling the plutonium in Back to the Future. Not an incredibly comforting thought paired with the four-inch swab about to go up my nose. (I mean, what if they missed and punctured my brain?)

I said a prayer, and tried to refocus with gratitude. Honestly, I was super appreciative of these hard-working health care workers. They stood outside in the cold, hour after hour, sticking swabs up people’s noses. We’re talking snots and nose hairs and things no one voluntarily wants to see. And they’re handling the virus that the rest of the world is trying to evade.

I pulled up to the front of the line, took a deep breath, and unrolled my window as the figure approached. Behind all that PPE, I saw a pleasant-looking woman.

“Hello!” she said cheerily. The smile, which I couldn’t fully see, went all the way to her eyes, putting me instantly at ease. My husband had not had this lady the day before, and those near angelic eyes met my worry and fear head on, helping to settle all that roiled inside me.

She told me information about how to get results and I thanked her for doing what she did, which she received warmly.

“Okay, tilt your head back slightly.” She inserted the swab until I made a funny face and my eyes began to water. She didn’t withdraw. Instead, she swished it around, singing sweetly. “For auld lang syne, my dear; For auld lang syne; We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet; For days of auld lang syne.”

It was something one might do for a child—sing while performing a less-than-pleasant procedure. But this woman didn’t hesitate to sing to a grown woman—and I suspected every person that came through her line.

Her warmth made all the difference. As I thanked her again and pulled away, I thought of all the health care workers laboring tirelessly during this trying time. I can’t imagine how hard their job is—that some make it all the more pleasant by really seeing and caring for the person on the other side of the cotton swab, hospital bed, or pharmacy counter makes all the difference in the world.

Thank you, health care workers! You rock! And may this virus very literally soon find itself “auld lang syne,” meaning “in the olden days” or as I like to say, history.

P.S. My test was negative, hubby is back to work, and my high-risk family member has had no symptoms so far. So thankful. Stay well, and may the God of hope find you during this season.

Image by fernando zhiminaicela from Pixabay

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