What was your scariest airport experience

Corona test for at home - a self-experiment

First of all: I feel very healthy, have not shown any symptoms since the outbreak of the pandemic and to this day I have not known anyone personally who has been infected with the virus. Accordingly, I approach the matter confidently. Looking for volunteers for a corona self-test? Sure, I'm in!

However, doing a corona test two weeks before the start of your vacation is not the best idea - it only comes to me when it's already too late. Because if the result is positive, the laboratory is not only obliged to report this to the responsible health department. Until this has reported to the infected person, it also means: home quarantine. Two well-deserved weeks of vacation could vanish overnight. So the best conditions.

The test, a so-called PCR test, which is only intended to determine whether a current infection with the Sars-CoV-2 is present, can be ordered quickly. The good piece costs 119 euros, for standard delivery - two to five working days - it is another 3.95 euros. I would have liked to have chosen the 24-hour express delivery, after all, it should be quick, whether symptoms or not, but this is not possible at the DM drugstore due to the "current situation".

On Saturdays, the product ordered on Monday arrives early in the morning. It's way too big for the little box in it, it's filled to the brim. The contents: a registration form, a piece of paper with self-adhesive QR codes with number, two packaged test sticks, two stickers to seal the box for return, and last but not least a packaged tube with a clear liquid in it - the test liquid on which it arrives at the laboratory later.

The registration form immediately catches the eye. Because for an analysis you need to register on the Internet, otherwise nothing works. So quickly typed in the link. Instructions on how this test actually works cannot be found in the box.

Once the relevant data have been entered, the explanation is given. At that point it is good to know: Before the decrease, do not eat or drink anything for 30 minutes, the mouth must not be rinsed out beforehand, and certainly not the teeth should be brushed. I haven't done anything, after all, it's Saturday morning and I finally want to get it over with.

Mysterious liquid

The tube with the liquid is opened and placed so that it does not fall over. The instructions warn me that the liquid is poisonous. But to this day I still don't know what this clear something is. Now one of the two smear brushes should be unpacked and put in the mouth with it. First cough a little so that all the secretion comes up, then moisten the front of the mouth for a few seconds. Now it's time to get down to business.

A small graphic shows me where exactly in the back of my throat I should place the brush and wave it around for 20 seconds. The first attempt, without a mirror, does not succeed. The further attempts, now with a mirror, succeed, but they are accompanied by chokes and watery eyes for almost a second.

Again and again I look in the mirror and actively ask myself what I'm actually doing here. With the words "that will be enough" I give up and follow the instructions that say to stir the stick in the liquid for one minute until it becomes cloudy. Then the shock: repeat the whole process with the second double stick! So again mirrors, choking, watery eyes, self-doubt.

Later I describe the procedure and my gagging to a friend who is a prospective nurse. Her answer: "Sounds like you got it right."

The tube is finally closed, a QR code sticker stuck on it and sent back in the box to Novogenia, a biotech company in Salzburg. Only when I stand in front of the lady in the post office do I notice that the box says "PCR test" in large letters. Will she know? Will she let me call out Will she look at me in disgust? Nothing like that. While her boss is standing next to her and is loudly upset about teenagers who don't wear a mask in public transport, she only measures the size of the box, collects the 4.30 euros for the return shipment, and I go home with a light heart.

Excruciating waiting

My relief doesn't last long. Because now the phase of nervous waiting begins. Shortly after sending the sample, I was tormented by irrational questions: What happens if the test is positive? Do I then have to cancel my vacation? Who will bring me groceries when I'm in quarantine? Who do I have to contact then? Are the symptoms still coming? At the same time, I feel as if I am infected to a certain extent.

When I tell people that I took the test, I lower my voice so others won't hear. The corona shame has me firmly under control, although I don't even have my result. I've been waiting for that for a total of nine days since the day of the order. It's negative.

My joy lasts until Friday evening. Then it becomes known that DM has temporarily withdrawn "my" corona test from the market. The Federal Office for Safety in Health Care (BASG) found several deficiencies, including a lack of labeling or certification. The office now wants to control the products of other providers. (Thorben Pollerhof, July 24th, 2020)