57 plus 47: Testing times…

Posted: 3 October 2021 in 57 plus, Coronavirus, covid, medical
Tags: , , ,

So I’ve been surveyed..

Not my flat, me.

A couple of weeks ago, I received some forms through the post. Which was reasssuring in an odd ‘this is the way things should get done’ way. Although I’m more than happy to complete forms online, and though I really like the efficiency and speed with which stuff can get processed electronically, there’s… something about holding forms in your hand.

Whether it’s because I’m an old fogey or whether it’s just because I’m a sceptical bastard – yes, yes, I know what you all think, and I kind of agree that it’s probably both, – I have to admit that had I received the forms by email… I dunno; I may have, probably would have, have just consigned it to spam.

Because this is what I received…

I’d heard about the survey, of course, but to be fair to myself, I had no idea what it was.

I wrote, a few weeks ago, about getting pinged¹.


Now, dear reader, whenever I type something that starts ‘I wrote, a few weeks ago…’ you’d expect to see a link to the post to which I’m referring. Hell, I’d expect to slap the link in without thinking.

And you will get that in a moment, I promise, but I first just want to express my flat out astonishment at how long ago it was.

Because had you asked me this afternoon exactly when I was pinged, I’d have guessed… oh, six weeks ago, maybe? Possibly a week or so before that.

I certainly wouldn’t have said almost three months ago. Eleven weeks ago. Almost three months; how the hell was that three months ago?

Anyways… here comes that link.

I wrote, in July (!) about getting pinged. At the time, when I was freed from the – mostly self-imposed, as it turns out – self-isolation, I considered getting tested. But at the time, there were many reports about a) how far up your nostril you had to stick the swab, and b) how unpleasant the test was at the best of times.

And you may remember that the inside of my nose is completely, to use a technical, medical term, buggered. No? You don’t remember? Well, I did mention it in a post about the personal medical consequences post, at the start of ’57 minus…’

Look, here’s an MRI from 2010, taken for other reasons completely. You can, however, see that the inside of my nose is, to again use that technical term, completely buggered.

So, yes, although I did consider getting tested for covid, when i was pinged, in the end I decided against it.

I live alone, I don’t see anyone (other than my very closest of friends) for more than a short period of time, I wear a mask whenever I can, and I’ve been one of the most “wash your hands” people I know.

Moreover, I had no symptoms. And while I’m of course aware of asymptomatic transmission, I thought it was worth the risk in not getting tested, especially since I had no wish to stick a swab far up my nose.

But while I’ve never been tested, I think I’d have to be very weird indeed not to have at least wondered, idly or otherwise, whether I’ve had it. And while I might be weird, I don’t think I’m that weird.

And then, as I say, I got these forms through the post inviting me to be part of the Office of National Statistics nationwide survey.

Any mild scepticism that it might not be genuine evaporated when I checked it out and then, even before I saw that they give you a small amount of money for taking part, about more of which in a moment, I called them and ‘signed up’ for it.

Many things attracted me about this thing, that led me to taking part.

In no particular order:

  1. They come to you. They come to your place of residence and you take the first test in front of them, so they know you know what you’re doing, then take the test away and email you the results a few days later. For future tests, they hand the kit to you, and wait outside while you perform the testt, and then you hand it back to them.
  2. Although you can walk away from the testing regime at any point; there are three ways you can take part. (I’ve chosen the last one of the three options below.)
    1. Just one test, and you’re done. That’s it; you never need to head from them again.
    2. Four tests; the first test and then one a week after that for three weeks.
    3. The four tests above, then one a month after that.
  3. The appointments are pretty much ‘within a few hours’. They call you to arrange when’s good for you, then they come to you. The two calls I’ve had so far were for an appointment the following morning, and one call that came at 3 in the afternoon and I had a test a couple of hours later.

    I’ll repeat this bit, because it genuinely was one of the things that I like about it: they email you the results and they’re clear and simple to understand: this is the one I most recently got from the second test I had.

If you are selected, and you agree to take part, it’s fifty quid for the first test and then twenty-five pounds per test, thereafter. Payment in electronic vouchers you can use in dozens of major retailers and online places.

So, yes, good news all around. I get confirmation I’m covid free, and I help the ONS with their numbers.

See you tomorrow, with… something else. I’m not sure what yet, but it’ll definitely be something else.


Fifty-seven more days. Fifty-seven more posts. One fifty-seventh birthday just had.

I’m trying something new with this run. I’ve signed up to ko-fi.com, so if you fancy throwing me a couple of dollars every so often, to keep me in a caffeine-fuelled typing mood, feel free. I’m on https://ko-fi.com/budgiehypoth

This post is part of a series of blog entries, counting up from my fifty-seventh birthday on 17th August 2021. You can see the other posts in the run by clicking here. (And you can see the posts in the run counting down to the birthday here.)

¹I’m amused, as so often, that my autocorrect changed the final word ‘pinged’ to ‘pounded’; I mean, getting covid may kick your arse a bit but not in that way, shurely?

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