Just the facts, if you can find them

By the time this runs, my hope is that testing for coronavirus will be readily available in Pickens County. And maybe that will happen. But for now, we must fall back on common sense and accurate information to make decisions.

We’re all facing the unknown, but I am confident in the ability of Americans to survive the next few months and do what is necessary to make that happen.

In February, a friend and I traveled to the Doraville MARTA station on the outskirts of Atlanta, parked the car and rode MARTA downtown. From there, we took the bus a few blocks to the orchid show at the Botanical Gardens. It was beautiful. While there, one of the guides told us that they had just had a free day to the public and 30,000 people had come through the greenhouses.

After seeing everything, we retraced our steps to the bus stop, rode to the Marta station, took the MARTA to Doraville and drove home.

Exactly seven days later, I developed a fever, chills, achy joints, dizziness and a headache. I didn’t have any serious congestion, so I just crawled into bed. A few days later, I thought it would be wise to be tested for the coronavirus, so I tried to find out where to go.

First, I called Lindsey Graham’s office in Pendleton and asked his aide where to go in Pickens County to be tested. I told him I’d gone online, but couldn’t find any information listing sites.

He said to hold on and he’d find out. After a few minutes on hold, he returned to the phone and said he couldn’t find out, but thought it would be a good idea to call DHEC in Columbia. So I did.

That’s when I was told there were no test kits in the state, to their knowledge. I asked what to do, since I had symptoms, and they recommended I go to the CDC in Atlanta. Then they took my number and said they’d have somebody call me back.

An hour or so later, I got a call back and spoke to a very courteous person who said to call my family doctor or go to an urgent care center and be tested for other illnesses. If all of these came back negative, then assume I had the virus and go to the ER.

I didn’t think this was good advice, because it seemed exposing myself to other people there was a danger to them.

I said until there was a test available, I thought it was unwise to spend time around others, as if I did have it, I would needlessly be putting them at risk. So I told him I planned to stay home and wait.

Then I called Lindsey Graham’s office in Washington and left a message on his voicemail informing him that according to DHEC, testing wasn’t available in our state. I never heard back.

I understand Graham is currently self-quarantined at home himself.

I stayed home for 14 days. On the 15th day, I suddenly began feeling better. I was never deathly ill, but I was sick.

Who knows what I had? There’s a chance it was coronavirus. And there’s a chance it was not. If it was, it was one of the milder cases.

I’ve had the flu shot and the pneumonia shot. Right now, we’re playing catch-up and things are serious. But don’t give up hope. We will depend on our state government to deal with this, and we’ll do what they tell us we must do. Meanwhile, wash your hands.