The Most Important Covid Test I Ever Took

This is the best swab I ever stuck up my nose. It is the one I’ve dreaded for months, the one I’ve taken extreme measures to prepare for.

For instance, last month I visited my son and daughter-in-law in Medford, Massachusetts for a long weekend after teaching at the Rowe Center in northwestern Massachusetts. Eli and Jenny wanted to take me to an Escape Room, a massive, clever, beautifully engineered 3-D puzzle experience created by MIT engineering grads—a room full of specially designed puzzles that I was eager to try.

This particular Escape Room was in Boston, seven miles from Jenny and Eli’s condo in Medford. Eli and Jenny didn’t want to drive their car into the City and I didn’t want to get on the T—the Boston underground rail system. Don’t get me wrong—I love subways; I just didn’t wasn’t willing to take the risk of sitting in a crowded subway car five weeks before I was leaving for Italy. So, although they thought I was being excessively and ridiculously cautious, they respected my choice, and the three of us WALKED all the way to the Escape Room and back—we pretty much walked all day for our one-hour experience. The Escape Room was a blast, and the urban walk was a fun one.

As I said, I went to extremes in the weeks leading up to this trip. I was determined not to get Covid before my departure.

Everyone coming on this Write, Travel, Transform trip had to provide proof of vaccination when they registered, and then we all had to take a home test this morning. If anyone tested positive, they wouldn’t be allowed to board the shuttle or come to the Villa, our home for the next ten days. They’d have to quarantine in a hotel in Florence until they tested negative—and at that point could they join us. (Believe it or not, there is special insurance for quarantine—it’s called “bedsit” coverage).

Of course, we didn’t want anyone to miss out because of Covid, but the worst outcome would be if any of us, the three trip leaders, came up positive. If my test came up positive, there wouldn’t be any way to replace me—this is my retreat. If Karyn came up positive, we’d have no yoga. And if Graseilah did, we’d lose our logistics person and our liaison to well…everything.

So it was with trepidation that I took out my handy-dandy test kit this morning and set it up, and Karyn set hers up, and we swabbed and twisted and mixed chemicals and waited. When I saw those single blue lines stay single, a huge wave of relief swept over me. Negative! Phew.

P.S. Since we’re heading to the Villa this afternoon for the start of the retreat, my time to write will get shorter, my blog posts will get sloppier (no time to proofread), and my wifi will be marginal and spotty. I’ll do what I can with the bandwidth and the time I have available. I love travel blogging!


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