Boldly Going… And It Wasn’t That Bad

Hi and welcome to the blog.  If you notice, I try to avoid mentioning the coronavirus.  Covid 19 has hit this area really hard.  It’s affected friends and people I know in virtually all the businesses around here… People are sick… others have been exposed just by being around the wrong people at the wrong time.  It happens.

First, let me ask that the friends pray for friend MP.  (Those are the initials of her nickname).  MP is almost exactly my age, always wears a mask in public, and still got the virus.  She’s in the hospital right now and doing fine.


Until now I had been wrestling with the whole testing thing.  It doesn’t help when people say that it hurts or the swab scratches your brain.  I’d often said they’d test me over my dead body.  That was not too brilliant.  With lung issues and being diabetic, it would not make sense to wait to get tested until deathly sick.  Besides, I care about friends and co-workers and others enough to get tested just to be certain I’m not infected.  Even without symptoms it was the right thing to do.



Just as a side note, the “Test Iowa” drive-thru Covid testing program came about after a recommendation from actor Ashton Kutcher to Governor Kim Reynolds.  Ashton Kutcher grew up about 40 minutes SW of Cedar Rapids.


Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds


The plan was to make the Thursday testing experience positive.  The breakfast eaten on the road was a tasty grilled chicken quesadilla.  Along the way, I detoured to a gas station near Cedar Rapids to get the favorite soda – Diet Faygo Grape…. Sometimes the smallest pleasures bring a lasting smile.  While boldly going to get tested, I even wore a yellow Star Trek Captain’s shirt.  Once a nerd, always a nerd.



I arrived at the testing site early.  The facility property was normally used for charter buses.  The large garage had a very high ceiling and had a giant drive-thru stall.  The inside walls were white sheet metal.  Iowa National Guard soldiers were at the property entrance and throughout the facility (maybe to protect the specimens or in case of disturbance?).  Inside the building there were a number of people in white medical suits (looking like astronauts).  Some scanned barcodes (each of us had a unique identifier QR code).  Others administered the tests.

A nurse in her 30s did my test through the driver’s window.  I told her about the concern and she was very gentle.  The swab didn’t go in as far as I thought it would.  She twisted it a bit and then switched to the other nostril.  On the second insertion the sensation almost tickled… and then it was over.  All the way through the process I thanked the healthcare workers and Iowa National Guard members.  They seemed appreciative.  When exiting I thanked the guardsmen and yelled, “AND IT DIDN’T HURT!” to which they cheered!

After leaving the testing site I paused to write a heartfelt note on Facebook describing the experience.  A long time friend was going to be Covid tested the next day and thanked me for making her feel better beforehand.  Friday evening she texted and said it wasn’t bad at all.  If she passes the word to the next friend…  And if this post reassures one reader to get tested, it was worth the work.


As they in Star Trek “SHIELDS!”


Anyway, I decided to do a few other fun things afterward.  On the way home I stopped at Aldi and grabbed a bottle of Kombucha and some other items.  At neighboring Hobby Lobby I picked up some yarn and a cute pillow.  That pillow was a souvenir, a memento to remind me about taking responsibility over irrational fear.  (If the snake phobia could be conquered now!)   The pillow got the name “Ashton” after Ashton Kutcher.  All in all, it was a fun day!  If I need to go back for further testing – which might be the case – the fear is gone!


Mister Duke and “Ashton”


So what’s next?  I don’t know!  It’s hard to say how the Covid test will turn out.  The results will be back in a day or two.  If it’s negative, it’s business as usual.  If positive, I won’t be allowed around anyone for a while.  If the latter turns out to be the case and there are no symptoms… It’s hard to say but I have a feeling that total isolation could involve trout.

If the readers have any friends who are afraid of being tested, please let them know that all of my friends who have been tested have said the same thing – it’s not that painful at most clinics.  The fear of the unknown was the worst part.  Just don’t flinch and remain calm.  It’s over very quickly.


Take care and happy fall camping.

Brad and Jenny and Duke
Jones County, Iowa


Tastes like Robitussin. I’m hooked!


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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

2 Responses to Boldly Going… And It Wasn’t That Bad

  1. Jo Harmon says:

    I’m so proud of you and so happy to hear it doesn’t hurt. I have to go for labs Monday so I will ask to be tested. I did run to buy some Christmas gifts and finally get a real hair cut and then heard how bad covid is here again. Great! So I have been totally isolated again until Tue. I bought myself a Marie Calendar turkey and stuffing dinner, also bought gravey, cranberry sause and a package of mashed potatoes so I’m set. LOL Take care and I know your results will be good!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! I hope the test did not hurt. The Marie Calendar stuff is always tasty! Sounds great! It turns out my test was okay – I was negative – and am back working again. Take care!

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