Patrick Murphy

It’s not like I didn’t think it could happen to me. With more than 214,000 dead in the United States, and that number climbing, I could certainly be one of those who contracted the coronavirus, and since I don’t have a spleen to bolster my immune system, I was at a greater risk.

So when I was told I needed to be tested for COVID-19, it shook me up, but didn’t completely surpise me.

Like most people I thought I’d be one of the fortunate ones and avoid the virus. I wore a mask anytime I was out, actually feeling anxiety without it. I washed regularly. I disinfected my office every day, sometimes more than once a day. I avoided crowds and tried to keep my distance. But no matter what I did, the virus was always in control.

I had a cold. That’s all I thought it was. My nose was stuffy, forcing me to breath through my mouth, which once in a while produced a cough.

I woke up one day and felt completely wiped out, and even though I didn’t check my temperature, I knew I had one.

That night I woke up a couples times drenched in sweat as the fever broke.

The next morning I woke up feeling great. The cold persisted, but that’s what colds do.

Then I lost my sense of taste, and my wife said it was time to get tested.

I contacted the East Central Health District, and they asked me a series of questions, which led to them recommending I go to the TestNebraska website. It walked me through similar questions, recommended a test and set up a date and time.

Now I wait.

It’s a little nerve-wracking waiting for the results. I hate waiting for things to happen, and I hate not knowing what to expect, but I have no choice.

Before I had to be tested all I knew was that a long cotton swab goes up my nose. It is a weird sensation and a little painful.

I should have asked someone to take a selfie for my new Facebook profile.

The test doesn’t take long, but when you have to wait for the results, your mind wonders.

If I was positive for COVID-19, how do I do my job? My job is talking to people, which I love, and I prefer to do in person. Phone interviews are fine, but talking to people in person is better.

I had already told the parents of the kids who help get the newspapers ready to mail what was going on, and they stayed away.

If I was positive I would be quarantined for two weeks. That means not being able to go to meetings, ball games or any place.

While I wait for the results I put a closed sign on the office door, lock the door and work, relying solely on e-mail and phone calls to communicate with the outside world.

I was cut-off. I know millions have been living like this since March, but I had been able to function pretty normally, so this was a change.

Normal went out the window, though, and I was alone with my thoughts while waiting to hear whether I had the virus or not. Never have I wanted something to be negative, but for now I’ll just wait and see.

Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor at The Telegram.