Feeling ill, Georgetown woman tested for coronavirus

Health

When she began feeling ill, Georgetown resident Madeleine Glynn made the right choice to undergo screening for the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The world changed during Madeleine Glynn’s 10-day trip to Boston.
Glynn left her Georgetown home on March 4 to accompany her daughter as she underwent surgery. At the time, there was some talk about the COVID-19 coronavirus, but the idea she might be at risk of infection — and ultimately need to be tested for the illness — didn’t seriously cross Glynn’s mind.
“When I left South Carolina, they were talking about the coronavirus on the news, but it wasn’t being talked about like it is now,” she says. “There were cases in Washington state, but it certainly hadn’t been declared a pandemic or become anything like it is today.”

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The first inkling something had changed came during a trip to a Boston pharmacy to grab the list of post-surgical supplies suggested by her daughter’s medical team.
“Everything was sold out, and people were wearing masks,” she says. “At that point, I was thinking, ‘This is insane. Why is there no hydrogen peroxide?’”

A headache

One week later, on Friday the 13th, Glynn woke up at 5 a.m. with a severe headache – an unusual occurrence for someone who doesn’t typically experience them.
By the time she arrived home in Georgetown the following day, Glynn was concerned about going back to her job at an assisted living facility. Though her own symptoms, including headache, congestion and sore throat, were mild, she didn’t want to take a chance of infecting the facility’s residents, who would be considered at high risk of complications from the coronavirus.
“I didn’t want to bring it into a building where everyone is vulnerable,” she says. “For me to go back to work and act like I was fine, that was not something I could do.”

The right choice

Instead, Glynn did exactly what health professionals recommend.
On Sunday morning, she underwent a virtual COVID-19 screening at muschealth.org. The tool recommended she be tested for the illness, and she was automatically referred for care to Tidelands Health. On Monday, she got a call from the health system’s team to schedule an in-person screening at Tidelands Health Family Medicine at Georgetown.
“It was a very surreal experience,” she says of the testing process.

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As she pulled up to the practice on Wednesday, she was directed to the rear of the building, where she encountered several care providers under a tent wearing personal protective gear. The health system has erected such tents, which are not public testing sites, at several locations to support patients with scheduled appointments.
A nurse took her pulse and temperature, and then Glynn was tested for strep throat and flu. After those tests came back negative, a nasal swab was taken for COVID-19 testing, and she was sent home to self-quarantine for 14 days and await the results. She expects to receive her results in the coming days.
“I bet it will come back negative,” she says, “but that’s not the point.”

Better safe than sorry

Glynn says she simply wasn’t willing to take the chance, however small, that she had the virus and could spread it to others. The mother of three encourages anyone else who is in a similar situation to do the same thing.

“If you go online and get screened and you don’t need any further testing, you’re all set,” she says. “If you do need to take that next step and go in for in-person testing, do it.
“The most important thing we can do as a society is to put this in the hands of the professionals. Do what they say. That’s our best chance of getting through this quickly with the least amount of injury to people.”
Although she’s quarantined in her home, Glynn says she doesn’t feel lonely. Instead, she’s taken an optimistic outlook and is making the best of her situation.
“I’ve been connecting with friends and family and just checking in,” she says. “I’m reaching out just to let them know someone cares about them.”

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