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Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Kathy Hanrahan: Multi-tasking, COVID-testing mama

Posted January 28, 2022 7:00 a.m. EST

COVID at-home tests

— This has been one week of COVID tests for my family. I'm tired. Tired of trying to keep my family safe from COVID. I have tried so hard, and this pandemic is wearing me down.

My family is fully vaccinated (except the 2 year old who is doing a vaccine trial). We are masking and still being socially distant.

On Tuesday night, my husband came home from work saying he had a headache. He said he felt nauseous and tired. He immediately went to lie down, while I made dinner for myself and our children.

My husband gets sick maybe once a year. Over the years, he has managed to not get the flu or a horrible stomach virus that ran its way through our household. He is just one of those people. That's why his sudden illness had my Mama-Spidey-senses tingling. (I tell my son I have antennas that pop out of my head when my intuition tells me that something is off. It's like "mom's intuition" but way more fun.)

Everyone went to bed early that night with me vowing to go find some rapid COVID tests in the morning if my husband wasn't feeling better. My son was soon up with a stomach ache. I figured it was nerves about school, but when I saw his temperature was elevated, I knew we were dealing with an actual illness. He never had a fever, but he felt like garbage all night.

On Wednesday morning, I got up super-early and checked on both of my sick guys. They were still not feeling good so I headed out to find rapid COVID at-home tests.

I know the PCR tests are the best, but I wanted to get them tested as soon as possible so I knew what we were dealing with.

We ordered the free tests that the government is providing each household, but those hadn't arrived yet. If either tested COVID positive, I'd have to reach out to the Duke Vaccine folks to find out what our next steps were for my 2-year-old who is doing the Pfizer vaccine trial. I have a special bag of testing materials that we were told to leave sealed.

I grabbed my KN95 mask and went to Target, which is so peaceful when no one is actually shopping! No tests. One of the workers suggested I check out Sam's Club or Walgreens.

Sam's Club requires a membership, which I don't have, and wasn't open yet. And this was Wednesday - I had to be on a Zoom interview for the Go Ask Mom segment on WRAL News around 8:35 a.m. I only had so much time to run around town before I had to get home and get ready.

I decided to try Wegman's because I heard they sometimes have tests. I looked around and eventually found the shelf empty. Another fail!

I hopped into the car and decided to stop at Walgreens. There are a few in the area, and I hoped at least one would have tests.

I was lucky to find tests at Walgreens at the corner of Heritage Lake and Rogers Road in Wake Forest! I bought the maximum allowed four boxes. Each box had one test inside and cost $10 each. I also grabbed my son some candy and headed home.

I made it home with less than 45 minutes to get ready for my TV appearance. I swabbed my son's nose, left the test to finish developing and ran upstairs to do my makeup. By the time, I was on Zoom with Jeff Hogan at 8:38 a.m., my son's rapid test was negative!

Once I finished my appearance on the news, I swabbed my husband's nose and mine. Our rapid tests were negative!

My son went to the pediatrician that afternoon and they did another COVID test on him. This PCR test wouldn't be back for at least a day or more. That meant no school for the rest of the week?!

He was starting to feel better once the pediatrician visit was over. (Isn't that how it always works? They walk into the doctor's office and make a miraculous recovery?)

The pediatrician said we might be able to get faster COVID test results by going to a Wake County Public Health testing site. We found two appointments that afternoon in Zebulon, so my husband and son went and got swabbed for the second and third times, respectively.

At this point, my head is hurting. I'm thoroughly worn out. I am stressed out. Then, we get a call from my mom. She mentions my brother has a cold. I ask her if she has any tests for COVID at her house. Of course, she doesn't. We made sure to get her a test for my brother that night. He too was negative.

On Thursday, we got the results back from Wake County and both of my guys are COVID negative. They are also both feeling fantastic, while I'm still exhausted!

And guess what just came in the mail? My free government COVID tests!

Tips for finding at-home COVID tests:

  • Check your local Walgreens. I found some at Walgreens on Heritage Lake and Rogers Road in Wake Forest and at the Wakefield locations.
  • Check Wegman's - There are locations in Wake Forest and Raleigh.