If you've had it with this COVID-19 pandemic, raise your hand. Yep, I thought so. Hands are going up all over the place. My hand is right there with yours, especially after testing negative for COVID-19 last week. More on that in a minute. There's a small part of me that wants to get this virus and have it done and over with. But there's a larger part of me that doesn't want anything to do with it. I have two strikes against me, at least according to statistics - I'm male and I have type A blood. The effects of the coronavirus on people in those two categories seems to be more severe. So, if I have my druthers, I really would rather not contract the virus. So, where does the false alarm come into play? I golfed 18 holes on a horribly hot and humid morning a couple of Saturdays ago and was spent. Suddenly I felt stomach pressure and developed diarrhea. As the weekend progressed, I also had chills and a fever that topped out at 100.2. While those are all coronavirus symptoms, I didn't have the key ones - shortness of breath and extreme fatigue. I was 95% sure this was a mild case of the flu, all symptoms and feelings that I've had before. Moreover, within 24 to 48 hours, I was pretty much over it. Nevertheless, I wanted to be safe rather than sorry and called my clinic on Monday morning to share my symptoms. As expected, they said I should come in for a nasal swab. I pulled up to the back door of the clinic - with mask on - remained in my pick-up and called to tell them I had arrived. One of the clinic nurses came out the door dressed in full garb, including gown, mask and shield. She produced the swab and inserted it into my nasal cavity. I was bracing for the worst and it was slightly better than uncomfortable - no big deal. She inserted it far enough that my eyes started to water, twirled it slightly and pulled it out. Then came the worst part. Stuck at home Throughout this pandemic, I've been one of the fortunate ones. I've pretty much gone where I've wanted and carried on my work at the Citizen. I've tried to take as many precautions as possible, from hand sanitizing to wiping down things - although not religiously. But when I was stuck at home, not entirely sure that I didn't have COVID-19, I had to pretty much keep to myself. However, I didn't keep my distance as much as I should have from my wife (maybe because most of me was convinced I didn't have the virus). Working from home wasn't all that bad, but I much prefer working in the office. I missed the camaraderie of staff and the ability to ask a question directly as opposed to texting, emailing or, as a last resort, calling - although all were viable alternatives. The worst Ask me what was the worst part about staying home for about four days and waiting for results to come back in about 48 hours? Being concerned for those with whom I might have come in contact. I wasn't so much concerned about me contracting the virus as much as I was with whom I might have passed it to. Even before my 24-hour bout with the flu, I was asking anyone I interviewed, if they wanted me to wear a mask - and I'm more than happy to do so. While not entirely comfortable, a mask does offer some comfort in knowing that, whether or not I have it (I could be asymptomatic), I did all that I could to prevent spreading the virus. I won't wear one if I don't have to, but will when in close contact situations, while trying to properly social distance. If nothing else, masks offer a little peace of mind that you've done your part to safeguard others.