June 12th 2020 – Medical Limbo

Well this is fun. I got a call back about my test and they let me know that I tested negative but they also have a 30% false negative rate. What to do now? Math.

Just to pull some numbers out of the air, let’s assume based on my symptoms that I had a 90% chance of COVID-19 and 10% chance of something else weird, a negative result on a test with a false negative rate changes that ratio to around 80% chance of COVID-19 and 20% chance of something else weird. Something is causing my fatigue and shortness of breath, hell it could even be something mental. Who knows.

But having healthy lungs are kind of critical to what I do in my spare time and central to my identity as a person. It was hard enough to admit to the fact that nobody knows just how much COVID-19 impacts lungs and athletic performance long-term and it could really impact my pursuits. But now I’m afraid it could be something else entirely and I believe it’s important enough to get looked at by a doctor in person.

I’ve thought about getting another test (which would only change the percentages to 65% and 35% with another negative, though the whole 90/10 thing I initially threw out there comes from NO scientific basis.) but decided that waiting another 5 days might not do me much good if it’s something else. Yes I’m potentially putting some medical staff at risk, but they will know that I have symptoms, that I tested negative, and that they also know that there is a high false negative rate.

At this point I think I just need to have something a little more concrete than a giant nebulous maybe. I’d really be kicking myself if I decided to just wait until I get better only to do some major damage. So even if that probability is low, the risk calculation is just too big for me to not try to do something.

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