Birthday candles and COVID-19 swabs

Pictured: Mac Pomeroy. Photo Courtesy of Mac Pomeroy

By Mac Pomeroy

So, there I was, COVID-19 swab up the nose, doctor telling me happy birthday, phone continuously going off, wondering what in the world was going on. I am sure at this point you are probably just as confused as I was, so let me back up a bit.

I have always had rough luck with birthdays. While my family is very supportive and does their best, having a birthday at the end of February means you have to work with the circumstances of winter, whether it be weather or illness. So, blizzards and colds on my birthday are far from uncommon.

Before I get into complaining about it, I want to discuss my birthday itself.

This year especially felt really strange since I didn’t feel like I aged. Not that I expected a huge difference between 20 and 21, but it seems like just yesterday I was writing my last birthday article. I can probably say without a doubt, between then and now, I have learned absolutely nothing.

I’m not kidding. I have had zero character development as far as I can see. I haven’t gained any great wisdom or figured out another mystical secret of life. I am sure I have changed, but just not in ways clear to myself. As far as I can see, all I did was slap on some fresh hair dye and call it a day for maturing in the last year. 

This year I turned 21. While this doesn’t mean much in the long run, it seems like one of those milestone numbers. I am finally old enough to legally drink alcohol, which honestly wasn’t very exciting. I am not a huge fan of alcohol in general, but I most certainly did not intend to drink given the state my stomach was in.

It seems as though a stomach bug has been going around these last few weeks, and I was one of its unlucky victims. Ever since Tuesday, my gut had been performing some olympic-level flips. Thinking about eating my cake on Thursday was already causing a chemical reaction — there was no way I was going to be drinking.

However, while I am used to getting sick around my birthday, these aren’t normal times. While I had been dreading the possibility of getting tested for COVID-19 the past year, it was important. I was intending to spend time with my whole family on my birthday, so I either needed to cancel my plans and isolate, or just accept what was coming.

As I said at the beginning of this article, this is how I ended up with a cotton swab shoved up my nose on my birthday.

That part of the testing probably took ten seconds at the most, but it felt like torture. For starters, I have a lot of sensory issues, especially when it involves my face. Many people may struggle to sit still for a COVID-19 test, but I was squeezing my eyes tight and forcing myself as much as I could to not pull back. Truthfully, it wasn’t as bad as I am making it sound, I am just dramatic.

Thankfully, the test was negative. I just had a stomach bug, so that bizarre part of my birthday was over.

Also thankfully, my sister exists. When we left the clinic after testing, my dad immediately called her and let her know what was up. She had him bring me to her house so we could get a drink on my birthday.

This tale is a bit rambling, and it doesn’t have a real point, minus the fact even the worst days can be turned around. What began with me panicking and getting swabbed ended with spending time with my sister and having a laugh. 

Maybe the days are the same lately, maybe this whole year has been strange, but good times and good memories still exist. We can still joke and smile.

Happy birthday to me.