A message from an ER nurse.
Tonight is the last night that I’ll hug my kids goodnight or kiss my husband until god knows when.
Community spread is now confirmed in my area and being an ER nurse means that the odds of being exposed over and over again are now a 100% guarantee. So I just wanted to talk to everyone stuck at home with your family, bored out of your mind and itching to get out. A little perspective is sometimes all you need to feel grateful for the things you have that others don’t.
Starting with my shift tomorrow, I’ll come home from work through my laundry room door that leads to the outside. I’ll strip naked including shoes and put everything straight into the washing machine on sanitize mode. Ill use a Clorox wipe to clean anything I touched in the process. I’ll then take the towel that my husband has left for me and use it to walk to my master bedroom covered up. In there, a room that nobody else is allowed to enter after today, I’ll shower on hot. After my shower I’ll sanitize everything I touched again, then hand sanitize and get dressed.
When I’m done with this process I’ll be able to sit in the family room 6 feet away from everyone I love, but not touch anyone- I’ll know I’ve been exposed. I’ll have been using the same single disposable face mask for minimum of an entire shift and I can’t be sure that the moisture from my breath didn’t render the mask ineffective. So I must treat myself as though I have it and am contagious.
I’ll get to talk to my husband and kids from a safe distance, but I won’t get to touch anyone I love. I’m not a hugger, but I anticipate that the next few weeks are likely to bring days where I could really use a hug. I won’t be able to have one. It’s the only way I can protect them.
If I’m hungry I’ll have someone fix me something on disposable dinnerware so that the worry of improperly sterilizing my utensils isn’t an issue. I’ll probably-scratch that, definitely- have wine out of a red solo cup as I answer a barrage of questions from my kids and try to ignore the look on my husbands face. I’ll probably have to assure my youngest for the millionth time, that mommy will stay safe. When that’s done, I’ll give the kids air hugs and wish them goodnight. When the kids go to bed I’ll be able to unload a little less censured to my husband- but the truth is, depending how bad it gets, I’ll probably lie a little. When exhaustion hits I’ll go to bed…..alone. In a room that nobody else can enter.
This will be my life, every day. Even my days off (until those are no more) because I could be contagious before showing symptoms. So until this thing is gone, my reality will look a lot different. I’ll probably hug my co-workers because they are just as dirty as me, but at a time of heaviness, I won’t be able to receive the human touch of love from the people who love me most. For weeks, for months, who knows- that part is in the hands of the public.
So my ask of you is this, as you sit at home with your children on your laps snuggled up watching a movie- please end this thing quickly by not going out unless absolutely necessary. My arms stay empty every day that you don’t. I go to bed alone every day that community spread is still a thing. Stay home. Hug your children, sleep with your spouse, eat on porcelain plates, sip wine from a long stemmed glass and give thanks for the things that you can still do that some of us can’t. I’m doing my part. Please do yours.