Coronavirus = an infectious disease caused by a new virus.
This ‘new’ virus is one that is causing havoc throughout the world. Are there other strands of coronavirus that have been around, yes, but this strand is different and it is spreading quickly. It’s not just a US thing or a Europe thing…it’s affecting everyone. If you want solace in the “least likely place” to contact COVID, move to the equator. They are saying the temperature around the equator at this time is the temp that the virus cannot live in. So therefore, with today being the first day of Spring, it gives me hope that life as we knew it will return.
What is life as I knew it? Being able to run into a grocery store or Wal-Mart and obtain what I needed when I needed it. Being able to go out to eat with friends without doing curb side service or delivery. Being able to interact with people on a daily basis without them being afraid of catching the new bug. Being able to attend church in a group greater than ten individuals without fear. Being able to go to work and not be waived through when they see my badge, as they stop and question everyone that enters the building.
Are there places that these are not ‘norm’ anyway…yes. I have been many places where this is not the norm. I have been to China where Christianity is not something that can publicly be celebrated or experienced. Their churches are underground. I have been to many third world countries (Haiti, Honduras, areas of Argentina) that the food and life that I have in the US is foreign to them in more ways than one. Food is not always available, clean water is not always available, and sanitation is not something that just happens — you have to work for it. A job is not always readily available to everyone, even if they have went through school.
One thing I am ready to have back to normal is work. Why work? Because it was a safe place. A place that I could go to to help others. Do we take precautions to protect ourselves from “stuff”? Most definitely. I wear my hair up off my collar and away from my face; when people ask “why”…I say, “because I don’t want ‘stuff’ in it. There is always stuff that you come into contact with (that they DO NOT talk about in Nursing school), that one has to protect themselves from. We always wash our hands, actually in nursing school it was a check off we had to pass to continue in the program — we had to pass ‘hand washing’, that’s how important it was.
What does being at work mean now? It means taking extra precautions and basically wearing a mask 24/7 while I am there. It means having an extra level of stress because people are afraid of the unknown and they come in seeking answers. It means being mentally exhausted because everything changes daily, sometimes hourly. We are continually updated throughout the day on the changes that are happening (and the team at my facility is rocking it).
But what it also means is that life is actually going on as we know it. We are still treating stroke victims, we are still assisting in cardiac arrest/STEMI’s, we are still dealing with telling individuals they have cancer for the first time, and we are dealing with death. So life is totally different yet the same for us when we walk through the doors each shift. It’s different because the traffic is more like weekend traffic during the week, because schools and jobs are shut down and no one is going anywhere; but when the doors swish shut behind me, it’s the same with some added precautions and updates to our charting.
In nursing school I participated in a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience when the hospital I was doing my clinical at built a new facility and we “moved” the hospital one day. All the patients were transferred to the new location, starting with the ICU. Now as a nurse, seven years into this experience, I am again experiencing a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience of being on the ‘front lines’ in a pandemic that is sweeping the country. Of course my parents are a little more worried about this experience, but as Mordecai told Esther, “for such a time as this”. When you choose a profession because you want to help people, what better way to help them than to be there for them when their world is crashing around them (didn’t think it would be so literal).
I am torn on how I feel and think of this ‘virus’. I know it is detrimental to some, but so is the flu. They say this is more respiratory related than the flu. Will I always remember this time, most definitely. It is keeping me from visiting a friend on my time off because he has lung cancer — though I have no symptoms, I know I have more than likely been in contact with this and I do not want to expose him and his family to the possibility. But in the end, I say ‘it is well’.
My world has been altered, plans have changed, life is different but the same, I am exhausted mentally, the economy is having hot flashes and who knows how that will end, and I do not know what tomorrow truly holds…but ‘it is well’ and I know who holds tomorrow. As the Sunday School song states, “He’s got the whole world in his hands, He’s got the whole wide world in His hands” (the little children, the elderly, the healthcare workers, the emergency personnel, the moms and dads, EVERYONE); and ‘IT IS WELL’.