I am a health care worker. Although, I must admit, I don’t feel as if I have any right to say that.
I don’t work in a hospital. I’m not a doctor or a nurse. I’m not on the front lines of COVID 19, treating people, watching them die, putting myself at an even higher risk. I’m not doing any of that.
So what am I doing?
I’m working to keep it out.
As many of you know I work in retirement living. Which means that I’m working with the most at risk population for COVID 19 – senior citizens. Even though our activities department is shut down, we as a staff have joined forces to do everything in our power to make sure that nobody in our building becomes sick with Coronavirus. Because we all know how quickly it can travel and how devastating it could be.
Per the order from Washington State governor Jay Inslee, we have shut down the facility to all visitors unless it is deemed medically necessary. We have hand washing stations at each door, at least three different hand sanitizer stations in both lobbies and require any person who walks through our doors to be screened immediately upon entry.
Our residents can’t see their children. They can’t see their grandchildren or their friends. Those who don’t drive can’t get off the premises. Those who can are afraid to. These people are confined to our building only and the activities department is doing everything we can in order to help alleviate some of the stress. They aren’t getting exercise or social interaction. They’re cooped up. Isolated. Scared.
And so are we.
The stress level is high amongst the staff and the last few weeks have been really rough as we learn how to work together in this environment. Not only are the times hard but we are seeing each other a lot more during our days than we ever have before. We’re no longer busy doing our own work. Everything has stopped and the only thing that now matters is the health and safety of our residents and ourselves. There are tears almost daily, tense conversations and outbursts as we try to work together to keep Coronavirus out of our building.
To keep them safe.
Yesterday our head nurse pulled myself and two others into an office to just chat about our feelings. We’re all feeling it but nobody would say it. So we sat there and were honest with each other and cracked those dark jokes and cried just a little. And I left work yesterday feeling that if I had to face the apocalypse with anybody in the world, I sure am glad it’s with them.
To those of you working the front lines. Thank you. Stay strong. Stay healthy.
To those of you who are at home. Hang in there. This won’t last forever.
And do us all a favor and stay the fuck home.
Stay healthy Seattle.