Updated: Jul 2, 2020
Nerve-wracking. Complicated. Confusing. Draining.
These are just a few words to describe my week, as cases of COVID19 are spreading throughout the world and more people are falling ill and being hospitalized.
Supplies are scarce. People are re-wearing their one-time-use masks. If they are lucky enough, they have a N95. Others, however, are using surgical masks, or as suggested by the CDC, one could use a bandana or scarf to "protect themselves." (Umm... What?!)
As all of this chaos is going on around me, I often think about my late parents.
Believe it or not, I am actually relieved that they aren't here for this.
When I graduated as a nurse in 2010 and got my first job at the University of Maryland Medical Center, my parents were both proud and nervous. Not only was I the baby of the family, but I have a chronic medical condition, type 1 diabetes (T1D). I understand the fears they had - my disease puts me in the "vulnerable category" and I would be exposed to various illnesses and diseases every shift.
I vividly remember conversations with both of my parents, telling me to "be careful," and "make sure to check your blood sugar."
Fast forward to 2020 and the COVID19 pandemic. A time when I am seeing patients in my surgical mask (not a recommended N95). A time when I am evaluating children in an outpatient setting, not knowing if they have COVID19, because many kids are completely asymptomatic. A time when there are paper towel and toilet paper shortages because people are fearful of being quarantined for an extended period of time. A time where "social distancing" became a popular term.
My parents would have LOST THEIR MINDS. Not only does their baby have T1D, but she is seeing patients, unprotected, during a pandemic.
So although it sounds morbid for me to say that I am relieved they are not here for all of this, please understand why. My mother passed away from metastatic uterine cancer and my father died of complications from myelodysplastic syndrome. Telling them that I couldn't see them or hug them because I could be carrying this virus, and wouldn't want to potentially expose them would have broken mine and their hearts.
This is an extremely difficult time for all medical professionals. Doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other medical personnel are not seeing their family members in order to reduce the risk of spreading COVID19 to their loved ones.
Before you go to a party, the playground, or that play date because you are a healthy and young individual, remember that someone there could have asthma or their parent is undergoing chemotherapy. Although you may not get severely ill, they will. Remember that your "innocent" outing is one of the reasons people will need to be turned away from the ER, because they are simply overrun, and there are not enough resources.
I am thankful that my parents (in their late immunocompromised state) are not subjected to those ignoring the advice of health officials to practice social distancing.
My message to you all is to continue social distancing. Play your part and do the right thing. Stay home.
Until next time,