COVID Diary 2


If I stay in my job I could get sick and be sick for a long time
If I stay in my job I could die.
If I stay in my job and die then my kids lost a parent
If I don't stay in my job maybe I could see my kids.
If I don't stay in my job my kids could get sick anyway
If I don't stay in my job we won't have benefits.
If I don't stay in my job my full-time position might go away, too

I played this mortality game last night. I am willing to sacrifice everything to keep my children safe and yet I have no guarantees that they would be. It's all a crapshoot, but I can't sleep if there's an action I could be taking. Is there? None of these combinations stand out as winners. My fate might already be sealed tight, like the doors of a hospital isolation room.

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Got up early for the "healthcare hours" at the grocery store. 7am after finishing a 12 the night before? I showed my badge upon entering but it didn't seem anyone is being screened, really. The hours hadn't been advertised very well, and there were definitely shoppers who don't fit the category. But the workers were smiling, and pointed me toward some carts they had recently sprayed down. Some people wore full-blown N-95s in the soup aisle. Some wore gloves. I thanked the cashier for his work.

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On Sunday I helped a man eat. Sometimes we're pulled into hospital rooms and have to swing into gear without knowing the diagnosis. He needed assistance, I was told, so I grabbed a towel to cover his chest and offered small bites of pureed meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Feeding adult patients in the hospital brings back memories of helping my kids when they were small. My patient insisted on lifting the cup of milk to his mouth. I leaned in at an awkward angle to be ready to save him from a spill. He held his lips open and lifted the cup at a rate that was unbearably slow, and yet I could not discourage this show of independence. When the cup appeared to stop its trajectory about six inches away, I gently supported his hands and told him I'd take it from here. I praised him for working so hard to that point. I lifted the cup to his mouth and he took a drink and I am unable to care for my own children.


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