How Does This End?

Updated | Published

It is difficult to imagine how this pandemic ends. Does it play out regardless of what we do? How do we make sense of a world that is so vastly different? As health care providers, knowledge is power, but it also gives us more anxiety and more awareness of the dangers around us.

Specializes in Emergency Room. Has 15 years experience.

I Did Not Sign Up To Go To War.

How Does This End?

We Watched and Planned ...

My husband and I began watching the Covid-19 numbers in early January. I remember sitting in our living room during a typically dark, cold Minnesota Winter day and discussing how it was going to go down. We debated going to the "big city" the first weekend of February for fear that it had already made its way to the United States. My husband plotted graphs and looked at the exponential growth, and he made predictions about what might happen if it did get out of China. We bought extra food, essentials, and began to save money. We talked late into the night about the potential scenarios that might unfold.

And, Waited

I watched, in horror, as it began to make its way around the world, and everything that we talked about in late-night conversations started to materialize. My husband and I wished that we could be wrong. The lack of PPE and the rate of health care worker infection weighed heavily on our minds. We were already homeschooling and had begun stocking up, so when things shut down, we were already reasonably prepared. Few things changed in our daily routine, except the loss of a once a week preschool for our youngest, church for all of us, and an evening kids club and date night for the two of us. We are both in the high-risk category, so we hunkered down and waited ... and waited ... and waited ...

Now, the Uncertainty

I was fortunate (or unfortunate enough to be high risk) to be able to be off work for a while. I am headed back in a few weeks after spending an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime Summer with my husband and three young kids. I am anxious about how I will assimilate back into nursing. I am apprehensive about how I will feel coming home to my family after 12 hours of potential exposure. I am still fairly worried about the PPE situation. I have little trust in the government agencies who are guiding our direction in this pandemic.

At the end of the day, however, I am just weary. I am tired of seclusion, but also feel safer in it. I am tired of thinking about the future outcome for myself, my family, our finances, my world, OUR world. I am tired of the uncertainty. I am sad for my children and how this is all going to affect their future.

Questions Unanswered

How long do we do this?

How long do I go without seeing any extended family for fear of exposing them, or us?

How long do I hesitantly go out in public, debating whether I should wear a mask when no one else is?

How long do we keep our already homeschooled children away from social networks and peers?

How long do we stay home from church, our community lifeline?

How do we prepare financially, mentally, spiritually?

How do we, as a collective body of healthcare providers, ensure that the career we chose is honored and protected?

I did not sign up to go to war. I signed up to care for people, show compassion, educate, and advocate, but not at the cost of my own life. My family, indeed, never agreed to be exposed to the dangers that I may face when I go to work. How do I justify the costs for them?

These are all rhetorical questions and each of us has our own set of questions, all with no concrete answers. How does this end? I suspect it will play out regardless of what containment measures are put into place. It only takes one moment of weakness to be potentially exposed.

What are your questions? Your answers? How in the world does this end?

MeganMN has 14 years experience and specializes in Emergency Room.

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153 Comment(s)

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 19 years experience.

I was thinking of this in slightly different terms when I went to the store this past week and on entering was told by a person wiping carts and handing out masks to shoppers who came without one (Yes My local Stater Bros Market is doing this) and was told that from now on they would again be charging for grocery bags. I had been leaving my cloth bags at home due to stores not allowing them even though there was no clear CDC guidance about virus transmission via cloth grocery bags. I could now bring my bags again as long as I was willing to keep them in the cart and bag my own groceries.

As a person who embraces Libertarian ideas I very much resent government intrusion into the life of private citizens. Which is not to mean I am against face masks, vaccines, social distancing or the many other inconveniences that have come with this Brave New World. I wear a mask because I care about my fellow man, I get vaccines for the same reason (even though I am highly suspicious of a rushed to market Covid vaccine). I social distance not for my comfort (Because human beings were not meant to live in isolation) but recognize the reasonable fears that others may have and to help protect those in my community who may be more vulnerable to infection.

Still I don't foresee a return to what we baby boomers, and members of Generation Jones and Generation X have come to think of as normal. I see more people beginning to push back against local and federal laws preventing people from growing their own food, generating their own power, educating their own children etc... In my own area I am forbidden from growing fruits of vegetables in my own front yard. Neither can a raise a few chickens or a goat which would make my family more self sufficient. I must instead get everything from government approved and taxed sources in the name of progress.

Even with a vaccine this thing will still be out there and will continue to infect people. Only those who are truly immune and never get sick will be spared. Sadly the rest will simply die off and a new stronger species of human will develop over time. They will gather together and form guilds that include healers, farmers, hunters, artisans, teachers, religious and secular leaders that work together at the task of surviving and thriving. I feel that much of the technology that we have come to depend on will vanish and that may not be a bad thing. In generations to come humans will go back to normal life spans and not languish in nursing homes when they are in their 90's. It is my hope that the surviving groups may become more egalitarian and allowed to live as they feel nature intended them too without the boundaries of race, religion or gender.

In medicine when treating certain diseases it is necessary to remove the infected, damaged or dead tissue so that underlying healthy tissue can grow. I believe this is where we currently are.

Now I am going out to my front yard and planting my vegetable garden.

Hppy

JVBT, ASN

Specializes in clinic nurse. Has 6 years experience.

What I’m hearing most say is that a vaccine is our way out of this. In fact, when I first heard someone say this, about two months or more ago, I thought at the time, how pathetic that that’s the best we can do! Now I’m thinking, well it better be the case! I mean, let’s hope the vaccine works.

Personally, I was hoping for containment and mitigation, but we apparently have nothing but disdain for each other, with this group not caring about that group, and on and on in a boring fashion.

Finally, I was hoping that as a medical system we would re-jigger our priorities because of lessons learned from the pandemic. Specifically around racism and prevention.

Embedded structural inequities like redlining, underfunding of public schools, public sector/frontline employment, inability to afford healthy food, food swamps and the built environment, have contributed to disproportionate Covid-19 rates of infection, complications, and death among much of the country’s minority populations. But it’s important also to realize that, regardless of race or ethnicity, much of the destruction that SARS CoV-2 leaves behind clearly reveals the effects of diets high in processed food. As addictive as nicotine and heroin, processed food is a huge driver of hypertension, obesity, and diabetes – comorbidities one, two and three in Covid-19.

The paragraph above is found here, in a post I started a couple of days ago:

https://allnurses.com/the-case-mass-public-education-t722354/

However, entire groups (cities, states, healthcare companies) must engage in this to be successful. Will people care enough to make the links that ultra refined food leads to an inflamed body, ill health and susceptibility to Covid-19? Will we care enough to educate on mask wearing and protecting the vulnerable? Or will we put all our eggs in the vaccine basket?

Stay tuned.

DotardsToupe

Has 23 years experience.

4 hours ago, hppygr8ful said:

I was thinking of this in slightly different terms when I went to the store this past week and on entering was told by a person wiping carts and handing out masks to shoppers who came without one (Yes My local Stater Bros Market is doing this) and was told that from now on they would again be charging for grocery bags. I had been leaving my cloth bags at home due to stores not allowing them even though there was no clear CDC guidance about virus transmission via cloth grocery bags. I could now bring my bags again as long as I was willing to keep them in the cart and bag my own groceries.

As a person who embraces Libertarian ideas I very much resent government intrusion into the life of private citizens. Which is not to mean I am against face masks, vaccines, social distancing or the many other inconveniences that have come with this Brave New World. I wear a mask because I care about my fellow man, I get vaccines for the same reason (even though I am highly suspicious of a rushed to market Covid vaccine). I social distance not for my comfort (Because human beings were not meant to live in isolation) but recognize the reasonable fears that others may have and to help protect those in my community who may be more vulnerable to infection.

Still I don't foresee a return to what we baby boomers, and members of Generation Jones and Generation X have come to think of as normal. I see more people beginning to push back against local and federal laws preventing people from growing their own food, generating their own power, educating their own children etc... In my own area I am forbidden from growing fruits of vegetables in my own front yard. Neither can a raise a few chickens or a goat which would make my family more self sufficient. I must instead get everything from government approved and taxed sources in the name of progress.

Even with a vaccine this thing will still be out there and will continue to infect people. Only those who are truly immune and never get sick will be spared. Sadly the rest will simply die off and a new stronger species of human will develop over time. They will gather together and form guilds that include healers, farmers, hunters, artisans, teachers, religious and secular leaders that work together at the task of surviving and thriving. I feel that much of the technology that we have come to depend on will vanish and that may not be a bad thing. In generations to come humans will go back to normal life spans and not languish in nursing homes when they are in their 90's. It is my hope that the surviving groups may become more egalitarian and allowed to live as they feel nature intended them too without the boundaries of race, religion or gender.

In medicine when treating certain diseases it is necessary to remove the infected, damaged or dead tissue so that underlying healthy tissue can grow. I believe this is where we currently are.

Now I am going out to my front yard and planting my vegetable garden.

Hppy

Or you could always move out to the country, right? That's what I'd do.

Idiosyncratic, BSN, RN

Specializes in Maternal Child, Home Health, Med/Surg. Has 3 years experience.

2 hours ago, DotardsToupe said:

Or you could always move out to the country, right? That's what I'd do.

Same. My husband and I have already contemplated this, depending on future events.

A Hit With The Ladies, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych. Has 5 years experience.

14 hours ago, MeganMN said:

How long do we do this?

How long do I go without seeing any extended family for fear of exposing them, or us?

How long do I hesitantly go out in public, debating whether I should wear a mask when no one else is?

How long do we keep our already homeschooled children away from social networks and peers?

How long do we stay home from church, our community lifeline?

How do we prepare financially, mentally, spiritually?

How do we, as a collective body of healthcare providers, ensure that the career we chose is honored and protected?

1) You do this as long as you want to do it! I've been back in normal life (albeit wearing masks when I talk to people) for quite some time now.

2) I moved back in with my parents for the Summer! And I worked on the COVID unit at my psych hospital!

3) Everyone else went out in public. Heck, I went to the dentist today, got a root canal (Thank God he did it and I didn't have to wait for an endodonist referral!), and will be back in two weeks to get two dental crowns in. Someone not going out into the public is like a Japanese World War II soldier who refused to surrender after 1945, not believing the radio reports of the Showa Emperor's surrender.

4) Even the Director of the CDC said today that the risks of not sending kids back to school are worse than keeping them at home. Bear in mind that for many Corona-obsessed people, the CDC are treated as infallible gods, even though they've consistently been inconsistent for these past few months. So if those kids are in buildings with thousands of other kids, your homeschooled kids will be just fine.

5) The churches re-opened. Your choice whether or not you want to go. I'm an atheist so have always done just fine without religion, personally.

6) By turning off the news and not getting sucked into the fear-mongering and negativity. Seriously. A disease with a 98.5% survival rate is not exactly the coming Apocalypse so don't treat it as such.

7) By lobbying for hazard pay, joining a union, and telling people that applauding us at shift change is trite slacktivism and does nothing to better our situation. Also, lobby Krispy Kremes so they can bring back free dozen donuts on Mondays.

This nonsense ends when there's no more generous $600/week federal unemployment benefit monies after this month. People will have to go back to work, hell or high water, in order to pay their bills. Maybe those who are so paranoid of Corona will quit the labor force entirely and join socially-distances communes out in the wilderness. (I think we're better off not hearing from those people anymore, too.)

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 19 years experience.

1 hour ago, Idiosyncratic said:

Same. My husband and I have already contemplated this, depending on future events.

There aren't many places I would want to go! Possibly the Scottish Highlands or Ireland

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 28 years experience.

On 7/9/2020 at 8:45 PM, DotardsToupe said:

Or you could always move out to the country, right? That's what I'd do.

We already live there, and can self sustain for the most part

GracefullyGritty, LPN

Specializes in wound care/rehabilitative care. Has 5 years experience.

98.5% survival rate. I like that “A hit with the Ladies”. I also agree that we can control more of how we treat our bodies I.e. what foods we grow and/ or eat, how sustainable We can and should live sans government intrusion. I for one have decided when the times comes that my employer insists I have the Coronavirus “vaccine” I will decline. I mean heck we are still wearing masks and eye protection on my unit so I can handle a season of masking in an effort to say - my body is not a trial run for the rushed fix-. Sometimes it is just weary, weary indeed.

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

2 hours ago, GracefullyGritty said:

98.5% survival rate

That does not mean people return to their pre-COVID level of health. We officially posted the job opening for a trauma surgeon. Why? Because our 44 year old trauma surgeon who was perfectly healthy before becoming infected by a patient exposure will never be able to return to operating. He left the hospital several weeks ago. He still cannot function without supplemental oxygen. He will not be able to tolerate the rigors of the job of surgeon, let alone that of trauma surgeon. A 21? year old previously healthy woman in the Midwest required a lung transplant due the the damage done by COVID. Don’t mistake survival for quality of life.

Hysterical article.

PCU_RN9, MSN

Specializes in Health insurance nursing/ Cardiac nursing.

On 7/9/2020 at 10:46 PM, Idiosyncratic said:

Same. My husband and I have already contemplated this, depending on future events.

Same here