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.
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.
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?