The weather seems hard-wired to my mood lately, we’ve had a stretch of grey wet days and I have found myself staring bleakly out the window and heaving great gusty sighs of discontent. Everything just seems so much more manageable when it’s nice outside.

I went on a non-essential-store outing for the first time since lockdown began, I happened to notice the new OPEN sign on a DSW shoe store that’s nearby and stopped in. It was cavernously empty, save for the sole employee behind the counter, and I didn’t even bother with a mask. On the one hand, it felt kind of normalizing and nice to just browse around for a while, on the other, it was weird (signs and floor markings everywhere and periodic dystopian-sounding recorded announcements about social distancing) and oddly more lonely than just being at home.

I mentioned this on Facebook but the hospice organization I volunteer with sent an email saying that volunteers are expected to be allowed back to work in the next couple weeks. They want to know who is willing to come back and under what conditions (are you willing to visit homes or facilities? Are you willing to have an ongoing patient or only be on call?), followed by this stumper of a question:

If you are coming back, what kinds of things do you want/need in order to feel safe?

Uhhhhhhhhhhh. To go back in time, I guess? Because wow, I have no idea.

I did have a patient Before, who has since passed away. We had briefly talked about the virus when it was just starting to become news, and she’d told me she was worried about it — although not for herself. She didn’t come right out and say, “What’s it going to do, kill me?” but it was implied. She was a funny, straight-shooting lady.

I would love to be able to start visiting a patient again but my gosh, I don’t know how to decide what that looks like for me. I guess for now my answer is “I need to think about this for a while,” because that is the truth.

Comments

5 Responses to “In order to feel safe”

  1. Amy Bridges on May 21st, 2020 7:19 pm

    When people tell me–a single gal about town who lives alone–that I should go for walks and pop into essential places like grocery stores that are open so that I can interact with other humans, they don’t realize how that makes me “oddly more lonely than just being at home”. This is really hard.

  2. Sharon on May 22nd, 2020 7:32 am

    When I’m standing in line for the grocery store the line wraps around to the TJ Max next door. I gaze in the dark store remembering how I used to wander around the store regularly only a couple of months ago. The taped floor lines and dividers tell me that my prior experience will probably not be “normal” again. A whole new world.

  3. Lisa n on May 22nd, 2020 2:02 pm

    It’s just the opposite for me – I like the bleak days because it fits my mood! I feel like when its nice out, Mother Nature is mocking me.

  4. michelleJ on May 22nd, 2020 3:19 pm

    YES! I keep coming up with scenarios and spouting them at my husband – rhetorically, really – when will WE feel safe doing so? Just because our governor now says we can visit small groups (well, not really yet, actually), will we drive up north to visit my MIL (certainly of an age where = heightened risk). Or, if the ten-year-old’s outdoor park/beach camp happens in July because larger groups are allowed by then, BUT WILL WE feel safe about it? It’s like we all have some form of PTSD-like hyper-nervousness about people and germs drilled into us for ten weeks now, and how do we move past that, personally?

  5. Mackenna on May 22nd, 2020 6:08 pm

    I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but the vast majority of deaths in Canada have happened in long term care homes. Including workers, so…probably wise to give this plenty of consideration.

    Apropos of your earlier blog entry on the hair salon visit, I got this update from my salon today:

    Salon imposing a 10% “COVID surcharge” for biz decline.
    Clients will:
    -be questioned about their health/contacts, have temperature taken, must bring mask for appt.
    -not get blowdries
    -have to wash hair before coming in. The only shampooing will happen for color appts.
    -must wait outside for appt. My stylist is always 1/2 hour late, so fun!
    -no magazines will be provided (bring our own), also no bags, just bring our wallet, cell phones)

    My hair looks pretty awful but for the cost and the exra cost, I’m happy waiting another 3 months for the second wave phase to pass. Sitting in a salon for two hours isn’t fun in normal times, but this…ugh! (I know, first world problems but f*k it.)

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