Why Stay Home?

As we work our way through another week of staying at home & continuing to practice physical distancing, many of us are experiencing a wee bit of angst and most likely, boredom.

We may be feeling the need to get out, to see & hug our family & friends, to return to a sense of normal.

I get it!  I feel you.

But here’s the thing.

In a nutshell, my current day to day struggle consists of not being able to physically see & hug my loved ones, not being able to go to a job I love and coming up with creative ways to exercise and fill my day while honouring rules of physical distancing.

Imagine, if you can, how it would feel to be a front line healthcare worker. The stress, the worry, the utter exhaustion.  My struggles, although very real to me, pale in comparison.

My daughter & “T”

Allow me to introduce “T”.

A best friend to my daughter from a very young age, I have had the privilege of knowing this beautiful soul for many, many years.  She is like another daughter to me.

”T” is an ICU nurse in one of our local hospitals, a job that doesn’t get more front line in the face of this monster virus.  In fact both she & her husband work in healthcare; they have 2 precious daughters at home.

When she recently posted a picture of herself  & a colleague at work,  it got me thinking about the reasons we need to stay home.  When I asked for permission to share the picture, explaining I was thinking of writing a post about the importance of staying home, I was given the go ahead without hesitation.  “Anything to get the word out”.

I asked T if she could provide me with some thoughts and insight into what she & her colleagues are experiencing.  With her permission, I would like to share some of them with all of you.

Some of her words have been reconfigured with a combination of my own.  I ask you to read them.  All of them.  They are important to understand.

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From T:

My first thought is how I can definitely see when people are staying at home, you can begin to wonder, is this really necessary? On my days off, to some degree, I feel it too. Is it really a big deal to go out?  Is this virus really serious?  While life inside the confines of our house can feel eerily “normal”, we wonder if it is normal everywhere else.

It is not normal everywhere else, especially when I return to the reality at work.  I now leave my house much earlier for my shift, as all staff must enter through one entrance at the hospital, where we are screened to be cleared for work.  If you fail screening, you are sent home to wait for a call from occupational health for next steps.  If you pass screening, you are issued a surgical mask and allowed to enter. In spite of our pleas to be provided hospital scrubs, we continue to wear our own.  We were sent an email on how to properly wash our scrubs.  At the end of our shift, we are responsible for bagging our scrubs in a plastic bag, at which point we take them home to be laundered.  Prior to being laundered, they must stay in the garage for several days. Silver Lining from T (my words) – I did discover I have a sanitize feature on my washing machine!😁

Every time I go back to work, I feel a little more shocked with how many patients are sick.  Not just old people.  Young people.  I have never cared for so many people my own age (33) before in ICU.

The surgical mask that is given to us at the entrance is ours for the shift.  We wear it at all times except on break.  The straps that sit behind our ears have rubbed most people’s skin raw.  Colleagues have found wearing a headband or surgical cap with buttons on it allows us to place the ear loop over the button, to help prevent skin breakdown.

T & her colleague

I had asked T why she was wearing two masks in this picture.

In the ICU, when caring for covid patients, they are usually on a ventilator.  Ventilators can cause the covid droplets to aerosolize which means we wear special N95 masks. We are critically low on them.  Because of the critical shortage, we are now being told we have to conserve these special masks as much as possible.  That means we now put one on and use it for the whole shift, a practice that would have been a huge no-no a few weeks ago.  In order to try to keep our mask safe, we put a second surgical mask with a face shield over our N95 when caring for a patient.  The surgical mask is removed and placed in the garbage when leaving a patients’ room and we keep the N95 mask on. N95s are not comfortable to wear for long periods of time.  They itch, are very hot and the straps dig into your face.  They are fit to each individual and we are retested every 2 years to ensure proper fit.  Although a number of wonderful local community members & businesses have donated their supply, we still fear running out.**

Last Friday, our manager came around at the end of our shift, to explain why we may not be getting anymore masks, thus implementing a new process of saving our N95s at the end of our shift.  This was devastating news, leaving many of us in tears.  We are now required to place our N95 in an autoclave bag, in the hopes that they can figure out how to sanitize them for reuse.   We have no plans to reuse masks yet.  They are trying to be proactive just in case.  So we label the mask with our name, our department and date, so if they can clean it, our own mask will come back to us for reuse. Again, not at all proper protocol. (my words)

The hospital has enacted an emergency order, where they can recall staff from other areas with critical care experience.  Nurses who have left for other areas of the hospital are back to try to ensure we have enough nurses to handle the needs in ICU.

In my own personal life, I am experiencing a lot of anxiety.  Having never been an anxious person, it has been truly eye opening to live life with constant anxiety.  I have a greater understanding now for people who suffer from anxiety and how awful it is on every aspect of your life.

Being a two healthcare worker household has been a huge source of anxiety.  I wish one of us had a job where we could work from home so one of us could stay with the girls. Thankfully, our daycare provider, who is a family member, has agreed to continue to take the girls.  Friends of mine who also have two healthcare worker families have adopted various strategies to try to make this work.  Some are working opposite shifts to their spouse, some have sent their children to live with other family members so they aren’t risking infecting their children or other family.

Other ways it is impacting work.  We are no longer allowing visitors, which is a huge change as we have always had a very open visitors policy.  As a nurse, it is breaking my heart.  I try to give phone updates as often as I can to family members, we have been attempting to use patient’s phones to FaceTime with their loved ones if possible.  When someone is dying, it is absolutely crushing to not let families come to be with their loved one.  We sit at our patients bedside holding hands, ensuring they are not alone.

When I finish my shift at the end of the day, I usually drive the long way home to give myself time to process the day.  I often cry.  Sometimes I am just too tired for tears.  I don’t listen to the radio much as I can’t bear to hear another news update.  I don’t need to hear the news, I am living the news.  I need silence.

The calm of home is my refuge.  The normalcy of my girls wanting hugs, kisses and stories is welcome.  But as soon as I am home, I worry about my colleagues. I think about the patients and wonder if they are doing any better.

Mostly, on the days I am off, I try to be thankful.  I try to enjoy my kids as much as possible, even when they’re driving me crazy because we’ve all been cooped up.

But I’m scared.  I’m scared of how bad this could get if people don’t stay home.  I’m scared of running out of essential protective equipment.  I’m scared of my colleagues getting sick or me or my husband.  I’m scared if my colleagues get sick, who will take care of the other sick people.

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So my friends, if you were wondering why it is necessary to stay home, if you are feeling a little bored or impatient, I hope reading the thoughts of one remarkable ICU nurse has helped to put things into perspective.  It certainly did mine.

T, I hope you know how much I love you, how very proud I am of you for all that you are doing to care for those who are battling the impacts of this virus.  In spite of all of the challenges you are facing, you and your colleagues return to the front line day after day, working in very stressful circumstances with minimum supplies.  We will forever be in your debt for the exceptional care you provide day in, day out.

Thank you for taking the time and having the courage to share your thoughts & for giving me permission to share them with others.

Please Stay Home people!

Hugs,

L💞

**3M is the primary manufacturer of the N95 masks.  The White House administration was attempting to prevent 3M from shipping supplies to Canada and other countries it currently has supply agreements with.  3M has thus far stood up to the White House, suggesting this is not an ethical approach, and has appeared to reach an agreement to continue providing masks.  Stay tuned to see how that plays out.  Sourced from CTV News

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My Trifecta Shirt

A few months ago, in the beautiful shop where I work, I was drawn to this shirt.

Not only was it cozy, but I loved the message.

Believe there is good in the world.

I had worn it a few times before I realized there was a message within the message.  A customer pointed it out when I had it on one day in the shop. (Not kidding 😂)

Be the good.

It has become my favourite go to shirt.

With our world feeling so turned upside down, I felt it was worth sharing today.  To spread a message of something other than doom & gloom. To share a smile, a virtual hug & kiss.

So in my attempt of finding a good angle for a selfie, which I totally suck at by the way, I noticed a 3rd message staring back at me.  One of my very favourite words.

Believe.

Big hugs & kisses💕

I hope that you are all managing okay through these stressful times.  When all else fails, remember to Believe.  

We will get through this together.  Stay safe, stay well & stay home.

Hugs,

L💕

 

 

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Sorting it all out

Because we are housebound, many of us older folks have resorted to tackling jobs we have been putting off for a very long time.  I feel the need to clarify older folks as I suspect the younger generation are just too busy trying to find ways to entertain their children through such turbulent times.

So, I apologize to my younger readers, for as you are most likely pulling your hair out by now, I am in search of the next closet that needs to be pulled apart and sorted.  

I know.  I AM SORRY 😐 

 

I’ve been talking about tackling various clean out projects for, well forever, if I’m honest🤔.  

It seems forever has arrived.  My closets have never looked so organized, nor have my stainless steel appliances that I seem to have time to polish everyday!  

I am certainty nowhere close to being done, there are still many to go but, you know, I have some time! 

What are you doing to pass the time?  

If you have children, how are you managing?  Do you have any hair left?

Hugs,

L💕

 

 

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Be the Calm in the Storm

Unless you happen to live in a very remote part of our planet with no access to technology of any sort, you are most likely feeling a little stressed as a result of our current state of affairs!

We are maneuvering through very challenging times. It’s unnerving to say the least.

But here is the message I felt compelled to share with you today:

Be the calm in the storm.

I am not suggesting you bury your head in the sand or not stay informed.  It is important we keep up to date through reliable sources, but rather than be that person overloading on the incessant talk of Covid-19, allowing the feeling of panic to seep in to every pore of our being, I encourage you to take a deep breath and practice a bit of normal each day; to remain calm.

Panic creates panic.  Lord knows we are all feeling it but all the more reason for us to collectively work together to reset the balance we know as everyday life.

Find creative ways to connect with loved ones & friends, especially those who may be facing such challenging times on their own.  Reassure those who are feeling anxious that we will get through this….together….because we will.

Last evening, prompted by one of my very dear girlfriends, we rallied a group of us via conference call, shared a glass of wine (or two) & just chatted for about an hour.  It was so good to hear their voices rather than via text or email.  To just catch up.

One of the gals shared that she had spent the last few days sorting through that giant bin of LEGO most of us have in our houses from when our kids were small.  She found it to be a very satisfying activity, reorganizing all of the pieces, colour coding them and dividing them into bins so that one (her grandchildren) could actually find what they were looking for.

Then she sent us this picture this morning which literally made me laugh out loud!  The caption read, “Brought in reinforcements to help hold down the fort”.

“Brought in reinforcements to help hold down the fort”

I know who I shall be building with next time I play with LEGO. Brilliant right?😲.

Be the calm in the storm my friends.  We will get through this.💕

What are you doing to pass the time?  Do tell!

Hugs,

L❤️

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Celebrate Love

In the opening scene of the movie Love Actually, the narrator, Hugh Grant, suggests that whenever he gets gloomy about the state of the world, he thinks about the arrival gates at Heathrow Airport.  He then goes on to say that although general opinion suggests we live in a world filled with hatred & greed, that in fact, love is all around, we simply need to look for it.

The scene gets me every single time.  Maybe I am just a big sap, some might even suggest I am a Pollyanna, but I think the real reason is just that I tend to agree.  Love truly is all around us.

Don’t believe me?  I encourage you to open your eyes & have a look.

Take a little extra time to remind the people around you just how very much they are loved.  Let them know they matter.  That they are valued & such a very important part of your world.

It seems only fitting during the holiday season to call attention to this important message. For isn’t love the best gift we could ever give & receive?

Whatever you celebrate over the holidays, I wish you love!

Hugs,

L❤️

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Here’s An Idea

Yesterday was Federal Election Day here in Canada.  It was probably one of our most talked about Federal elections to date, in part because Canadian citizens were very undecided on which candidate to vote for.  Sadly voter turnout numbers did not reflect the amount of chatter leading up to Election Day.

For the record, I voted.  It is a right I do not take lightly, regardless of how lame I may feel our choices are.  It is still a choice I get to make.  Yay for democracy!🎉

But I must say, I am glad it’s over.  I was getting very tired of reading all of the hate mongering/mud slinging/non factual posts on social media and the like. Seriously people, check your facts before you toss your bullshit around for all to read.

Admittedly I am not a political kind of gal.  While I certainly try to educate myself on the parties’ platforms, I refrain from inflicting my rants on social media. It’s just a personal choice.

So the results are in.  Love it or hate it, we are stuck with a minority government.

There were many this morning who were not surprised at the outcome of our election and there were those who were pissed.  Royally pissed.  Still ranting on social media.

For the love of Pete,  can we all just grow up & work together, regardless of which political party we align ourselves with?  I personally don’t think there is one elected official who signs up for that job without the best interest of this country at heart.

The challenge, once in office,  seems to be getting government colleagues to get out of the way of their own egos & work collectively towards common goals to ensure our country in its entirety is the best it can be.

So here’s an idea.  How about we make an extra effort to encourage our government officials to work together for the common good of the citizens of Canada and play nice out on the playground?  After all, isn’t peace keeping part of what we stand for as a nation?🇨🇦

With that said, while I welcome all comments & thoughts, I will not entertain bullshit here so if you feel the need to spew a bunch of crap, keep it to your social media profile please.  I have most likely already blocked you from my feed anyway.  Just sayin’!

Hugs,

L❤️

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So Here’s the Thing

I know that there has been a lack of words written here over the past number of months.  So many of you have reached out to ask if I am still writing which truly touches my heart to know that you even care.

Let’s face it, life just gets challenging & really hard sometimes.  We’ve all experienced it.

Unexpected bumps and dips in the road that occur for a multitude of reasons, causing us to spend our energies elsewhere.   We do the best we can to swerve around the bumps & dig ourselves out of the dips, all the while trying to keep our sanity intact!  Some days if feels like a constant uphill battle.

That’s me standing in the boat, clearly not paying attention to the golden rule: You should never stand up in a boat!

But we continue to climb, to fall & to get up again to dust ourselves off and muster on.  We remind ourselves that there are far worse challenges people are facing every single day than our own.

I am still here, in spite of my absence and I remain confident that calmer days are in store, days that hopefully look a little more like this!

This is more the vibe I am going for! Maybe I should trade in my car for a kayak! 😂

Hey, one can dream!

Until then, I thank you for your love & your support. I hope to once again have time to pick up my writing.  I certainly feel like I still have lots left to share.  I hope you’ll stay with me!

Hugs,

L💕

 

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Hanging By A Thread

One of the unexpected surprises when I started blogging, was the friendships that are formed all over the world. I am so grateful to have met my friend Joanne who lives relatively near by and who is always up for a new challenge!

We recently connected & when I suggested she join me in giving aerial yoga a try, she was all in! Although I have now been a few times, it was Joanne’s first time. I so admire that her sense of adventure never stops her from trying new things!

So great to spend time together Joanne! Who knows what fun we shall get into next!

My Life Lived Full

I have been lucky over the past several years to meet and develop a ‘real world’ friendship with a number of great fellow bloggers. One of those is Lynn from Life After 50.

We actually live relatively close to one another and this week Lynn invited me to join her to try something new – to me, not her.

I know – you’re shocked. Me. Something new.

In a large old industrial building in Bowmanville – behind this wonderful heavy metal door – I met with Lynn to give aerial yoga a try.

If you aren’t familiar with it, aerial yoga involves using a large silk hammock to support, stretch, and invert the body through a series of yoga moves.

Meet Lynn!

It sounds intimidating but I’m game to try most things at least once.

I’m not exactly the most graceful and coordinated person in the world and I had…

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Keepin’ it Real

Warning: I may have dropped the F Bomb in this post…more than once!

In a recent conversation with a friend who was experiencing some challenges, they expressed that their life sometimes felt like a total fuck up.

I assured them they had not won the prize on that one!

However it did get me to thinking.

We live in a world, where on a daily basis, we are bombarded with images of people seemingly living richer, fuller and more adventurous lives.

People working in more exciting jobs & wearing more fashionable clothing.

People who travel the globe with what appears to be an endless supply of income.

People who are married to the perfect partner & have miraculously created the perfect family who all live in a perfect home.

People living a life we can only dream of.

But are they really?

I believe a more accurate statement might be, we are inundated with images depicting people living perfect lives.

For aren’t we/they just all showing the best sides of our life?

If any one of us stepped in to someone else’s life, I suspect it wouldn’t be long before we recognised that they too, live in an imperfect world.

One where they might not feel valued. One where they experience disappointment.  One where they struggle with anxiety & fear.  One where they may feel the weight of loneliness & sadness.

And yet, so many of us are reluctant to share these sides of ourselves.  We hold our not so perfect or vulnerable parts in a safe place, in many cases locked deep inside, for fear that in sharing them, we may be exposed for all to see, that somehow we just don’t quite measure up.

With depression & suicide rates on the rise, it would stand to reason that we could all benefit from a little less perfect in our lives.

After a lengthy conversation with my friend, commiserating on all things not so perfect, aka fucked up, they thanked me for keeping it real.

It doesn’t take a whole lot to assure someone they are not alone, to let them know that most of us in fact, on any given day, can hold the fucked up trophy. 🏆

Sharing our not so perfect sides of ourselves can be equally as important as sharing our successes.

I encourage you to keep it real!

Hugs,

L💕

 

 

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Making Changes

When the calendar flips to a brand new year, many of us often find this a good time to reflect on what we might like to change moving forward.

Those changes vary for each of us, for only within our own hearts do we know what we need to alter or work on in order to feel more fulfilled.

I have never been a fan of New Years resolutions but here is what I am a fan of.

I do think it is important to pause & give thought to everything we feel good about in our life and alternatively, to determine what we might need to change in order to help us grow to our full potential.  To live our best life.

Some of those changes are hard.  Some require an awful lot of work. Some may even seem insurmountable.  But I assure you, they are possible.  We only need to take the first step needed to start us in the direction we want to go.

So as you look forward to 2019, I encourage you to make the necessary changes to lead you towards the best life you envision.

If you falter or fail,  keep putting one foot in front of the other, grab hold of a hand if you need to, but don’t ever stop trying.

With some perseverance and perhaps a little learning along the way, the reward can only be that much sweeter when we achieve the change we hoped to accomplish.

Whatever dreams you envision for 2019, I wish you a year that is filled with joy & adventure & most of all, love.

Happy New Year!

Hugs,

L💛

 

 

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