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.

****************************************************************

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.

****************************************************************

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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53 Responses to Why Stay Home?

  1. beverley burgess says:

    Thanks Lynn for sharing T’s life changing experiences –they ALL need our thoughts and especially prayers right now to get through this mess. We miss all our family and friends at this particular time but, thank goodness we have facetime !!! And please, please people–“Stay the Blazes Home”

    • Lynn says:

      Bev, I know how close to home this is for you. I am so grateful for T allowing me to share this.

      We too, are missing our family & friends and yes, thank goodness for FaceTime, Zoom & Houseparty!

      Take good care & thank you so much for taking the time to stop by & leave a comment today💕

  2. Al says:

    Wow. Lynn, this is such an eye opener. While we all imagined what it must be like to be at the “front” – this strikes at our very hearts. Please convey this to “T” and ask her to tell all her colleagues what an appreciative nation we are.And thank you for posting it.

  3. George says:

    This is a great wakeup call, Lynn. Every time I feel a little trapped or frustrated, I think about those health care professionals and what they have to see everyday and how they have to worry about their lives and those of their spouses and children. The least we can do is respect and appreciate their work so it doesn’t become more difficult for them and we can hopefully bring this to an end sooner rather than later. Thank you.

    • Lynn says:

      George, I totally agree. I admit, this whole self isolation & social distancing is a real challenge for us (me) social birds but it is vital for us to stay the course in the coming days in order to take this monster down.

      Thank you so much for reading through. It is a longer post than I typically write but I felt the message was to important not to share.

      Take good care🤗

  4. Reblogged this on Musings and Wonderings and commented:
    Thank you so much for this letter and especially the letter from “T”. I hope more people read this and understand the seriousness of this time.

  5. Norm 2.0 says:

    Excellent reminder Lynn. Hopefully hearing from front-line healthcare workers helps make the gravity of the situation sink in. I wonder at times if it’s hard for some people to see the connection to a threat that isn’t actually tangibly visible…until it’s too late. I mean someone points a gun at you, or a speeding car is heading right at you; these are dangers we recognize immediately.
    An invisible little virus not so much for many people…

    • Lynn says:

      So true Norm. I saw a photo posted the other day with bits all through the photo representing the Covid-19 virus. The caption read, “ if you could see this, would you continue to go out?” It was a ver6 powerful visual.

      It looks like Quebec is really struggling with very high numbers😔. I hope you & your loves are all safe & well. 💕

  6. Glen and Carolyn MacDonald says:

    Such a powerful entry Lynn! The more people who read it the better. Please thank T for sharing this experience. We also hear frightening stories from our daughter-in-law in New York state who is also a nurse and has family members in hospital with a positive Covid-19 diagnosis. What becomes so evident more than anything is the extreme anxiety this pandemic has created. The very, very least we can do is “stay home!!”

    • Lynn says:

      I will be sure to pass your thanks along to T. Yes, J&M have been keeping us posted on what if happening with B’s family members & hospital situation. My heart aches for all of them😔.

      I fear the toll all of this is taking on our healthcare workers, such a nightmare. Please give B&I our love when you are talking to them.

      Love & hugs 🤗😘

  7. Sheree says:

    Thank you for sharing this. It’s always enlightening to hear from those at the frontline who truly deserve our heartfelt gratitude. Conditions in France are strict and we’re observing them, both the spirit and the letter.

    • Lynn says:

      This young woman means so much to me Sheree and after hearing her thoughts about what she & her colleagues are experiencing, I felt compelled to share them.

      Good to hear France has enforced strict measures and that people are abiding by them. For the most part here in Canada, I think people are adhering to regulations that have been put into place, but there still seems to be those who just don’t think it applies to them😔.

      Thank you for your visit my friend. Stay well💕

  8. JD says:

    Hi Lynn

    Thank you my friend for this wonderful blog; it really hit me, such a great message so I shared it with a number of friends; I have received comments and/or thanks from almost every one I sent it to! I myself haven’t left the house in over 3 weeks except for little neighbourhood walks; I have looked at this as a little project to see long I can make groceries/supplies etc last/stretch. I am always happy to learn something new. I am so fortunate and thankful to be able to work from home so staying home is a little something I can do.

    Take care and stay safe,
    JD

    • Lynn says:

      JD, thank you so much for sharing it with your friends, it is so important that we get the message out for people to abide by self isolation & physical distancing.

      We too, have been hunkered down, with the exception of heading out for a walk or a bike ride out in the country, all the while ensuring we maintain our distance.

      I love that you are using this as an exercise to see how long it takes to use up what you have in your home for groceries. I suspect many of us will come out if this realizing we have way more than we need!

      Again, thank you so much for spreading the word and visiting here today. You rock girlfriend 😘

  9. Thank you for sharing the words of someone on the front lines. What we are giving up – by staying home to self-isolate – pales in comparison to what others are sacrificing. I, like you, was shocked at the actions of the White House. Shocked, but not surprised, unfortunately. Take care and stay healthy. Oh, and a heartfelt “thanks” to T and all the healthcare worker angels.

    • Lynn says:

      Janis, I will be sure to pass your thanks along. I honestly cannot fathom the stress our healthcare workers are feeling.

      Sadly, nothing surprises me with the current administration in the White House. While I understand the mindset to want to ensure your own population is covered & cared for, refusing to allow a company fill its commitments to international paying customers speaks volumes about where you stand on humanity as a whole.

      My understanding is there has been an agreement made. Fingers crossed that happens.💕

  10. Chris says:

    Thank you Lynn and T for your heartfelt look into your world. Where would we be without you and your colleagues on the front lines. Staying at home is the easy part!

  11. Joanne Sisco says:

    This is one of those posts where I’m simply at a loss for words. I can’t imagine the stress, the fear, the grief our healthcare workers are experiencing. The line ” I don’t need to hear the news, I am living the news.” says it all 😢

    • Lynn says:

      Joanne, this post morphed into something totally different than my original thoughts.

      When I asked T if she could share a little insight on how this is impacting her, I was overcome with emotion when she sent me her thoughts. There was no doubt in my mind, I needed to share, the only question was whether she felt comfortable. When I sent her the draft to read, I told her if she was the slightest bit uncomfortable, I totally respected her wishes and we could just call it an exercise between she & I. This post was the result of her courage to share her experience. I am so grateful for that & hope in some small way, she was able to release some feelings that I am sure one has no idea how to process.

      As always, thank you for reading my friend.😘

      • Joanne Sisco says:

        This was a very touching post and gave us insight into the realities of work on the front line. I was particularly emotional at her comment that when informed they might need to reuse their masks, they cried. It speaks to their fear … and yet they show up for work everyday. If that isn’t courage, then I don’t know what is.

      • Lynn says:

        Courage at its finest❤️

  12. Tobin says:

    It is with deepest gratitude and respect that I thank you for taking time to share “T”s story. This is a great opportunity to effect behavioural change by simply personalizing the reality and highlighting how we can all make an impact by staying the course, isolating and challenging ourselves to be diligent in reducing risk.

    I know this story very personally. I cried when I read it. The Mom in me cant fix it right now. But we can all do our part. We can say I love you a little more often, say I am proud of what you do. We can all be a little more human and try to find some good in all the chaos.

    And if I have never said it before Lynn, I thank you for loving my daughter.

    • Lynn says:

      Oh Tobin, it is my absolute pleasure to share T’s story. You have raised such an incredible and compassionate woman, which is a direct reflection of all that she has been taught through her wonderful parents.

      When I read what she sent me, I too, just sat & cried. As a mom, I can’t imagine the worry you are experiencing. The need to share her story was important to me but I wanted to be respectful of how she felt about it. It takes courage to openly share our challenges and your daughter didn’t hesitate for one second. I am so grateful for her giving me permission to share, it is a story many of us need to hear.

      Be well my friend and thank you so much for raising such an incredible human💕

  13. This is very moving. Grateful that T wrote this to share with us all. Many thanks. – Marty

  14. This was heartbreaking to read but so important. Thank you for sharing it, Lynn.
    On the scrubs – someone here set up a Facebook page to link hobbyists with healthcare workers and people around the country are making scrubs for them. There’s a basic pattern and healthcare workers can make requests like the sort of fabric (one male doctor asked for unicorns) or an extra pocket, etc. Community in action.

    • Lynn says:

      I have to say, what has been heartwarming through all of this mess, is the number of people & companies who have stepped up in communities across the planet, to help in whatever capacity is needed.

      Thank you so much for reading my friend 😘

  15. Ally Bean says:

    Profound insight into reality. I happily stay at home, but I’m an introvert and a lonely only child with a GenXer background so being on my own comes naturally to me. I can do this. Wish more people could do the same… without complaining about it. 🙄

    • Lynn says:

      Ally, it is so interesting to me, how we are all dealing with adapting to staying at home. For the most part, I would call myself an ambivert, a balance between an introvert & extrovert. Although I love being social, I also very much need my alone time.

      Good to hear you are content. Being a lonely only has its advantages 🤗

  16. Heyjude says:

    Such a touching and powerful post Lynn. I am glad you shared this with us. My heart goes out to all the wonderful people who are still working and keeping us all going, but especially those on the front line. I wish that they could have the resources that they need to do their job safely and I despise people who try to undermine everything they do.

    • Lynn says:

      Thanks Jude. There are many people working in essential services who are providing vital resources to all of us. Highlighting thoughts from my friend is just one example of how challenging it is for them to keep doing their job and maintain a sense of calm. As for the rest of us, we just need to stay home! 🤗

  17. Ann Coleman says:

    Thanks for the reminder, Lynn! And please thank your young friend and her colleagues for all they are doing to take care of the sick, at great risk to themselves.

  18. tinaor says:

    May T stay safe, such tough times, hard words to read. Thinking of you whilst you wait out the time needed until we can see all see our families and friends again. We are all in this together.

    • Lynn says:

      Tinaor, they are very hard to read but so important to share. Thank you so much for taking the time to read them, truly appreciated as are your kind words💞

  19. Such an important post! Thank you for sharing this. Health care workers are begging people to stay home…such a small request, considering what they are going through.

    • Lynn says:

      Linda, it really is such an easy request & I think for the most part, people are doing their very best to abide by the rules. The challenge, at this point I think, is people start to get impatient about “returning to normal life”. It is so important for us to stay the course until we given the okay to move forward.

      Thank you so much for the visit. So appreciated💕

  20. restlessjo says:

    So much of it isn’t real until you read something like this, Lynn. It’s all a cobweb… statistics that mean nothing and media spreading fake news. It’s horrendous that this is how it is on the frontline. My daughter is involved as a commissioner for the council in providing a care plan for carers. A long way from the front line, she is sewing scrubs in her spare time. I try to avoid the news, but you are very right to highlight this. How indebted we are to people like T. God bless, and I hope that she receives the help that she needs soon.

    • Lynn says:

      Yes, it is all very surreal Jo and you are absolutely right, it can be difficult to decipher what is truth & what is not.

      We limit ourselves to news in the morning to update ourselves on any changes going on. That’s it! I scan by the ridiculous amount of posts on Facebook, the slamming of various politicians, and the general crap😔.

      T is so very dear to me, I having been touching base to see how she is doing. When she sent me her thoughts after I asked her, I just cried. Although a heavy subject, I felt it was necessary to share.

      I love that your daughter is sewing scrubs for caregivers. It is just not something we even think about, the number of times they need to change in order to keep themselves safe & the laundry as a result of having to do so.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read. I always appreciate your opinion 😘🤗

  21. Sue Slaght says:

    Many thanks to T for sharing her story. It is heart wrenching. As a former nurse I could feel how sore her skin would be from wearing masks. I do hope the shortage has been resolved. That is frightening to hear. In Alberta we understand the supply is good until the end of June.

    If this doesn’t make everyone want to stay home and do their part I don’t know what will. Sending admiration, gratitude and strength to T and all front line staff. Heroes through and through.

    • Lynn says:

      Fingers crossed the 3M order will arrive so that the concern around shortage of masks is one less thing our frontline healthcare workers have to worry about.

      Sue, I imagine you have a very clear vision of what these nurses are dealing with, along with the various team members that make up a hospital staff. Heroes indeed!

      Thanks for visiting my friend. Stay well🤗

  22. Cheryl Marsh says:

    What more can be said!
    Thoughts & prayers to you all, stay safe.
    Love & hugs, Happy Easter
    C&J xoxo

    Sent from my iPad

  23. LB says:

    Hi Lynn – I’m so glad to read this post, and if that seems strange since it is one with such gravity, it is because you and I are on the same page. While I am not working in the hospital, I have helped with screenings at the hospital entrance and am still seeing patients in my office every day. While I have been able to maintain 75% of my census, I stress for the staff and nurses in my office who are losing hours. So on the one hand, we have all the health care workers who are risking exposure, and on the other hand we have healthcare workers who are getting furloughed or laid off. I am SICK that the current administration has made this a political issue!

    • Lynn says:

      So lovely to have you visit. After talking T, it was a post I felt compelled to write. Our frontline essential workers have had to endure so much stress through all of this and I thought it important to share.

      Thankfully here in Canada, I have to say I have been impressed with how our various levels of government have handled themselves. Typically they bicker at one another incessantly but during this pandemic, regardless of which party they represent, they appear to be collectively working together towards a common goal. It is refreshing to see.

      We are just now starting to reopen some businesses with strict rules in place. Fingers crossed we can continue to move forward. Such crazy times!

      I am often absolutely gobsmacked at the actions of the current administration in the States. I can only hope that Americans take a different approach in your upcoming election.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to visit LB! Stay well my friend.💕

  24. ritu thakre says:

    The least we can do is respect and appreciate their work so it doesn’t become more difficult for them and we can hopefully bring this to an end sooner rather than later. Thank you.

  25. Thank you to T and all other health care professionals who have been wearing those uncomfortable, hot suits and masks just to ensure the safety for all. This whole pandemic has been eye-opening, but I’m more grateful than ever to those who are sacrificing time at home, their lives, and their futures for the good health of all.

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