I hear you, people. I understand how hard it is to work from home or to provide some sort of semblance of school to your children. I also know how difficult it is to be unemployed (believe me, I found myself unexpectedly unemployed during the summer of 2010) and yet still have bills to pay.
I am also bored as h*ll staying at home (although, my cooking may have improved a bit) and am chomping at the bit to go out. As it is, DH, Kirby Krackel, and I were scheduled to be on vacation this past week and the upcoming week. Two whole weeks off to make a road trip out to the Utah National Parks. Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be. Due to this stupid COVID-19 crisis.
But what I don’t understand is why other states are loosening up the restrictions on staying at home and are beginning to open non-essential businesses in the wake of this crisis … which is FAR from over, despite what you may be reading and/or hearing in the news. For those that disagree with me, I invite you to tour the ER and spend a 12-hour shift in the ICU.
I don’t wish it upon you or any of your loved ones, but I wish you could understand what it’s like to have experienced having COVID-19; the feeling of isolation and helplessness that comes from keeping your distance from loved ones so that you don’t give COVID-19 to them.
I don’t wish it upon anyone to experience the extreme chills despite high temps, the worse muscle aches in the world. And yet, as a Registered Nurse, knowing that you NEED your body to react this way because it’s your body’s way of trying to fight off the virus on its own. And in the same vein, fearing that your body may overreact and cause severe respiratory distress that you need to be admitted to the hospital.
I don’t wish it upon you, but I wish you could feel what it’s like to watch via FaceTime the panic in your spouse’s face as you see him struggling to breathe with a mask blowing 100% pure oxygen directly through his mouth & nose … while he barely is able to tell me that he still feels like he can’t take a breath. Or the panic you feel that, as a wife and as a Registered Nurse:
- You can’t be there to physically hold his hand to help calm him down
- You know his assigned RN is busy with her other patient that is being intubated, and
- You fear that he’ll be the next one they’ll place on a vent.
I don’t wish it upon you, but I wish you could experience the red taped bureaucracy involved in trying to seek appropriate treatment, while also trying to follow the guidelines put in place … Only to have those guidelines change from day to day, hour to hour.
Or the fact that, as an essential worker, how difficult it has been to even get tested for COVID-19, knowing that your positive test result can be added to the data being collected during this pandemic.
I don’t wish it upon you, but I wish you knew what it’s like to love your career and be good at it, yet are hesitant to go into work each day for fear of what might happen on your shift.
Or what it’s like to force yourself to take a few deep, calming breaths before pushing back your unit’s door, labeled with a temporary sign that reads “Isolation Unit. Keep Doors Closed.”
Or how every day you greet your co-workers with, “Wonder what fresh hell we’ll get ourselves into today.”
Or how much of a struggle it is to remember what the latest protocol is for each specific task you have on your daily assignment. And what it’s like to worry that if you don’t follow these ever-changing guidelines, then you’d miss something life-threateningly important.
Most importantly, I don’t wish it upon you, but I wish you could recognize that what is happening at the patient’s bedside and on these units are occurring at a lightning fast pace. So fast in fact, that the *actual* news reported on a daily basis is often times a week or two behind.
- Lack of testing? Called it.
- Lack of PPE not just for the hospital, but other care facilities including nursing homes? Called that, too. Hydroxychloroquine ousted as “The Miracle Drug”? Uh huh … and I’m waiting for the news to report on how Remdesivir is only effective within 1-4 days of when the patient actually developed symptoms.
I don’t expect you to *understand* what my experiences have been like with COVID-19. However, I am simply asking you to see the reasons why Michigan’s government placed these “Stay At Home” restrictions in place.
While COVID-19 may not have affected you or your loved ones directly, it HAS affected the 50K Michiganders who tested positive for COVID-19 (which is significantly less that the actual, as many people were denied testing … myself included).
Or the families of the 5K Michiganders who DIED from COVID-19 related complications.
What I DO wish upon you is this: I implore you to consider the reasons why I believe it’s too early to “reopen” the country.
How can we reopen when we don’t have adequate testing to confirm exactly how many people have COVID-19?
How can we #SlowTheSpread when we aren’t even sure who has the virus or not … especially when there are countless of people that are NOT showing any symptoms? Those countless people would then unknowingly spread COVID-19 to at least 5 to 6 other individuals that can also remain asymptomatic.
How can we allow businesses, restaurants, retail shops to open when we don’t even have the appropriate leadership in place to set realistic guidelines on how to control the spread of this highly contagious virus?
How can we “reopen” when we don’t have a secure plan in place to keep the curve flattened?
How do we not learn from other countries that have reopened “too soon” and now have shown a resurgence in COVID-19 cases? Like South Korea, who loosen some social distancing restrictions early this month; or the Wuhan Province of China, where new cases popped up after at least 35 days without any new ones.
How can we believe that with “common sense” we can “go back to life as it was” … when “as it was” WAS. NOT. ENOUGH. to control this COVID-19 Pandemic? And that the thought of “we could catch the virus or any other virus” is merely considered a risk?
Sure we take risks every day, but that’s a CHOICE that each individual makes … of which that risk, if you use “common sense,” should then be limited to your own outcomes. “Common sense” would dictate that any risk taken should avoid endangering others. Unfortunately, if you CHOOSE to take the risk of going out into public without applying social-distancing and without wearing a protective face mask … you certainly are NOT using “common sense.” In fact you would be putting an entire community at risk.
It’s unhealthy to think that by staying “closed,” our economy will crumble. It’s also egotistical to think that if the US Economy collapses, then every other economy will collapse worldwide. How can we think that the economy … the “almighty dollar” (or in this case “liquid assets”) is worth more than a life?
Let me clarify by saying that I DO want the country to reopen. I DO want our economy to be stable. I DO want those unemployed by this crisis to be be able to go back to work. I would certainly love to go out to restaurants again. And take that Road Trip we had planned for the beginning of this month.
What I DON’T want is to see an increase in hospitalizations for COVID-19 related issues. Because the more COVID-19 cases seen in the hospital means that the more resources will be reallocated to treating these patients.
This means that elective surgeries (the money maker for any hospital system) will be placed on hold (again), resulting in less revenue. Then the (non-frontline) Hospital Executives will continue to believe that they have “too many employee salaries to pay”, which would then lead to more furloughs and job eliminations.
This ultimately means less staff to take care of these COVID-19 patients (or any sick patients requiring hospitalization, for that matter). And since there will ultimately be those individual who DO NOT use their common sense when the economy reopens, this mean that we may ultimately never gain control over COVID-19. That’s why *I* believe that we need to maintain these #StayHomeStaySafe and #ShelterAtHome restrictions for now; at least until we are able to control the spread of COVID-19 … If not to save more lives (we just surpassed 90K deaths today), but to protect the lives of those still walking this earth.
After all, what good is an economy if we don’t have people to spend it on?
PS. Thanks to the research study I participated in, I can officially say that I did have COVID-19. And I have the antibodies to prove it!