A mom of three and emergency-room nurse recently opened up about what it's like to balance her job with being a mom who can only interact with her children from six feet away during the COVID-19 outbreak. In a poignant post shared to her Facebook page, the mom, who goes by "One Vaxxed Nurse," explained how difficult it is to return home after work without being able to completely interact with her family. Although she understands that families may be bored and overwhelmed while social distancing, the situation is significantly more stressful for healthcare workers who are leaving their families and coming in contact with the virus every day.
"Tonight is the last night that I'll hug my kids goodnight or kiss my husband until god knows when," she wrote. "Community spread is now confirmed in my area and being an ER nurse means that the odds of being exposed over and over again are now a 100 [percent] guarantee."
Given her role at the hospital and the fact that she's coming in contact with those who have the virus, she has to take extreme precautions when she gets home after her shifts so as to not expose her family.
"Give thanks for the things that you can still do that some of us can't. I'm doing my part. Please do yours."
"Starting with my shift tomorrow, I'll come home from work through my laundry room door that leads to the outside," she explained. "I'll strip naked including shoes and put everything straight into the washing machine on sanitize mode. I'll use a Clorox wipe to clean anything I touched in the process. I'll then take the towel that my husband has left for me and use it to walk to my master bedroom covered up. In there, a room that nobody else is allowed to enter after today, I'll shower on hot. After my shower, I'll sanitize everything I touched again, then hand sanitize and get dressed."
For this nurse, that long and involved process is just the beginning of a difficult situation. Because of the exposure risk, she'll have to remain six feet away from her family members at all times while she's home. "I'll have been using the same single disposable face mask for minimum of an entire shift and I can't be sure that the moisture from my breath didn't render the mask ineffective," she said. "So I must treat myself as though I have it and am contagious."
Although this mom will get to talk to her three kids and husband from a safe distance, she absolutely cannot touch them. Fortunately, she says she's not a hugger, but she has a feeling that the next few weeks will leave her longing for physical contact. And while she can hug her coworkers because they're probably "just as dirty" as her, she won't be able to get comfort from the people she loves the most for weeks or even months.
Until further notice, this is what this nurse's life will look like during the hours she's home so that she can keep her family safe:
If I'm hungry I'll have someone fix me something on disposable dinnerware so that the worry of improperly sterilizing my utensils isn't an issue. I'll probably —scratch that, definitely — have wine out of a red solo cup as I answer a barrage of questions from my kids and try to ignore the look on my husband's face. I'll probably have to assure my youngest for the millionth time, that mommy will stay safe. When that's done, I'll give the kids air hugs and wish them goodnight. When the kids go to bed I'll be able to unload a little . . . to my husband, but the truth is, depending how bad it gets, I'll probably lie a little. When exhaustion hits I'll go to bed . . . alone. In a room that nobody else can enter.
As a final request, she's urging other families to stay home as much as possible and to think of the healthcare workers like her who are risking their lives to keep the American public safe.
"As you sit at home with your children on your laps snuggled up watching a movie, please end this thing quickly by not going out unless absolutely necessary," she wrote. "My arms stay empty every day that you don't [stay home]. I go to bed alone every day that community spread is still a thing. Stay home. Hug your children, sleep with your spouse, eat on porcelain plates, sip wine from a long stemmed glass and give thanks for the things that you can still do that some of us can't. I'm doing my part. Please do yours."