If you had told me three months ago that an event so huge was going to take place that would force schools to close, businesses to shut down, people to stay put in their homes, and bring life as we knew it to a grinding halt, I would have laughed at your wild imagination and chalked it up to too many apocalyptic movies.
We had all become so comfortably ensconced in our oblivious ignorance of the world that existed beyond our bubble that we never in our wildest dreams believed there could be something much bigger than us at play with a complete and brazen disregard to our pursuits. I mean, aren’t we, humans, the be-all-and-end-all of all of this? In a matter of weeks from its first appearance in the state of Washington, we were all hurtled into a new terrain: the mad scrambling of people to stock up on rolls upon rolls of toilet paper, lyson wipes, and sanitizers and words like ‘social distancing’ , ‘quarantine’ defining this crazy, uncharted time. And, all this while the count of positive virus cases steadily creeping up all across the country and people realizing this time they had to concede defeat to this powerful new and elusive enemy.
This is an especially surreal time for me as a healthcare worker. This invisible enemy has knocked the wind out of our healthcare sector and brought it to its knees. My heart goes out to my fellow caregivers on the frontlines of this crisis, working long, gruelling hours under unsafe conditions without proper PPE and staying away from their families in an effort to not bring the disease home. It is hard.
What has working in a hospital in a city that is fortunately not a hotspot looked like you ask.
Cancellation of elective surgeries, non ICU nurses being quickly trained on how to manage ventilators if needed, the multitude of abridged online COVID trainings, temperature checks at all of the entry points, strict restriction of visitors, wearing flimsy paper masks for 12-hour shifts, washing hands till they are raw and dry, and a general sense of doom.
Yes, we are all feeling a bit unsettled in our New Normal. We have not had our barbecues or cookouts. We have not been out and about the city. Our favourite hangouts have shut down for now. Graduations, proms, birthday celebrations have all been put on hold. We have had a lot of our privileges and entitlements taken away suddenly. As an introvert and homebody, being quarantined at home has not hurt as bad. It’s the bleak hope of anything changing much in the foreseeable future and accepting this paradigm shift in our lives that has.
While we applaud the men and women fighting the good fight against this virus, we are all collectively learning to adapt to this new life behind a mask.