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Category: Wear a Mask

Fodder from the Frontlines: Day #7

Although it was a slow day, the pressure and stress are starting to show. We are all a little too quick to question each other and become defensive over the smallest perceived slight. One nurse who has anxiety has developed a constant eye twitch. Over the weekend, one nurse became agitated when another accidentally bumped into her. She screamed, “Don’t touch me! Don’t touch my stuff!”

Today we began random testing of 10% of the staff to look for positive COVID tests. I volunteered as one of the first to be tested. My anxiety about this virulent virus isn’t unfounded. Two of the complications are renal failure and blood clots. Not only do I have one kidney (I became a living donor in 2015) but I also have a clotting disorder. Contracting this virus could mean a potentially devastating outcome for me.

As I wait for the results, I think about what a positive result would mean. I’d be done working, I would have to stay at home and have my groceries delivered. Can I still sit out on my patio, or walk my dog, Harper? So many questions with blurry answers, and such a new and unfathomable world spinning before our eyes. All three of us who tested are negative. I am so relieved I go to the bathroom and cry.

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Fodder from the Frontlines: Day #6

t was a busy day but the team handled the flow like a well-oiled machine. We have a system and it’s working. We are processing everyone’s samples while staying safe. Young people are still clearly hanging out with each other and don’t seem to take the threat of this virus seriously. Part of me understands this. At eighteen, I made some profoundly stupid decisions, and no one could tell me I was wrong.

Human beings do not have a fully developed frontal lobe until about age 25. The frontal lobe controls decision making and impulse control, so it’s not surprising the younger ones don’t get how bad COVID can be for everyone. I did a lot of patient teaching today. Some of these kids were offended but I don’t care. A huge part of nursing is helping people comprehend how their actions affect not only themselves but others. I will not stop talking about the right thing to do.

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Fodder from the Frontlines: Day #3

Day #3 at the COVID clinic. Reality is kicking in. The bridge of my nose is red and inflamed from wearing the N95 mask, and now I have it: “macme.” Acne caused by wearing the mask for so many hours and sweating under it. I was sweating so badly underneath the bodysuit, masks, face shield, and gloves that it ran into my eyes and was dripping off my face.

Luckily, the nurses I work with are awesome and we help each other, no matter what.

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This Time, The Personal is Not Political

Wear a mask. During the pandemic, all of us have heard this request. The direction seems simple enough, and yet, every day I see people walking around in public with their faces fully visible. They seem not to have a care in the world as they stroll along potentially infecting their fellow humans.

I had an unpleasant conversation last week with a woman in the grocery store. She waltzed right in carrying a young girl on her hip. Neither of them were wearing masks. I was in the checkout line and when she passed I said, “You need to put on a mask.” She ignored me and continued to walk through the store. She came by a second time (headed towards the wrong exit) and I repeated my statement.

She replied, “Mind your own business.”

I said, “This is my business.”

She shouted, “I’m not your fucking business!”


Feminist and writer Carol Hanisch wrote an essay titled, “The Personal is Political.” By the time of its publication, the phrase was already commonly used among feminists of the 1960s and ’70s as a way to explain that both personal choices and political policies had an effect on women’s lives in the United States.

However, that feminist rally cry doesn’t apply here.

In the case of this worldwide pandemic, there is nothing political about wearing a mask. The issue is one of safety. Infectious disease doctors like Anthony Fauci tell us that people can be asymptomatic and still spread the virus. This is especially concerning when one considers how many in our community are vulnerable. Children younger than a year, the elderly with chronic health conditions, and those who are immunocompromised are all more likely to die from COVID-19 than the general population. Unfortunately, we are seeing that this virus, just like the ones before it, does not discriminate. Even if you are not in a high-risk group, you can still die.

I have a couple of medical conditions that make this particular virus dangerous for me. I’ve never been in this position before because I’m in good health, but the reality is that if I contract COVID-19 there is a high likelihood I will die. My life literally depends on everyone following the protocols for wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.

Wear a damn mask.

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