We are certainly living in a strange world. Just a few months ago I celebrated the Holidays happily with family and friends. New year came and I had so much hope that this year would be a time for me to slow down, take a back seat and relax a bit. My husband and I were planning a trip to Europe this year for our 15th year wedding anniversary. But before that, we booked a hotel in Toronto for spring break to celebrate our son’s 13th bday. In a blink of an eye, everything was placed on hold.
Covid-19 came like a thief in the night and brought the world down to its knees. It has affected 195 countries and territories with more than 370,000 cases and 16, 000 deaths around the world in just 3 months. These numbers continue to increase exponentially. Schools, businesses and establishments are all closed. Communities are on lockdown. Everyone was asked to stay home and practice “social distancing.” This new reality is profoundly disorienting.
I have never been afraid to go out or go to work until now. I never obsess about cleanliness and germs. But all of a sudden, I became a repetitive hand-washing and no-handshake freak. I would wash my hand surgeon-style if I have to. My hands eventually became dry and my skin cracked. In the hospital where I work as a nurse, I would choose to walk the empty hallway away from everyone else and would wait for an empty elevator to go up my floor. Upon returning home, I have to strip naked in my cold garage, place my dirty scrubs in a plastic bag and afterwards would run straight to the bathroom to shower. Every time I go to work, there is this horrible thought in my head: will this be the day I will contract the virus? I have to shake that thought away because no matter what, I still have to perform my nurse duties and protect my family at the same time.
At home, during my rest days, we try to isolate from each other as much as we can. It has been more than 2 weeks since I last hugged and kissed my family. It feels like years. Our goodnight and good morning kisses were reduced to elbow bumps. My social life has moved completely online. SocMed has helped me stay connected with friends and family here and abroad. But this is not ideal for an extrovert like me who is used to going out once in a while to de-stress.
I have to watch as lives around me change drastically including mine. This pandemic has infiltrated every aspect of my life and I am already yearning for it to end. But the end is no where in sight at this moment. This thing can go on for weeks, months or years. No one knows. I could only hope and pray.