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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Should I be enjoying my bubble?


As a daughter and granddaughter of high risk loved ones, this pandemic hits close.
As a mom of elementary school kids, the homeschooling vortex hits even closer.
As a mom of a 5 week old, the unknown is just very scary.
But,
As an Emergency Medicine resident, the COVID-19 pandemic hits really hard too. Maybe even the hardest.

But yet, I'm not there. I'm not in the trenches. I'm not wearing a bandana because there are no more masks. I'm not donning and doffing. Sure, I listen to the podcasts, attend the ZOOM meetings and conferences, but with audio and video off, in pajamas, while also nursing and now virtual homeschooling, in the comfort of my home.

Friends and family reached out with different sentiments that range from " you are so lucky you are still on maternity leave" to " do you feel bad that you are missing out?" I don't know how to answer, other than "please just do your part and stay home."

I'm not sure how I feel right now. Not sure how I want to feel, honestly.  I know I want to protect my nuclear family, stay safe, and keep everyone- from husband to big kids to infant- safe and exposure free. But I'm conflicted about my residency family, my colleagues on the front line. I know I need my time to rest, recover, and take care of myself and my own family right now, but my heart is torn. I'm also scared to go back.

As a physician, we dedicate our lives to helping others, hopefully saving some lives and making a difference. Throughout our training, we sacrifice time with our families, missing out on events, celebrations, quality time. Our priorities are constantly challenged; being a mother makes those challenges at times more acute.

So many thanks, and prayers of strength to all of you out there, fighting this on the daily. Please stay safe. Please know you are appreciated.

4 comments:

  1. Right there with you. I don't have hospital privileges - I do exclusively home visits which we are now doing almost entirely by phone. I reached out to a colleague from my inpatient palliative days and told him if they get overwhelmed and want to give me emergency privileges, I'll pitch in. But short of that....I'm cocooned at home with my husband and college sophomore. Definitely a different world than my colleagues on the front lines.

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  2. Things have evolved so rapidly. It's such a strange thing - being at home SAHM-ing my two toddlers, and then full time remotely organizing residents, as well as working on inpatient GIM. It can be really frustrating talking with colleagues with older kids - they're able to schedule 6-7 ZOOM calls per day, and I can't take my eyes off the toddlers without them smacking each other or demanding my attention in other ways. I don't think I realized how hard daycare closures would hit me. Wash your hands, everyone!

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  3. I’ve been on an unpaid leave from my anesthesia practice for this academic year to travel, so I totally get what you’re saying. I feel a mixture of guilt and relief. Now that the travel is not possible anymore, I told my department I’d happily come back early to help if it becomes a disaster sItuation. But the reality is that despite a lot of preparations for potential ICU overload, the need for extra anesthesiologists is severely decreased... at least today. Tomorrow, who knows? We are all living day to day, and it’s hard to do. We don’t know what things will be like next week, or when you’re returning from maternity leave. Try to enjoy your present situation and keep you and your family healthy; that’s what I’m doing.

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  4. Just lovely, thanks for sharing. Please say home with your new baby and family. There will be plenty of other opportunities in the future to help out.

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