Work Reality

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Work Reality

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My mother has been a healthcare employee for over 20 years. She loves her job and her patients. She is also immunodeficient. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she was placed on medical leave. After 3 months in isolation, she returned to work to face her new reality. Thankfully, in the time she was at home, her employer acquired ppe and has implemented strict social distancing policies, including teleappoinments. Her employer has been understanding and supportive of her medical needs. And she feels as safe as she can feel when she is at work. But this doesn't mean it is easy. She wears two masks (an N95 mask covered by a secondary mask) and goggles the entire time she works. She has deep seemingly permanent indentations from the ppe on her face. Even with the protection, she still worries about her level of exposure as she comes into contact with 20-30 different patients per day. I have only seen her once since the shelter-in-place orders began in California. And I'm not sure when I'll see her again. I miss her. Her grandkids miss her. When people question why my family is taking the COVID-19 pandemic so seriously, I tell them about my mom. She does not have a choice to stay home or to avoid exposure to the virus. With her condition, she is high risk and could likely die. If I can help her, and many others like her, stay safe during this pandemic, I will do it. Even if it means a great deal of personal sacrifice.

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This item was submitted on July 12, 2020 by Shanna Gagnon using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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