Early in March, Mission College Student Health Center had a patient walk in after visiting the hospital over the weekend for cold/flu like symptoms. The patient had been advised to stay home, but she was very concerned that she had COVID-19. The patient had a question for the business office, and I assisted her. She wore a surgical mask but, while she sat one step away from me, she started having a cough attack. That’s when I realized how easily I could be exposedto whatever was causing her symptoms. After her visit, she contacted us to let us know that a friend she had hung out with was experiencing similar symptoms, was given instructions to quarantine and was referred to test for COVID-19. That’s when it hit me! This was how the virus was being spread. I remember calling my husband before I arrived home that day to leave the back door open and have Clorox wipes and Lysol spray ready for me to use. Afterward, I sat with my household to explain what was going on and how we all needed to do our part to prevent the virus from spreading.
My children and husband understood that there was a virus out there getting everyone sick that could lead to death. For the first week, I would come home to debrief with my family, and I would remind my children to continue washing their hands often after touching any surface and to cover their sneezes and coughs. Once the week was over, I knew that a lot of changes were headed our way. On Friday, March 13, I got a message from my kid’s school stating that it was recommended for students to stay home at least for the next 2 weeks. At this point, I wondered how long the stay home recommendation would take to eventually become an order because people didn’t understand the severity of a pandemic. I told my children and husband that I would not be surprised if we are ordered to stay home until late August, if not January 2021, and that we needed to implement routines to adjust with changes being made. I could see the fear and concern on my children’s faces.
My home isn’t the only one experiencing changes and adjustments. This is why I continue to strive each morning to bring much needed compassion and serenity to my work environment for coworkers and patients who are faced with the impact of the pandemic.