The Wait and See Game

Well, I don’t know really where to begin with this but there’s a worldwide pandemic going on and it’s kind of a big deal! Our lives are just beginning to be affected by the virus with restaurants ordered closed, gatherings cancelled, travel plans derailed, kids going to school online, and grocery shelves going bare.

As the ever nervous Nelly type I’ve been adding extra grocery items to the cart for the past several weeks. I’ve been following the news in China since nearly the first time the world learned of the then unnamed coronavirus, mostly because I backed an American company that manufactures electric bikes in China – in the hardest hit province. Production had been severely impacted and some firsthand accounts of the reality on the ground were filtering through.

It was bad. Really, really bad.

I knew that China, or any country, wouldn’t lock down their people and risk crippling their economy for a disease that isn’t anything but truly horrendous.

But now it’s here in Illinois, as close as Springfield at last count and we’re all just waiting to see what’s around the bend.

I work at a local hospital as a sterile processing technician. We clean, assemble, and sterilize surgical instruments for the OR and on-campus clinics. We also assist the OR in supplying them with everything they need to perform surgeries. We have to know every single instrument and every single disposable item used in nearly every type of surgery imaginable and that adds up to thousands of items.

It can be a very stressful job because we’re right there with the OR and our actions very much affect the outcome of the patient. Wrong instruments, missing instruments, or the worst dirty instruments can really screw up a surgery, especially if it’s a trauma case where every second counts. It gets intense.

Working at a hospital was not a career goal. After I graduated from college and had a hard time finding a job in my field in Decatur (imagine that) I began searching for something that looked interesting and meaningful. I didn’t want to do just any ole job, even though my savings account was almost drained to a memory, and I was only making enough money to pay my student loans from a blog.

But anyway, now here I am working at a hospital during a pandemic. I’m the type to think of everything and anything that can possibly go wrong in any situation. I’ve played out those movies in my mind hundreds of times. Tornadoes, ice storms, earthquakes, nuclear attack, aliens, yep, I have a plan for all of those calamities.

Pandemics? Nope, I don’t have a plan for them. I really don’t know what to say but I do know that we’re not going to be the same people on the other side of this. 9/11 changed us as a country and so will this. Presidential campaigns will be affected as well as politics as a whole. Like 9/12, the day after 9/11, we’re not as divided as we were. Oh, we’ll go back to being divided again but for now we’re all in the same boat together.

Well, we’re all in our own little boats socially distanced from each other on the same tumultuous sea, feeling very much the same fears and concerns.

Hopefully warmer weather will help knock the virus back. Typically, viruses don’t do so great in hot and sunny conditions. So let’s hope for a hot, steamy Illinois summer.

That’s basically how surgical instruments are sterilized. Steam and heat is used to kill the evil little critters that cause disease. If the heat doesn’t kill them the pressure from the steam blows up their bodies. It’s basically a pressure cooker that does them in.

Well, anyway I don’t have anything profound or super interesting to say but I hope that everyone heeds the warnings and tries not to go nutso locked up with their families for weeks on end. As long as I can go outside in my yard I’ll be okay.

Take the time to do something enjoyable and productive. I don’t know if I’ll be working less or at all with elective surgeries likely being cancelled soon. If it gets bad at the hospital I don’t know if I’ll continue working there since my son is an asthmatic with other health issues and has already developed pneumonia three times in his 15 years. How could I risk bringing the disease back home to him?

Lots of people in healthcare positions are going to have to make those types of decisions soon.

Take care everyone.

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