Day 1 of Lockdown

This week the hospital has taken on a different feeling. The vibe has changed. It’s begun to feel more like a military regiment rather than a place people come to have tonsils removed and knees replaced.

It’s like waiting for an enemy plane to roar in and send us all to our battle stations.

We were fitted for our gas masks yesterday….Well, the hospital version, a N95 respirator that is now worth its weight in gold. We each got one and placed it in a paper sack. Mine is in my locker along with dingy scrubs and dried up highlighters used for crossing off items on a surgical pick list.

Most surgeries have been cancelled. Only the most urgent are still allowed which has left us in surgical services without much work. Surgical techs have gone upstairs to be CNA’s and surgical nurses are now walking the floors as bedside nurses.

One surgical tech has become the official coffee pot monitor, responsible for keeping the germy hands of the masses away from the caffeine dispenser.

Us sterile processing technicians will find out what our assignments are this week – housekeeping, safety monitors, or who knows what. The hospital might regret unleashing us to the rest of the hospital though. There’s a reason why most of us are kept in the basement.

Volunteers and most visitors are no longer allowed in the hospital. It was a bit surreal to arrive at work yesterday and see that the visitor parking lot was nearly empty at 2pm.

The cafeteria seating area is blocked and we have to keep our distance from each other when ordering and picking up food.

Texas Roadhouse brought the hospital food earlier this week and there was a long line of workers spaced away from each other. “Keep a 6 foot space between each other.” We were constantly told.

So we had to try to picture in our minds what 6 feet looks like. For some it was 3 feet, others nailed it, and some were overly cautious placing about 6 football fields between them and the next person in line.

My coworkers were behind me trying to sync their footsteps to mine. I threw them off when I began my riverdance. Hopscotch worked out a little better. Hey, I told you the hospital has no idea what they’re unleashing with us.

But reality hit this week. It feels different. It feels like we’re in the trenches with each other – a band of brothers and sisters.

I don’t know what next week has in store. So far Decatur has been safe from the virus. The toughest battle I’ve fought is trying to find enough food in the grocery store to make a meal out of. It’s almost as bad as when Kroger’s rearranged their ailes a couple of years ago. It took me months to discover where all the ingredients for chilli were kept – in about three different ailes scattered around the store – of course.

Other than that life really hasn’t changed much for me. Even with the state lockdown I’ll still be doing what I normally do – working, going to the grocery store, and enjoying the outdoors. My life has apparently been in lockdown for a long time.

I hope everyone is adjusting well and that Decatur is spared the worst of the coronavirus. Sometimes it’s good to live in a city that most people have never heard of. Hang in there everyone.

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