I really appreciated Erin‘s post yesterday.
I appreciated her honesty, I appreciated her willingness to speak up in a post about feedback she has received, and I appreciated the fact that she is finding this whole pandemic life hard, particularly in her role as a parent.
I haven’t written much related to COVID lately. This is because . . . well, it’s become so touchy and it just feels overly fraught and stressful to write about. I recognize that we have been very lucky (also, privileged) throughout this pandemic to retain child care. COVID has definitely made our jobs harder/more stressful, but it’s still doable and while I’ve been in contact with COVID+ patients (those identified as such and those untested — I have to presume just based on statistics), I am definitely not along the front lines.
We are in a state that has chosen to open schools this academic year (this includes both public + private), though parents can also choose to keep kids home for virtual learning. FL politics are not necessarily ones I generally align with, but I have felt comfortable sending the kids and have been very grateful to have the option. It seems really sad and backwards to me that in many areas you can go to a bar but still not send your first grader into a classroom to learn (not to mention to allow parents to do their jobs). It also seems very unfair that teachers have not been put on the vaccine priority list in many areas as they are highly essential front-line workers, pivotal to the function of society.
If anyone is curious if we’ve changed our behavior now that we are vaccinated (and had COVID), the answer is no. I still work from home on my non-clinical days, in part for safety and in part because I’ve come to prefer it – fewer interruptions and no commute! On my clinical days (2x/week + on call days), I go to the office + usually have a mix of telehealth and in-person visits because in many cases the patients just need to be evaluated in person (try having a diabetes visit over a spotty internet connection with a translator, and you’d see what I mean. Also, many visits center around growth and home measurements are basically useless). Josh has to work in person and wears an N95/face shield while doing so.
We were sending our children to school before, and we continue to do so. We are not doing any sort of social or family gatherings. We have playdates outdoors only. Cameron is still playing outdoor soccer (our family’s only kid-activity) but we are having him wear a mask. Even if this precaution is not taken by all of the players, at least the coaches are masked and the calculus seems worth it right now. I am trying to decide whether or not a trip to see my sister (just me) would be safe enough to do next month, and quite honestly I’m torn but I also can see that a visitor/helper for a weekend would be really welcome to her right now.
I miss family (as I know everyone else does) but I would not say I am profoundly unhappy or burned out. But I know that this is because of the above factors. I am pretty certain I would be both of those things without school and/or childcare. I’m also fairly certain that without school or childcare I’d have taken leave from my job by now. I mean — I just can’t see any other logical path. But thankfully that hasn’t been something we’ve had to consider.
I also am guessing that if I were an empty nester or pre-kid-SHU in this scenario, I’d be mostly content, as my parents seem to be chugging rather happily along doing their safe daily routines. Though it’s impossible to know for sure and I know some in those situations are feeling very down and impacted by loneliness.