I spent most of the morning … okay, who am I kidding? I spent the entire morning in bed watching Once Upon A Time in Hollywood with my husband. And then we watched a bunch of random YouTube videos. The kids were happily in the basement eating Eggos and watching a Marvel movie.
You see I usually work Saturdays at my other job. But I had the day off today. And boy did I need it. I haven’t really had a vacation since, well, March. We did go to a cottage in July but I was still checking labs and having to be in touch with the office. None of my colleagues wanted to cover for me and frankly, I didn’t want to cover for them. We are all exhausted.
Burnt out in fact.
I don’t feel like I have much more to give anyone right now. My patients take up so much of my daily energy that I don’t feel like I have a lot left for anyone else. Not myself. Not my kids nor my husband. I know this feeling well. It sneaks up on me every 3-4 months in a good year but during a pandemic?
Everyone I talk to, and I mean everyone is feeling pandemic fatigue. Either they are working from home with their kids in online school; or they are caring for elderly parents while working from home; or they are laid off and trying to find money for their medications; or they are lonely and their depression is worsening.
So this morning I didn’t talk to anyone. I lay in bed and watched a movie while sipping coffee.
Pandemic fatigue has set in as I’m sure it has for all of my medical colleagues. Telephone medicine is getting harder. Patients are worried, fed up and demanding more and more with every phone call. Everyone is stressed out and there seems to be no end in sight.
We are well into the second wave now where I live. Only this time is seems very different. Back in March the government declared a state of emergency, everything shut down to “flatten the curve” yet many of our elderly in long term care died, some in horrible conditions. The kids were pulled out of school so they didn’t get sick and spread it to their parents and we all hunkered down and tried to adapt.
There were conflicting messages about wearing masks. Don’t wear a mask it won’t protect you. Oh no, actually yes, wear a mask. Keep a physical distance of 6 feet if you can’t wear a mask. Don’t have people in your home who aren’t in your bubble. Now it’s okay to increase your bubble. Now it’s not.
It’s no wonder people are confused and tired of this. Did the initial lockdown actually prevent widespread death and illness or did it just delay it? Should we just go about our business as usual and see how it plays out? I wish I knew.
My province has now shut down all indoor dining and gyms for 28 days. To what end I wonder? What happens when they open again? This virus is not going to disappear. It won’t burn out. It will lie in wait to spread again when restrictions ease.
Our kids need to stay in school. People need to work. Hospitals need to keep operating rooms open. The backlog of elective surgeries from the initial lockdown is rumored to take years to get through. We can’t afford another large scale lockdown.
On the other hand, if we do nothing to curb the spread and our hospital ERs start overflowing with sick patients and ICU beds aren’t available – what then? Who decides who lives and who dies?
Nah. Plenty of other people are doing that. I won’t belabour that point.
Hi folks! Been a while, I know. Frankly, haven’t really had the time to sit and write. I’ve wanted to, a lot, but didn’t think I had anything to say that would interest anyone. And to be honest, I still think that. But here I am anyway.
I’m home a lot more now, like most people. Working from home 4 days a week, for a long time from a make-shift ironing board-turned desk in my bedroom. That was fun. (Not really). The ergonomics were terrible, I suffered with brutal upper back spasms for almost 2 months. Should have gone to see a doctor! 😉
But then, after months of lock-down, my husband masked up and went to a furniture store and got me a desk. It’s great! Far more functional than the ironing board, and far sturdier too. Even the cats agree!
As much as they can get in the way, the cats really have been wonderful company for me as I sit for hours every day doing telemedicine. Occasionally they’ve knocked over my phone, spilled my water and licked my snacks, fought with each other, you know typical feline behavior.
But they seem to have a knack of knowing when a particular phone call gets tedious and exhausting, because they’ll do something funny to distract me.
I suspect this new normal will be with us for a while. I have gotten used to my cats being with me, so used to it in fact, that I actually miss them when I physically go in to work to see patients 1 day a week. It’s amazing to me how fast we can adapt to change. I’m not sure I want things to ever go back to the “old” normal.