By Garrett Freeman
I saw a sad thing today, it was the view of an elderly woman looking through the front window at her son and her granddaughter. As she held her hand up to the glass to “touch” her granddaughter’s, she cried through the phone to her granddaughter and admired the picture she had colored. For the rest of the visit she tried to make the conversation through the glass as normal, while looking at them and talking to them through the phone. As she watched them walk away tears streamed down her face, then they drove away.This is how it has been for the past few weeks at a small nursing home in which I work in Price, Utah. It has been on full quarantine thanks to Covid-19. Visitors aren’t allowed in, and employees have to be questioned and have their temperature taken before every shift.
These people who live in the nursing home are often forgotten, but in the wake of Covid-19, they are even more so. One resident had explained to me how much she loved the Jazz, when Covid-19 broke in the state of Utah, they shortly after cancelled the NBA season. The same night is when the nursing home stopped allowing family visitors into the home. She exclaimed to me, “I lost both of my families in one night…” This broke my heart.
Not only is this affecting people within my place of work, but all over the state of Utah. I have a friend who is a nurse in the Bountiful/Ogden area. She relayed to me a story about a patient that was suspected to be infected with Covid-19. The patient was on quarantine was placed in a room and only three staff members were allowed in their room during a shift. When the patient needed cares, the three would walk from their room at the end of the hall into the patients room. After completing the cares, they would carefully walk back to the room without touching anything and wait there until the patient needed more cares. These three people never knew if the patient was infected until after testing, and after every shift they had to shower and take their clothes home and wash them with disinfectant laundry detergent. This was not only hard on the patient because of the unknown of their status, but the healthcare workers that didn’t know when they showed up to their shift if they were going to be the ones taking care of the patient. It was later discovered that the patient did not have Covid-19.
I am telling you this story becauseI am a second year college student, working in a nursing home near my school. Since the outbreak my school has started online rather than in class. This was already going to be a problem for me because I have trouble motivating myself to do my class work outside of class, but now all of my work is outside of class. My work schedule has made it even harder to complete my schoolwork on time, because of the mania surrounding the virus, many employees are afraid to come in if they are sick, so that leaves the shifts to be open. I have felt like it was my duty to pick up these shifts because these people who have given so much to our world, deserve to have the care they need. As I work daily, my sleep schedule falters, my schoolwork becomes an afterthought, and my desire for a solution to this mess grows.
I realize that there are movements to try and contain and eliminate the virus, but I’m afraid of what this is going to do to my work and my schooling. As a healthcare worker myself, it is imperative that the people that I care for receive the care that they need, and that is becoming more and more difficult as time goes on. I have so much more respect for those doing the things that have gone above and beyond during this trying time. I wanted to tell this story because a great deal of people don’t know how hard this actually is, and how frustrating it is to not have the resources we need to deal with a pandemic of this sort.
I wrote this story because I have recently come into contact with a man running for Utah’s governor in this next election. He expressed to me his concern for the state of our country and Utah’s well-being during this time of crisis. I’m always afraid of talking to people in the public arena because often times they can seem more focused on themselves, especially in the wake of an election. Though, when I talked to Gubernatorial candidate Zachary Moses, I heard real concern for the people that are both involved in the Covid-19 ordeal as a concerned citizen and for healthcare workers. I believe that he is the governor that could inspire real change and keep Utah afloat during and after this pandemic.