Posted in family, grandchildren, health, pandemic, rural life

Pulling Back & Busting Out

It’s almost like a pandemic oxymoron – pulling back while bursting the bubble. The numbers are serging in the world, country, province and city so common sense says batten down the hatches and stay home. With much trepidation I have waded into the trenches, so to speak.

I have, with a lot of apprehension, started my 8 week block of teaching first year medical students how to scrub, gown and glove. It’s an absolute delightful “job” and one that, in an average year, I look forward to. The details are all in Encore Act and day one reinforced all the things I love about it.

My OR teaching set up

BUT day one also reinforced all the things about it that, in 2020, I don’t love. 8 random people in my life; up close and personal. For a prolonged period of time inside although 100% masked with surgical masks. Casual walking by of so many people in a busy operating room hallways.

It feels like… I’m not sure exactly. It feels normal in some ways and scary in others. Masked people all around including patients. No hugs from my wonderful colleagues that obviously still miss me as I miss them. Such close contact with people that I know nothing of their bubbles. All this within a setting where a work force goes on as normal providing care to patients in need.

Decked out during my tenure as the orthopedic resource nurse

We spent the summer in a very small bubble and only did social distancing visits with a few friends on occasion, always outside. We’ve been quite careful with our shopping excursions and have not eaten out (except for Isolation insulation). This new change pushes boundaries for me that don’t feel comfortable. Did I mention how the numbers are climbing?

I did three things that made me feel more comfortable with this activity: I checked with my friend who is a infectious disease nurse, I checked with the college of medicine about contact tracing and bubbles and I did a risk assessment tool. On the negative side is the inside contact and the increased length of time. On the plus side is surgical masks 100 % of the time, tons of hand washing (because that’s what I teach them for heaven’s sake) and students who recognize that they are privleged to be able to have clinical experiences. I hope that this means they are keeping their bubbles small and the first two groups ensure me that they are but only time will tell withthe second wave coming.

This puts my personal life into turmoil. Do we shut our bubble right down and see no one and go back to lockdown logitistics? I say “we” because once I come home my other half assumes my risk. Do we see friends and family with strict physical distancing? That is not possible with a 1 1/2 year old who adores his grandparents and will leap (yep) from his momma’s arms into ours. It is very difficult with a 3 1/2 year old who loves to snuggle in for reading, hugs and sweet little good bye kisses. As they drove away on Saturday (after a 3 day sleepover) I squeezed them very tightly and stole so many kisses. Momma and Daddy are still mulling over whether they assume my risks for their wee ones and we totally respect that it may be a long 10 weeks.

Hanging out with the “mood”

As I said I am not sure how I feel about it all. It’s now been six months of pandemic life. I can honestly say that when I read, in the past, about the 1918 Spanish influenza I thought about the death toll and how hard it must have been with such limited communication. Now that we are living through a pandemic I think about what it was like back then for the population with fresh eyes. It is certainly complex and makes even the most “normal” of activities seem complicated. Meanwhile off to work I go and I fully intend to enjoy the walk and the teaching. I have made the committment and intend to honour it, using good judgement as I proceed.

I think it may prompt a heritage neighborhoud post



I have had a love of the written word for my entire life. It's no surprise that eventually I found a platform where I could write. It's random; sometimes funny, occasionally sad, maybe even at times from anger and I lean towards creative photography and hands on crafts. I have a few blogs that high light these interests.

16 thoughts on “Pulling Back & Busting Out

  1. YOu definitely have weighed all the options.

    And it is challenging. for all of us — but even more so for the courageous and amazing people like yourself, who are on the frontlines.

    Wishing you much comfort in whatever decision you make.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Louise, thanks for the kudos but I’m technically not on the front line — more in a side lane near the front line. I am fairly comfortable with my decision to teach and to limit my outside contact. It’s just that I am not sure which way my daughter is going to swing decision wise and I can’t pressure about it. We each have our own level of comfort and must respect others. Oh well it’s only 10 weeks and we can video chat daily so I can still watch them grow and learn – just without hugs and kisses. You’d understand about that being farther away from your two.
      Thanks for adding your comment to the post. How are you and CJ doing with the Covid restrictions?.


  2. These are not small questions you are asking yourself and I feel the weight of them in this post.
    I don’t have any health care professionals in my life, but I often think of the stress they must be handling every day when they’ve gone to work in the past 6 months. You’ve just added to my grateful list – the people like you who spend the time, energy, and risk to pass on your knowledge to the next generation of health care workers.
    The growing infection rates again are very alarming and it’s got me wondering if I’ve become too complacent – relying too heavily on the ‘protection’ of a non-surgical mask. The answer is yes. I have 😕 Thank you for the nudge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes the weight of the situation has had me tossing and turning a bit and I’m am not at all surprised it’s evident in the weight of the words. I truly feel like the risk is fairly low but it’s significantly higher than my risk level was the day before I started. SO MUCH higher. It’s a commitment that I made. For the students it’s a privilege to have these clinical situations and for me, it’s also a privilege (albet a paid one) to be able to teach these eager sponges.
      As far as complacency – masks, distancing, reducing outtings and hand washing are the order of the day for all of us. As I said to Donna — the government shouldn’t have to lock us down we should all use good judgment. Ah yeah….
      Thanks for engaging here, nice to have a new reader interacting!


      1. Based on the comments I just read on an online article, it appears that ‘good judgment’ is in short supply. Sometimes I fear for the future of mankind when I read some of craziness out there.


    1. I wish. Oh how I wish. I was always a hugger before but after this — mega hugger status!! I even got one from the son in law the other night, I think he knew how much I needed it.


    1. Backing out never seemed like an option really unless the Univ cancelled the session. I think we all need to weigh the risks of everything we do right now and take responsibility. The government shouldn’t need to mandate a lock down – we should all be responsible enough to do a reduction in our life styles to reduce the risk of spread. But yeah that’s not happening and it’s a shame. There are still wing nuts out there who think it’s a hoax or that our constitutional rights are being violated because we have to wear masks or can’t cross the border. REALLY??


  3. I hope you and yours manage to stay safe during this next wave, Bernie. I think you are being reasonable in deciding to conduct this course – yes, increasing risk of exposure but doing it in order to teach new medical professionals proper OR hygiene is…well…noble!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Noble Deb is probably not a word used to describe me but thanks. In March and April when the dates were being picked I thought long and hard about my intent and naively thought it will be about the same in Sept. Ah yeah the second wave is worse than the first and so having made the decision I hade to stick with it. Having said that I’m not in the direct line of fire in the OR — we don’t even have a patient effort the stuffing I put under the drapes to remind the students not to lean on the “body” as that body is a person. My risk is entirely from the medical community within the OR and the students but I’ve made it clear I am now on the No HUGGING team, as sad as that is.


    1. That’s a good way to put it — conflicted. I/we are trying to pretty much do minimal outside of my work environment to further reduce the risks. Thanks for the good luck wishes and the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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