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CORONAVIRUS EMOTIONS: For Sheilah Reskovac, being a registered nurse during the COVID-19 pandemic has been an emotional rollercoaster.

Fear and hope on the front lines of COVID-19

As a registered nurse, the outbreak of COVID-19 has brought out all my emotions.

It’s a beautiful day as I look out my kitchen window. The sky is blue, the birds are chirping, I hear frogs and the boys are outside in the yard playing while Mike does some yard work.

Looking at all of this, it’s easy to forget that we are in a time of uncertainty. Outside of our own little isolation island, the world is facing one unprecedented event after the next.

But then I remember that it is Friday, and tomorrow I go into work. A little knot forms in my stomach. It’s been there for a couple weeks now, coming and going as I remember and forget.

At this time, my hospital only has a few cases of COVID-19, but everyone is wondering how long until it gets bad, or even if it will get bad. There is still a little hope that all of this social distancing will work, and we might only get a handful of cases. All wishful thinking at this point.

As I continue to stare out the window, the tears start to come. Random tears that keep showing up for no reason.

OK, I admit, there are a lot of reasons: all of these overwhelming emotions and mixed feelings that all of this craziness has brought on.

I’m extremely happy, blessed and grateful that we are in our new house; that we have space to move around and can simply walk out the door to play outside — no vehicle transportation required. Plus, we have room to have extra groceries. We would have had to get pretty creative at the old place to be able to have an extra supply of things.

But then I get angry. We did have to buy quite a bit of supplies. I wasn’t hoarding, mind you, but since the move I haven’t really taken the time to buy ahead or stock up on extra things. We didn’t have enough food in the house for two weeks, let alone a month! Plus, we used up most of our canned foods and meat supply before moving. “One less thing to have to move,” were our thoughts. But I felt completely unprepared and vulnerable.

You can bet this year that we’ll have a garden and lots of canned goods and frozen food by the end of fall.

I’m sad because I feel bad for the kids. Not just my own two, but all of them. I feel sad for the seniors who are waiting to see if they get to finish their year. For the ones who had important events cancelled and the ones who were just looking forward to that end of the year (whatever it might have been). For the ones who are old enough to understand a little but don’t fully understand completely. For the little ones like mine who may or may not remember this time in their lives and really have no idea why things have changed.

I’m thankful and happy again because our lives haven’t been disrupted too much. Besides not going to swim class and preschool being canceled, the boys’ schedule is about the same, minus seeing their grandparents. I’m thankful that I have a husband who already works from home so I don’t have to wait for the uncertainty of weather or that he’ll have a job or paycheck.

I’m used to being concerned about cash flow anyhow!

I’m thankful that I know he’ll be around somewhere and can probably adjust his schedule if things do get bad at the hospital, and that I’ll be able to go in to help out because I can’t leave my co-workers work understaffed during this time.

Now, here comes scared, nervous and apprehensive. Everything is one big unknown. I don’t want to bring this virus home. I’m taking every precaution I can at work and double cleaning everything at home, but it still makes me nervous. No precaution is 100%. There is a lot of tension at work. People just waiting to see what happens. No one wants to see us end up like the hospitals in Italy, but for now we wait.

I’m mad because I’ve seen a million memes on Facebook, some saying that nurses are tough and not scared, that it’s no big deal. Forget that! Not one nurse I have talked to or worked with has repeated those sentiments.

Then come the agricultural memes. Yes, farmers are tough. Yes, farmers are self-sustaining. But the one about a “little dirt never hurt” gets me. No, dirt won’t hurt, but germs and viruses do.

Yes, farmers are already pretty well isolated on their farms, but precautions can still be made. Wash your hands after you open those feed bags, give the milk hauler 6 feet while you’re having your daily conversation, and if you must sign for a delivery of seed or chemicals, use your own pen or wash your hands after using someone else’s.

Farmers hate being sick to start with, so let’s all stay healthy so we can have a great season!

I’m hopeful. It is spring, and the temperatures will start getting warm soon. I’m hopeful that the theory about the virus not being able to survive in hot temperatures is true and this will all be over soon.

I have pride because people have pulled together even when we’re distancing ourselves. Schools are still making sure kids have lunch, truckers are doing their best to deliver supplies, and grocery stores have implemented new policies to help keep the shelves stocked and the stores clean. There is a lot of not-so-good stuff going on right now, but I think in the end that the good may just outweigh the bad.

Coming back to that window, I decide it’s time to go join in the fun in the yard. Tomorrow isn’t here yet, so for now I’ll go and play, and everything will be right with our little world. Tonight, I’ll give the boys an extra-long hug, some extra kisses and let them stay up a little longer.

Tomorrow, as I drive to work, I’ll prepare myself for what the day may bring, and before I go in I’ll take a deep breath and say a little prayer.
May you all stay safe and strong!

Sheilah and Mike Reskovac and their sons farm near Uniontown, Pa. Check out all of their "Two Hearts, One Harvest" blogs online.


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