When I’m at home, the coronavirus doesn’t exist – I can enjoy spending time with my wife as if it was 2019. No masks, no discussion about the ineptitude of our country’s embarrassing lack of response, no distressing analysis about who’s at risk and who isn’t or what the latest reports indicate about the virus’s destructive toll on our bodies.
When I’m at work I spend 12 and a half hours with an N95 respirator covered with a surgical mask and goggles on (the surgical mask is there to protect the N95 in case I have to use it again). It feels like some sort of insidious torture where you are slowly being suffocated while the bridge of your nose is collapsing under the weight of your PPE.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m grateful for my protective gear. It’s what saved me during the COVID apocalypse here in my NYC ER from mid-March through mid-April. It’s what will save me until there’s a vaccine. But make no mistake – it changes everything about my job. The human element is gone, no one can see my face, hell, they can barely hear me through all this shit.
So when I’m at home I have to let it all go in an attempt to preserve my sanity. There’s just one problem.
I miss people.