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Archive May 2020 XXI, No. 5

Behind Closed Doors: Positivity During a Pandemic

You don't have to look hard to find reasons for gratitude.

Paula Watkins

Paula Watkins, RN, CNOR


Thank You

It’s been nearly two months since the coronavirus began to invade every facet of our day-to-day lives. Heck, it virtually shut down our very livelihood when elective surgeries went on hiatus. Tens of thousands of lives have been lost to this pandemic. The national unemployment rate is the highest it’s been since the Great Depression. Eating out has been revamped. No parties. Celebrating any occasion with 10 or more people has been nixed. No sporting events. No shopping. Nothing good has come from the nationwide shutdown. Or has it?

Let’s take a deep breath from behind our N95s (if you have one!) and open our minds to pandemic positivity. People are ordering what they need online. There are no parking problems or traffic. Fuel is being saved and the cost is down (gas here in Arkansas is $1.44 a gallon). The smog has finally lifted in Los Angeles. That lack of smell you’re experiencing is not a COVID-19 symptom. It’s clean air.

We get to work from home in pajamas — sweats when we get gussied up for Zoom meetings. We’re also finally going to see our nurse friends’ true hair color. More people are home with their children. Parents in health care sometimes don’t see their children awake for days at a time due to work and call schedules from hell.

People are cooking at home, and families are sitting down together at dinner tables or even in front of the TV. (Screen time rules be damned.) When was the last time you gathered in the family room to watch a family movie or prime time G-rated show? Some families are doing old fashioned things like putting puzzles together and baking confections at home. Kids are playing in the yard, getting dirty and finding out they like their siblings.

All types of books are being consumed. Too bad libraries are closed. But thanks to technology, we can listen to audiobooks on Audible.

In many ways, the pandemic is bringing out the best in us. People are volunteering. Kindness is being shown. Those with more are sharing with those with less. We are responding with a barrage of “Thank Yous” in a variety of mediums, ranging from parades to video compilations and one-of-a-kind street art.

I’d like to use my favorite page in this magazine to share my personal thank-you list: Thank you to the amazing nurses, doctors, anesthesia pros and physician assistants, and any other healthcare worker I left out, who are braving ICU units to save the lives of COVID-19 patients. Thank you to environmental services for constantly wiping the coronavirus off surfaces. Thank you to law enforcement for keeping us safe in this moment of chaos. Thank you to the firefighters. Thank you to members of the military. Thank you to those who work in the retail food service for risking their lives to keep grocery stores stocked. Thank you to the truck drivers for keeping up with deliveries of food, life staples, life-saving equipment and even N95s. Thank you to the fuel providers for staying open and providing the gas ($1.44 a gallon!) everyday heroes need to get to the frontline. And, of course, thank you to the health experts like Dr. Fauci for their tireless efforts in keeping us informed, educated and safe during this health crisis. OSM

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