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Archive November 2020 XXI, No. 11

Behind Closed Doors: Still Giving Thanks

The hardships of this year taught me gratitude is pandemic-proof.

Paula Watkins

Paula Watkins, RN, CNOR


DRESSED IN LAYERS Leaving home with plenty of protection is viewed as practical, not paranoid.

Ah, Thanksgiving. Time for turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie. It's over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house we go — whether physically or virtually. Seems like only yesterday we were celebrating this always-filling holiday in a totally different world. Despite the pandemic and the most divisive election in recent memory, I thought it would be nice to list a few things I'm thankful for.

  • Flexible scheduling. I had requested time off between per diem contracts in California to head home to Little Rock for a spell. I boarded a plane in March, and I'm still relaxin' here in Clinton Country during my pandemic vacation.
  • Buyer's reservations. Thankfully, I didn't splurge on that new car I was saving up to buy last December.┬áMy still-full bank account allowed me to kick back and relax for the last nine months.
  • Much kneeded R&R. Not being on my feet in the OR for 12 hours at a clip has allowed my wonky knee to finally stop hurting, and the swelling has gone down to almost nothing.
  • My calling. I work in the OR, not the ER or ICU. We should all give thanks for the brave and tireless folks in those departments — and all the other essential workers who have risked their health and lives to keep the rest of us safe.
  • ESP for TP. I had the forethought to buy toilet paper the day after I flew home — hours before all those Cottonelle Crazies and Charmin Crackpots bought up the entire 2020 inventory.
  • Friends in high places. A CRNA friend of mine shipped me plenty of masks and gloves. We nurses know how to stockpile supplies, amirite?
  • My quirks. Thanks to my OCD, I consider everything contaminated.┬áCOVID-19 just adds one more thing to my list of germs to kill. I've hoarded Clorox wipes, bleach, alcohol and peroxide. I was already known for cleaning surfaces in my home until my elbows throbbed. My friends no longer look at me sideways for my terminal cleaning habits because they're now just as obsessive as me.
  • PPE prep. Wearing a mask is second nature to me. Even the fogging of my glasses seems normal. I've been threatening to wear gloves out in public for years. Now I can do it without people whispering and pointing. I've always carried hand sanitizer in my car, purse and pocket. Germaphobe? Trendsetter is more like it.
  • Science. I'm thankful for Dr. Fauci. I'm also thankful for the people who have had the good sense to listen to him. Although he's probably not the type of person to say, "I told you so," he did tell you so.
  • Big pharma. That's not sarcasm. I'm genuinely thankful for those multibillion-dollar companies — and all their dedicated researchers — that are working so hard on a vaccine right now.
  • The important stuff. I haven't lost any family members. I haven't lost any friends. My recent bout with pneumonia was just that, and not one of the more than eight million COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
  • November. Yes, that's right. Being in the eleventh calendar month of the year means that 2020 is almost over. Thank God!
  • This page. Last but certainly not least, I'm thankful for each and every Closed Door reader. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! Enjoy and cherish the time you spend with friends and family — however y'all are able to get together. OSM
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