Tuesday, May 26 2020 - 9:08 PM
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Quarantine Quandary

How do I feel about this quarantine? I vacillate between peaceful acceptance of the way things are, to sadness, anger, and frustration. I am a nurse and a free thinker. I know there is a deadly virus out there, with many unknowns, from means of spreading the virus to new symptoms they are finding every day. Yet I do not think hiding in the house is the best way to deal with this pandemic. People who are not in vulnerable populations or considered high risk, need to develop immunity through exposure to the disease.

When I first heard about this new disease, I thought people were overreacting. Then when I heard about how contagious it was, and the severe symptoms it could cause, I felt it should be taken seriously. When our office closed, around the same time as the governors began shutting everything down, I was happy to be at home not working. I am a mother of seven children, and have been a hospice nurse, and usually nothing fazes me. I became distressed to see people go into panic mode and begin hoarding necessary supplies such as water, toilet paper, soaps, hand sanitizer, masks, and Lysol spray. I noticed how panicked some of my family members were becoming, glued to the TV for the latest briefings and death counts. The less news I watch, the more peace I have.

I have been going out when necessary. It was eerie the first time I went out after they closed everything down. The fear in the air was palpable. Almost everyone I saw on the street and in the store had a mask on, and gloves. I noticed many eyes nervously darting to and fro. For a moment I felt seized by a terrifying panic. Maybe the very air itself was infected with this deadly threat! I got a hold of myself, said a prayer, and continued with my errand.

I have enjoyed being home with my husband, who has been working from home, and two of our sons. We have been shut in for nearly six weeks, with barely any contact with the outside world. I am fairly certain none of us is contagious. Our daughter has been stopping over  and visiting with her husband, They are expecting a baby in August. Like me, they are very laid back about this pandemic. They are both still working. Recently I read in the news about pregnant women who delivered early, with themselves and their babies infected, and that made me caution my daughter that she may want to be a little more careful.

We have a son in the military deployed in the Middle East. I pray for his safety and am relieved to know that there is no coronavirus at his base.

I am also concerned about our elderly parents, for whom this virus could be deadly. At first I limited my visits to my dad, who lives alone and has early dementia, to a few minutes to run in what he needs. But then I felt compassion for him, knowing how lonely he is. So I have been visiting longer, wearing a mask, and sometimes taking him out to the park. I felt angry at the media for inducing panic, when I heard Dad express fear and agitation over the constant TV and radio news reports. I explained things the best I could, reassured him, and encouraged him to turn off the news!

We have another son and daughter-in-law who are expecting their third child in October. They have taken the quarantine very seriously and are staying at home as much as possible, and only allowing visitors through the window.

This weekend was my daughter’s wedding. I felt sad for them that their plans had to be drastically altered, yet relieved that Father Dave was letting them marry in the church. I was so happy for the people who did support my daughter by attending the wedding and the parking lot greetings. I felt sad that some of my kids were afraid to come to the rehearsal dinner, and some, although they did attend the wedding, refused to be in family photos and attend the backyard barbeque. I hate how this disease is keeping us from those we love.

I am glad I will be returning to work next week. My husband has been very stressed about my missing income. If there is one thing that I have learned through it all, it is to be gentle with myself and others, to try to understand other people’s feelings. None of us wants to be judged for how we choose to deal with this crisis. In the end, we all want to be safe and reunited with our loved ones. I pray this happens soon.

Katherine Perusek writes from Ohio.

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About Katherine Perusek

Katherine Perusek

writes from Ohio.

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