Living with an ER Nurse During the Pandemic

I’ve lived with my wife for 3 years before the pandemic started and ever since I’ve known her, I’ve learned to make a routine for infectious diseases with her but when the actual pandemic started this took the routine to a whole different level.

For starters, we were at a friend’s wedding in Florida when the lockdown started on March 15, 2019, and we had to fly two days later to Puerto Rico. The laws on the island were strict and we were completely unprepared for the journey we had ahead. It was nice that my wife’s job made her take two weeks of medical leave because of possible exposure to the virus. That gave us a chance to prepare ourselves and gather the most essential items, masks, hand sanitizer, and alcohol.

Now we encountered a huge problem, we arrived on the island a couple of days too late and almost every store, pharmacy, and place we could think of that sold the items we needed had everything sold out. My wife started to panic. We asked friends and family members to spare whatever little they have and they too were short on supply. Now I started to panic, yet we have to keep composure because if not we would have lost our minds.

In the meantime, we created a super routine that will minimize exposure to the virus for when she came home. We set up a route where she could walk straight to the bathroom minimizing the areas she would touch to be efficient with the little disinfectant we had at hand. We also grabbed a portable table that was covered with a plastic bag, that’s where she would put all of the stuff she used at work.

After she locked herself in the bathroom, it was my job to disinfect everything, and by everything, it means that I mopped with Clorox, disinfected everything that I thought would be a surface she touched, and even used alcohol to spray the air. At the time we were extremely paranoid because we had no idea what we were dealing and the doctors gave little information about the virus so we had to rely on the news. As you could tell, the local news station broadcasted horrors every second and that’s what we knew at the time, just fear.

Thanks to a friend in the American Red Cross of my local chapter, I was able to get supplies of disinfectant and PPE for both of us, also we were told about stores up in the mountain where they still have hand sanitizers and mask. After we had everything we needed, we kept the routine for almost a year before making said routine more lenient.

A couple of months passed after the pandemic started and the white bodysuits stopped arriving at her work. The materials of her work disappeared overnight and every excuse was because we live on an island and the shipment of supplies was not arriving due to the ports and airports being closed. Every day that passed we because more and more terrified to the point we both feared for our lives and there were some times that my wife just broke down emotionally because the pressure of her work was just insane.

I tried to too maintain composure and give her strength but when I was alone I too broke down crying because if she and her co-worker had no idea what to do, what I could do to help her feel better? the short answer is Nothing and all I could do was just to listen and give her support and if it was our time, then it was our time.

After almost a year into the pandemic, my wife come furious one night because she was told by one of the doctors that the hospital had every PPE equipment since day one in large trailers but because they were afraid to run out of them that they decided not to use and save them and after a year most of the equipment was still on the trailers now abandoned or expired.

Now after a year after the pandemic we were in our acceptance stage and just said fuck it, we still kept the sanitation stations but we were not as strict as before, and it got to a point that if we got the virus, we would see each other through FaceTime and made cruel jokes about what would we do with the possessions in case we died. Even though we took things slow, her work never slowed down, the COVID station the hospital created was always full to the brim, and there was always a story about someone not following instructions or doing crazy stuff.

Now as I write this 3 years after the pandemic was announced, we still carry some of the routines in our daily lives and we probably won’t get rid of the habits for some time but the horror and panic will serve us as a reminder to be prepared for all types of disasters, even a viral one. Now as for her work, every day is a busy day and all we can do is endure it until she finds a better opportunity for a more relaxing job. As for me, I’ll try to make sure to write a saga of our adventures and ordeals.




Amateur Writer | Photographer | Cartoonist | Puerto Rico

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Isaac Leon

Isaac Leon

Amateur Writer | Photographer | Cartoonist | Puerto Rico

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