Over this past week (maybe even two) I’ve really been feeling the pressure and stress associated with Covid. Specifically, I think this is because of or heightened by the fact that I live in a care facility. Everyone is running around like crazy trying to keep me safe, and doing a pretty reasonable job at that I must say, but what does ‘keeping safe’ mean for me on a practical level? And what is it doing to me on a personal level??
Well firstly, before I start waving my arms in hysteria haha, I want to say that Covid recently got into countless nursing homes (in Victoria, the state where I live) and the results have been disastrous – and continue to be. It’s so sad. And I guess the fear around here is that Covid might get into the ‘disability sector’ (or specifically my residence) and also reek havoc. I mean, and again to be specific about my residence, the people here are easily as vulnerable as the elderly if not even more.
And I suppose to draw another parallel, the aged care sector and disability sector (relating to care facilities) they are structured in very much the same way. Communal living, floor staff, management staff, and at a stretch I’d also like to put visitors into that bracket as well. But again to bring it back to Covid, the real problems seem to arise from the staffing situation and then them working across multiple sites (and hospitals). So it’s almost impossible to create a Covid bubble, especially with all these isolation rules and the constant reality that shifts need to be filled. Like just this last week I reckon I’ve seen at least 15 staff I’ve never seen before in my life (and mostly hospital nurses – which hospitals seem to be where everyone is catching this shit) – yet my dad can’t visit, or anyone for that matter.
Okay – moving right along lol – well and what does all this, or the Covid restrictions in place around here mean for me on a practical level (while also remembering that this is to ‘keep me safe’ for which I am grateful), well as I just mentioned I can’t have visitors. I have left the site 3 times since March 13th, and when I have left I am not allowed to get out of my van (unless for a medical appointment for which I had one). But right now I’m not allowed to leave at all – unless in an ambulance haha. So I don’t go shopping, to work, out for exercise, in fact I’m lucky if I move more than 20 feet within a day. Then on I think 3 occasions now I’ve been literally locked in my room (for about a week each time) with ‘suspected Covid’. And each time this is because I’ve come in contact with a staff member who has come in contact with a positive case.
Also, when one of these people (who have come into contact with a positive case) work on the floor, or in fact as we have now had a few nurses (who also work in hospitals, so not carers) work here who have tested positive, well every single staff member who also worked that shift and came in contact with them gets sent off on mandatory iso (for 2 weeks or sometimes a little less). And again what does that mean on a practical level (or for my daily life), well I end up with way less regular staff and people who are untrained, don’t know me or my shit (which having a tracheostomy has it’s inherent risks), and my ‘Covid bubble’ ends up getting way bigger. Hence, I’m exposed even more to who knows what.
Anyways, this scenario has played out once more to a tea this morning (which I suppose is exactly why I’m writing all this today, to get the frustration out of my system). You see, at 7.07am this morning (without any warning) I was told that almost all the floor staff had been sent off into mandatory iso. So, in the house for the day there was one regular, one manager, a couple of absolute ring-ins, and this was to look after ‘us’ five very high needs clients. Then I was told that I couldn’t get out of bed, that I couldn’t shower, and then basically just get my food and meds when they can. Nope, actually I just got the word that I will be getting a shower. Phew.
Which on that not I best go, you know strike when the irons hot and all that, but I really do have a lot more to say about all this. All in good time I suppose. Also, I’m not whinging with all this, it just is what it is.