I have always been a healthy woman, rarely sick other than the occasional cold. My parents raised me to help those older than myself and those not as able.
I am what you would call a nurturer. Back in my day, if you wanted to be a nurse you lived in residence at the hospital where you trained. It was the right place for me. My favorite ward was the emergency department (ER). The hospital was in the downtown core of Vancouver BC. It was close to what we call the Downtown Eastside. Previously we would have called it skid row.
I was raised in a very protected family and not exposed to the seamier side of life.
Going into the ER at 19 years of age was a real eye-opener. I had been told by my father that a lady never has more than one drink. I saw men and women that were brought in after being on benders for over a month.
I saw heroin overdoses, domestic abuse, prostitutes — both men and women, and death.
Through it all, I felt patients needed kindness and help. In those days everybody got breakfast before they left after an overnight stay in the ER. They actually stayed overnight in those days! Frequently they were deloused and their clothes were put in the garbage. The nuns had a room full of clothes and shoes of all sizes that we could outfit the patients with. We felt they couldn’t start anew without food and decent clothes.
I worked in different ER’s over the years and for the latter phase of my career, in a Poison Centre as a Certified Specialist in Poison Information (CSPI).
Now I am retired and a writer. God, I love how that sounds! I blog, have written my first murder mystery, and try to give back to my community.
COVID-19 and Seniors
The people that appear to be having the worst time of it during this COVID-19 pandemic are the seniors. Some are in senior’s homes, others alone, and scared. Many aren’t comfortable with social media and have given up driving.
It is difficult for the elderly to order groceries if you don’t have someone to help you. Social isolation can be very scary. Most seniors have prescriptions. Who can pick them up? As a group, they tend to see their doctor more often. How do they get there?
One lady in my complex goes to her opthalmologist each month for a needle in her eye (Yikes!) to treat macular degeneration. She says it doesn’t hurt but if she doesn’t get it, she could lose further vision. We drive her and wait while she has the procedure.
What can we do for our seniors?
- Call them. Ask how they are doing. Just talk.
- Check if they need groceries.
- Do they need a prescription picked up?
- Do they need help in their gardens?
- Does their dog need a walk?
We can help with all these things in a socially responsible manner.
How do I survive with social distancing?
Now that my friends and I are over our colds and have finished with self-isolating, we follow a few rules and stay safe while still communicating.
Spring has arrived in my area and we have a happy hour each afternoon when it is warm enough. Our driveway is long and each concrete pad is 8 feet square. I have 6 squares, so pick your square and put down a chair. Bring your own wine and glass and enjoy the sunshine and the conversation — 2 meters away (unless you are married.)
The official distance to be socially safe is 2 meters or 6.5 feet apart and the regulation hockey stick is 1.4 meters or 4.5 feet long. Being Canadian, we use a hockey stick to measure how far apart we need to be. We extend our arms while holding the stick to be safe. I still have a couple of hockey sticks that one of my sons used when he played. I may be charged with slashing if I find anyone is not complying with social distancing. Who knew I would be using a hockey stick at this point in my life? But who knew we would have a pandemic at this point either?
Who are the Seniors?
I have gone on in this article to tell you how to look out for our seniors. They are the most vulnerable. The stats tell us the majority of those getting COVID-19 are elderly; they are admitted to hospital, some get put on respirators, and unfortunately too many are dying. It has suddenly occurred to me I am speaking of my own group.
It reminds me of when I was twenty years old and someone asked me if I would go out with this fellow. I found out he was thirty-four years old! No way would I go out with an old guy that old! My new definition of being old is anyone 10 years older than me. I can live with that!
Seriously, we need to be mindful of taking care of ourselves during this time. Emotionally, physically, and mentally. We are then able to take care of those around us.
Any good to come from this pandemic will be the kindness shown to others that continue long after we go back to some form of normalcy.
One never knows when you will turn into a senior. I’m still waiting!