During our 10 hour drive back from AORN in New Orleans, I started thinking about what the pandemic has stolen from all of us. Now that it is waning, and deaths are going down, although it is to be determined regarding hospitalizations.
The biggest thing that the pandemic has stolen from us is time. This is multi-layered because time itself has different meanings. I read an article this week about how the pandemic has skewed our sense of time. I feel this acutely. Two summers have come and gone and we are looking at our third summer under covid. I would have thought you lying if you said we would be here now. Two Christmases, two birthdays; the list is unending.
The following is a list of what the pandemic stole from me, personally. Everyone else’s list is different, but we should still be able to grieve over it.
- MSN graduation in 2020. I was looking forward to this, it is why I chose a hyperlocal school. And I did not get to do any of it. The only graduation I went to was for my ADN, way back in 2001.
- In-person work with my preceptor. In person education experiences had been cancelled. I was not allowed to teach for the end of MSN project. I had to finish the rest of 150 hours as a student online doing education. Not teaching, learning. And my preceptor left the organization during the last two years and I don’t know why or where she went.
- Many, many hours of sleep. Again, this is not solely about me. I know that many people lost sleep during the very beginning of the pandemic due to fear.
- There was a Sherlock Holmes traveling museum in South Carolina. I had tickets and plans to go. In March of 2020. No idea if this is still a thing, or even where it has landed.
- There was a Sherlock Holmes convention in London. This was the original planned trip to London. It was going to be great to meet other fans. This was going to be in September 2020.
- There was a Sherlock Holmes convention in Pennsylvania. This was a consolation prize because I could not get to the other two. Surely, the acute case of the pandemic would be over. No. This was going to be in November of 2020.
- Poster presentation in March of 2020 and again in August of 2021 for AORN. These were different posters and although there was a poster portion of the online conference it is not the same.
- I was going to take a year off and continue to pursue my PhD. This was going to be in September of 2021. As my husband says, the pandemic year did not count.
- To finish my PhD by age 50, I had to start when I was 46. All of a sudden I will be 47 at the beginning of this program. I will probably be 51. I will be 51 regardless, but it is still a goal I had set in my brain.
- In 2020, I was the chair of the professional nurse council for my organization. I was chair during 2020 but over Zoom, does this count? I didn’t have to travel to a far away hospital to be chair, that’s a win right?
- Peace of mind regarding the leadership changes they rammed through. All of a sudden any autonomy I had was gone until 1700. And how is that working out for you?
- My goal has always been to write. I was going to take the year off from school to polish up my fiction writing. And start sending query letters out. Instead, I worked insane hours at the hospital and training to do med-surg nursing so I could offer up hours to people who did not have a lot of hours because the elective cases had gone. Unsurprisingly no one took me up on the offer. Why would they want to work evening shift, if I was working all the hours? And taking all the call because they didn’t want to.
- My over reaching goal for school has always been to write professionally. Articles, textbooks, I’ll do it all. Again, not a lot of movement there because I had been so overwhelmed being a working nurse during the pandemic.
- I lost money on the London trip. This absolutely deserves its own line. It was completely planned and paid for. I had no hope of recouping everything. With the airline credit, I rebought us tickets for August. And they were $2000 less. I theoretically had a credit that carried over but had to be used by March 2022.
- My sister was going to go with us to London for her 40th birthday present. I am sad that I don’t get to share London with her, as we are both anglophiles. I put that money toward a trip to San Francisco, including hotel. We will go to Twinings in her honor. And bring her back some tea to try.
This last one is a biggie and I felt deserved to come out of the queue. I have lost good faith in my fellow man. Whoever made the response to a pandemic political should be sentenced to serve hard time in the ICU watching people die. Instead of sensibly all striving to end the pandemic and get back to our new normal, some people decided to be assholes and whine about their freedoms and embrace other people’s deaths as just a cost of doing business for living their lives as they wanted. I still struggle with this, with rage and disbelief, and I also struggle to forgive.
The United States is over the acute phase of the pandemic for the most part. This is a list of what I personally lost. I think the biggest thing is the warping of time. but I know the biggest thing is knowing that some people don’t care about the dying that is still happening. That vulnerable people are at risk. That is hard to fathom and believe.