This past week was the one year anniversary of my twin sister’s death. It forced me to re-acknowledge that she is gone, which brought up a wealth of emotions. I realize now that I have spent this entire past year angry at her. Very few people know that. The anger has been strong enough that without realizing it, I had suppressed any happy or joyful memories that I had of her and with her. All of my nightmares have been composed of images and scenarios in which my anger is acted out. I don’t want to be angry at her, but I suppose it is a coping mechanism within the grief process. I didn’t even realize any of this until a happy memory surfaced this past week. The memory brought immense joy and pain at the same time. Grief is complicated like that, and as Forrest Gump said, “That’s all I have to say about that.”
We are in outbreak mode at the hospital here. Being on an island has isolated these people from what has occurred on other continents. They have managed to somewhat “control”, or rather delay the pandemic. Because of this, I feel like I am re-living the initial phase of the pandemic from several years ago. Back in the United States (mainland), everyone has become desensitized (to some degree) in regards to it, but here it is new. I see people wearing gloves in public again, something I never understood. Can we take a moment to celebrate our integumentary system? Our skin (integumentary system) is the largest organ in our body. It serves as a physical barrier between our external environment and internal environment. It’s purpose is to protect us from disease. There are actually very few reasons that you would wear gloves in public. While people may think that they are protecting themselves and others by wearing gloves in public, they are actually spreading germs in the community since the surface of the gloves supports/spreads germs, and unlike skin, washing gloves is not an option. The moral of the story is this: Your integumentary system already has you covered. Wash your hands frequently and/or use hand sanitizer instead of wearing gloves in public. You and the community will be a safer place because of it.
In the mean time, it is my duty (as a nurse) to support them through their fears (which are valid), advocate for them, and provide hope and encouragement until they make it to the other side of the outbreak.