The Lab: From Commune to COVID Unit

May 30, 2020

It’s easy to forget where Julia is going when she rolls out of bed at 5 in the morning and disappears into the sunrise. Birds chirp outside the yurt. I make tea. 

Meanwhile, my partner is preparing to rebreathe her own carbon dioxide all day under 3 layers of face protection in the COVID unit. 

In my world I do weird yogic hyperventilation, bake bread, and open my computer to answer emails. 

In her world she is caring for patients she can’t touch, who have a disease with no cure.

At the end of my workday I putter in the garden.

She ends her day stripped down and showered before she can hug anyone. 

Back together, I give her all the support I can. Kittens are a secret weapon. And a lot of listening. 

I hope this recording helps all of us better understand what nurses are going through, so we can be there for them as best we can. 

P.S. It’s a good sign when I receive midday nurse memes from Julia. That usually means things are going OK. It’s another way of her helping me understand. Here are a few choice examples: 


Are you a nurse or essential worker, or live with one? What has your experience been like?

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