I’ve been home for about five days now, with another five to go before I fly back out to NYC. I’ll be out for at least 10 days, possibly 14 if they grant my request for an extension. The master plan is to fly back on April 19th and, if I have my way with the schedule, return home on May 4th. While I had most of the month of April off, I was fully scheduled for most of May previously. Now, I’ve had a stroke of “luck” and my hours have almost entirely cancelled. Apparently, the emergency department I had contracted at previously has cut staff because their volumes are significantly lower than usual. That’s encouraging in some respects, because it means people are staying out of the ED if they don’t truly need to be there. Since I’m now off during most of May and ongoing until further notice, I’ll likely continue to travel to areas experiencing surge. That might be NYC for the entire time, but if things start to calm down a bit there, I may end up somewhere completely different.
I’ve been doing some things for myself while home, most of which are probably unhealthy. I spent the first three days at home in my pajamas living on cake and Easter candy. I usually bring my five-year-old daughter a small present of some kind when I travel for extended periods of time, so this time I brought a strawberry shortcake from a local bakery in NYC for her, but I ended up eating most of it myself. I got home in time for Easter, one of my daughter’s favorite holidays, so we had fun with egg hunts. I’ve had the urge to go out running a few times, but it’s been too cold here, so I’ve done very little exercise other than some light stretching and some very short bike rides.
During the reprieve, I got an email from the university I teach at part-time. They were seeking medical staff to volunteer to staff the tent hospital that’s being set up in anticipation of a surge in Milwaukee. Funnily enough, the tent will be open almost exactly two weeks after the spring election happened. Our state governor tried to cancel in-person voting in favor of vastly expanding absentee voting, but the state supreme court forced the election to be held anyway. The election took place and, I extrapolate based on the tent hospital opening two weeks later, they are expecting a major increase in cases due to the breach in social distancing by voters. I contacted the group that is setting the facility up and had a conference call with them about my experiences running the tent hospital in NYC, which hopefully gave them useful information. I also offered to give them access to a free, open-access COVID-19 education module I’ve been helping develop to prepare nurses and paramedics for dealing with COVID-19 patients, which they were happy to accept. The course should be out in several days; the portion I wrote is going through an expedited peer review before it’s published.