What an insanely hectic week it’s been. Last Tuesday, after 103 days, our residents were finally able to see their families again. After careful thought, preparation, and State-approved plans, we announced that visits could be scheduled once a week (per resident) for a half hour at a time. Appointments were to take place outside (at six feet apart, of course) and masks would be a must. We had it down to a science and couldn’t wait to hit the ground running. Many visits would be a surprise (!!), and we excitedly imagined how our loves would react. In true form, the reality of what transpired did not quite match our expectations:
- Expectation: At first glance, residents will burst into tears of joy.
Reality: Masks really make it hard to recognize somebody, especially if your vision’s poor. Of the countless visits we hosted this week, one resident spotted her daughter and cried. She also knew ahead of time that she was coming.
- Expectation: A half hour will be way too short; when the timer goes off, they’ll still be mid-conversation, having barely scratched the surface of all there is to catch up on.
Reality: Awkward silence after about seven minutes (at least for most, others made it a bit longer). When you’ve done nothing for three months, it turns out there’s not much to talk about!
- Expectation: Families will be so careful not to potentially expose their loved one to illness – they will abide by all rules, no questions asked.
Reality: Um, did anyone actually read the guidelines? Also, how old are we? Take your eyes off visitors for one second and suddenly masks become chinstraps & butts leave their seats.
- Expectation: I will be a silent chaperone; I’ll supervise each visit from my post but will not otherwise be involved.
Reality: I’ve done more cardio in each half hour time slot than I do with my new personal trainer in a week. When not jumping from my chair to enforce social distancing, I’m “translating” messages from soft-spoken visitors who seem to have forgotten that they must shout (especially when six feet apart).
- Expectation: One visit per week will not be nearly enough.
Reality: One visit per week will not be nearly enough. Although they haven’t lived up to our expectations, they’re absolutely perfect, and my God, are they worthwhile.