Stay home, my loved one is a nurse


By Melanie Yingst - Contributing Columnist



I’ve lost track of what day it is.

Like many of you, I’ve been practicing social distancing, working from home (OK, my bed) and yelling at my 16-year-old son, a sophomore, to keep up with his school work. In a matter of hours, teachers threw together a month’s worth of homework and E-day lessons for the littlest learners in kindergarten to seniors who are nearing the end of their high school careers.

This has been one heck of a senior skip day class of 2020.

I also won’t look at toilet paper quite the same again. Last week, I happened to be in a Walgreen’s store in Huber Heights and saw that white gold on the shelves — a sight unseen for weeks. I even think I heard the heavenly choir sing.

And yes, I’m ashamed to admit I bought one package. I didn’t really need it, it was just that psychological hoarding urge I couldn’t muffle. What if I don’t see any again for awhile? Can you spare a square? Well, if need be, I can spare a square.

When ordered to shelter in place earlier this week, I wasn’t sure how I would handle it. I’m a social person. I enjoy people. I like being on the go.

And now, well, I can’t, and it feels awkward. I feel like I should be somewhere, even though I have no where to go.

Opening Day was just a regular Thursday. Church services are canceled. Several of my planned concerts have been postponed.

What a year to plan my first-ever cruise ship experience, right? That got canceled, too.

There’s so many looming unknowns, which I think has been the hardest part. When will kids go back to school? Will there even be a Troy Strawberry Festival? A Miami County Fair? Fourth of July fireworks on the levee?

To steal from Oprah Winfrey’s philosophy, I’ve been trying to concentrate on what I know for sure. I’m enjoying the birds singing outside. I can hear the frogs chirping in the woods. I’m enjoying the quiet noise of the country. Evan and I are watching “Brooklyn 99” from start to finish together. We aren’t in a hurry to get home when we visit my parents.

Evan got his driver’s permit a few weeks ago. We are going to take advantage of the lighter traffic to practice his driving skills. Trust me, he needs a lot of it.

I also pray a little bit more. My twin sister Megan is an RN in a Cleveland Clinic Hospital in Cuyahoga County — Ohio’s epicenter of the virus with 259 confirmed cases. Miami County has 24 confirmed cases.

She’s an award-winning nurse in one of the best hospital systems in the world. Her biggest concern this week? The number of patients in her cardiac wing is low, and she’s afraid people are ignoring symptoms of heart attacks because they are worried they’ll get sick if they go to the hospital.

Her hospital has a COVID-19 patient. And he’s young — 49. They’ve cleared out a storage room to make more bed spaces for this pandemic.

She’s counting the days of the pandemic, waiting for the spike. She knows exactly what day on the calendar it is predicted to spike and hopefully decline.

My sister loves being a nurse. She’s kinda obsessed with taking care of people. She’s done it in some form or fashion her whole life. And now she is worried her kids and husband may get sick because of her career.

I’m worried she may get sick from her career. I’m worried for her and her medical friends, many of whom I met or at least feel like I know through her stories.

I’m worried for all the doctors, nurses and support staff who suit up in scrubs and walk into this war-zone of uncertainty every day.

So, for Megan and all the other people we love who wear scrubs and stethoscopes, let’s just stay home. It’s not easy, but it could be just enough to make our loved ones lives — in the medical battle field — a little easier.

So let’s just count our blessings and the birds for awhile. It’s all they are asking us to do.

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By Melanie Yingst

Contributing Columnist

“Twin” Melanie Yingst is a reporter for the Miami Valley Today. She passes out when she gets her blood drawn.

“Twin” Melanie Yingst is a reporter for the Miami Valley Today. She passes out when she gets her blood drawn.