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Living with a healthcare worker during COVID-19

By Karli Lemaster | Photo provided by Karli Lemaster

Most people are safest at home right now, but for those of us who live with healthcare workers, we can be at risk in our own homes.

Our family members spend their days and nights in our hospitals and family practice offices taking care of others and trying to save lives, just to come home and possibly put their loved ones in danger.

Let me put into perspective for you. On a normal day when my mom comes home from her job at King's Daughter Medical Center in Ashland, Kentucky, she would come inside, pet the dogs, and hug me and my dad, then go on with daily life.

Now when she comes home, she strips her scrubs off in the garage and places them in a trash bag. She takes her shoes off and sprays them with Lysol, then she walks inside and places these items in the washer and gets straight into the shower before coming in contact with my dad or me.

The Radiology Department at King's Daughters Medical Center at its annual Christmas ornament exchange.

While that’s a large change from her daily routine, it only escalates from there. She has a designated recliner in the family room that no one besides her is allowed to sit in as another precaution.

We have two full bathrooms in our home, and now that I’m living back home, my dad and I are sharing my bathroom. It’s definitely a different situation because I have always had my own bathroom, and now I forget that someone else might be using it. My mom uses the other bathroom, and my parents sleep in separate beds right now.

Something I always look forward to when coming home from college is my mom’s cooking, and I’m missing her comforting casseroles and pasta dishes right now. My dad is making all of our meals, and he mostly cooks on the grill, so we have been eating a lot of meat.

We also have changed where we eat our meals. Typically, we would eat at a breakfast nook table in our kitchen, but we have had to move to our dining room table to be separated at least six feet from my mom while we’re eating. She will sit at one end, and my dad and I will sit at the other so we can still be together.

COVID-19 has brought many changes to our family and really showed us how we take these small daily routines for granted. I would have never thought that my family would be experiencing these changes and worried about my mother’s safety when she goes to work each day, but I’m beyond proud of her and her heart for serving our community.


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