How will we get through this? My personal story of living with a healthcare hero

For the first time in the four decades of my existence, the entire world has been impacted by the same thing. Everyone is worried about it. Everyone is thinking about it. Everyone feels alone in one way or another, yet we are all experiencing the same thing, right?

We have similar stories to tell. We’re working from home and the internet sucks. We stood in line at the grocery store, but toilet paper and chicken breasts were missing from the shelves. Our favorite local restaurants and coffee shops – closed. These are familiar stories.

What I wasn’t expecting was the evening when my husband, a hospital administrator, told me that he thought it was in my best interest to physically distance himself from me. He’s working late nights and early mornings, preparing for a surge, in and out of clinics, doctor’s offices and hospitals. He’s exposed. And he’s worried.

We don’t have any children at home, no pets and our yard is under construction. I’m working from home, alone, all day. And now my husband is going to move into a separate bedroom, bathroom and eat off paper plates. He won’t hold my hand or cook me dinner.

I constantly ask him questions. Should he be touching that or handling that? Should I clean the light switches every day and pour him a drink in a plastic cup?

I want to do this right. If we are going to do it, I don’t want to mess up. There was nothing that caused me to doubt our marriage before, but now I feel like there is something wrong. We’re sleeping in separate bedrooms but we’re not fighting. What we are doing is communicating. If a surge does hit, he will move out. If God-forbid, he gets sick – we have a plan for that too. What else can we do, but keep asking questions and talking about it?

I know I’m not alone. There are many of you out there who are married, related to or friends with a healthcare hero – or one yourself. Regardless of your situation, everyone is affected. We’ve found new ways to communicate through technology and through yelling across the street. So we will get through this. Let’s keep talking. And maybe one positive thing to come out of all this – we made stronger connections with those we love because we made an effort to communicate.

Letitia Fecher