I’ve been self-isolated at home for the past two weeks, the result of traveling to Asia and returning to Canada just as all manner of restrictions were kicking in on returning travelers. As recently as the day before my return, the hospital said I could go back to work, but that decision was reversed just hours before landing.
As a result, I’m in danger of having to extend my residency training to make up for the lost time. At the very least, I’m being paid and so far have avoided anything more than a mild cough and some sniffles. On the other hand, my personal productivity has been a total disaster for someone who hasn’t been working for the past 2 weeks.
You would think that with all the time in the world, I would have started a new research project, perfected a recipe for duck leg confit, or at least have a spotless apartment, but I can claim none of these feats. When a friend called me by video chat and asked for a virtual tour of my new apartment which he had never seen, I was embarrassed to say it was too messy to show. The bed wasn’t made, clothes were strewn all over the couch, and dirty dishes lined the kitchen counter.
It’s such a contrast to how things normally are – on a regular working day, I somehow manage to walk 30 minutes each way to and from work, spend 9 hours at work, make a modest dinner in my Instant Pot, go to the gym and have lunch packed for the next day.
Now that I’m isolated at home, I’m ordering meals for delivery, the gym is closed, and at most, I’ll walk around the block a couple times if the weather is nice.
I believe most people, myself included, benefit from plenty of structure in their lives. Once the scaffolding of life disappears, all that structure starts collapsing. The office doesn’t want me showing up, the gym is closed, and there are no social visits. I’m not even supposed to be entering supermarkets, and every walk outside the house feels aimless and without a destination. Then there’s the imperative to stay six feet away from every human and dog I encounter.
It’s hard not to be glued to the news and social media, seeing as how the coronavirus is the only thing anyone can talk about. Things are evolving by the hour, and there’s no shortage of content to keep one occupied, if nothing else than just refreshing the current tally of worldwide coronavirus cases. And yet, spending hours reading the news right now is about as useful as it ever is – not very, because almost all the news that’s relevant to my life can be summarized in perhaps one paragraph, and I’m stuck at home anyways so it’s not as if it mattered that supermarkets are now limiting themselves to 50 patrons at a time.
One reason I went into medicine is that I wanted an interactive, service-type job where I wasn’t sitting at a computer all day. As much as I love to write, and I’m grateful to have the time to dust off my blog and write again, I’m not sure I’ll have a lot to say if I’m cooped up all day.
I hope life soon edges back towards normal, for everyone’s sake. People need their exercise, their potluck and crocheting groups and the benefits of going to work – which I maintain is good for most people’s health.