Behind the front lines of the pandemic

Originally published at

I’m a software engineer and so I usually fill this space with software and systems engineering topics. It’s what I do and love, and I enjoy writing about it, but not today. Instead I’m going to talk about what my wife does, and loves doing, and how the times we are living through have affected her job and our lives together. In many ways we’re among the lucky ones: we both have incomes and health insurance, and I already worked from home. In other ways we’re not so fortunate. The current crisis facing the world is like nothing any of us have seen in a generation or more. It’s impacting every single segment of our population and economy, and everyone has a story. This is what ours looks like, almost four weeks into lock-down.

My wife is a registered nurse. She works at a regional hospital in northern New Jersey, about 30 miles from our home. She has been there more than a decade. Her current role is as clinical coordinator on a cardiac critical care unit. You can think of it as sort of the captain of the care team. Some weeks ago, in preparation for what was obviously coming, her unit was converted into a negative pressure floor for the care of Covid-19 cases. This means that a lot of work was done to seal the floor off and provide ventilation to lower the air pressure within to prevent the escape of infectious material. The same was done to one other unit in the hospital, and a lot of work was also done to prepare to provide intensive respiratory care for patients in those units.

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