bogeyandruby

Random stuff, reflections on the meaning of life and death, humour, self-deprecation, a bit of bad poetry.

This past Friday, our health unit dispatched two teams to a local senior’s residence in crisis to help with medications and COVID-19 testing.

I was paired with an auxiliary nurse I hadn’t worked with before, a tall and elegant Roshumba Williams type. We met in the lobby of the residence and practiced vigorous hand hygiene before a sink made for giants that was flush with my chin and Roshumba’s hips, then had our temperatures taken. Afebrile. Roshumba handed me my PPE kit.

The white gown threw me off guard a little (we were used to gauzy, yellow, flowy PPE the length of car coats). It unfolded like a table cloth, its stiff, pleated sections hanging like a large, sectional Ikea rectangle. Its length was lined with closely spaced tiny snaps culminating in a neat mandarin collar at the top. Following Roshumba’s lead, I donned it like a lab coat and proceeded to snap away until it completely covered my Gap jeans, my Old Navy plaid shirt, leaving only grape-purple sneakers peaking out from under the hem. I spent the next 6 hours in full (stark white) PPE, roaming the hallways like a mini refrigerator, visor head swivelling like R2D2 as I tried to keep up with Roshumba’s longer stride length, not to mention her work ethic. We got the job done though it weren’t pretty.

Fast forward to today. A new client. Level 2 PPE stuffed into a paper lunch bag. I was already wearing my mask as I rang the bell. The door was opened by my client’s son. I spread brown paper towels on the floor of the hallway to create a clean surface on which to lay the lunch bag and my work bag. Hand hygiene was done first. Gown next. This one was blue. Large enough to to protect the entire Western Hemisphere, it completely covered my purple sneakers, elasticated sleeves extended to the ground in knuckle-grazing PPE style. I pushed them up determinedly and donned medium sized gloves over Hobbit-sized hands. The client’s lovely son asked me if I’d like a tea and I politely declined as one purple sneaker stepped on the inside of the gown, momentarily stopping the earth and me from spinning. I lifted the hem with begloved hands and proceeded.

Evaluation completed. Recommendations given. I doffed gloves and elasticated sleeves unfurled to the ground. Lost hands were eventually found and cleaned. I peeled the blue sky off next, carefully rolling it into a ball, inside out, and tried to stuff it back into the tiny paper lunch bag which promptly ripped straight down the middle. Apologetically, I left the bulging blue detritus in the hallway of my client, instructing his son to wash his hands after he disposed of it.

Home care PPE is clearly not an exact science and its one size must fit all approach is (thankfully) fodder for blogs. Please stay safe, friends.

14 thoughts on “PPE Fail, Take 2

  1. Jean says:

    I am so sorry.

    Like

    1. bogeyandruby says:

      Jean, don’t be sorry. It’s all good. It’s just that at 4’10” I wear kid-sized pants so the PPE is always humongous on me. Ya gotta laugh or you’re gonna cry.

      Like

  2. micko1 says:

    Thanks for Sharing Sharon, as always I am honored to be able to read the words of such a good writer! Some very good images there for your book!

    You guys stay safe!

    Like

    1. bogeyandruby says:

      Do ya have a white crayon, Mike? That’s all you’ll need. Thanks for stopping by and encouraging me. 😊

      Like

  3. Suzanne Desmarais says:

    Woosh, you are amazing Sharon. I am certain you must have some trepidation each time you perform a duty. Even when you are dressed to look like a refrigerator. But I hope you realize you and your colleagues are true heroes and when you put your head down at night, you have made a big difference, a wonderful one, in other peoples lives. Rock on girl. I applaud you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. bogeyandruby says:

      Thanks, Suzanne! It’s a little tricky in home care because PPE and hand washing has to be organized and prepared ahead of time but we have a wonderful support team behind us at the office. Honestly, it isn’t the same connection with clients and their families when you are wearing pretty much a hazmat suit aka refrigerator costume.🙏😘

      Like

      1. Elaine says:

        Well Sharon, you left m in stitches and tears running down my cheeks. You are a great comic writer!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. bogeyandruby says:

        Thanks, Elaine! That makes me happy!

        Like

  4. Live & Learn says:

    4’10”? I would never have guessed. I had you lean and 5’11” easy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. bogeyandruby says:

      I feel 5’11” most of the time— that is until something or someone reminds me otherwise! 🙃

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ellie P. says:

    Sharon! You wrote such a cute and funny account of what could (and maybe was) have been a harrowing, hot-‘n-bothered frustrating day. “Knuckle-dragging” sleeves and “white refrigerator” – you’re hilarious! Maybe you could, er, fold the darn gowns?? In three, or four?! 😬😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. bogeyandruby says:

      Thanks so much, Ellie! You may be a little taller than me but imagine trying to fold something as big as a parachute or as long as a bedsheet small enough to fit in a little brown lunch bag! What comes out does not always slide back in. Unfortunately for the clients, we have to leave the used PPE for them to dispose of. 🙏😘

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ellie P. says:

        The world wasn’t made for shorties!! 😬💕

        Like

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