Hurry Up and Wait

I wrote yesterday about going in to serve at a new temporary shelter for ill individuals without a home.  I arrived at the appointed time along with others who would also be present in various roles.  We were oriented to the shelter, taken through mask and glove and safety precautions and how the shelter would be operating. Basically, its providing a “home” for someone (particularly those with covid-19 or the flu) to rest and recover. Dorm type rooms with beds, chairs, tables to work on, access to showers and toilets, internet, 3 meals a day.  Not fancy, but certainly adequate and a major improvement over sleeping outdoors, particularly as we had several inches of snow this week. And there’s a great view of a lake and fields out the windows–ordinarily this is a part of a senior center.

Workers (many of them city employees whose regular jobs are on hiatus) had done a lot of work setting things up, and things were ready to go.  The plan is for 4 different county homeless shelters to screen individuals for illness, and particularly if they had a cough and fever, transport them to this new facility, thus reducing spread within the other shelters and providing a better situation for recovery for those who are ill. We anticipated that the first group would arrive around 6 pm, driven over on a bus from one of the screening locations. Well, off went our driver.  A while later, he phoned the director to say no screening had been done, so someone went over to do screening.  A few hours later, she called, saying she’d screened 20 people and they either weren’t ill or declined to move.

So we had 1 client all night, a young man who had been sent from a clinic that also serves this population. That’s okay, this allowed us time to figure things out. Oh yeah, trash, oh yeah this, that, etc.

What also became clear was that as this is intended as a homelike recovery setting, and has no plans for examining patients or providing medical care, my services aren’t really needed.  So the nurse from the medical corps will be doing some screenings in the future.  If circumstances change, I may return.  Most likely, I’ll be reactivated in a different capacity in a week or two with what is anticipated to be a new ‘field hospital’ type setting at the county fairgrounds.

We shall see. I’m glad I went and got a better sense of things, and I also got some insights into how things are operating and was able to provide some suggestions. I contributed a very little bit. Easing into things, and it did indeed remind me of what often happens in medicine and in urgent situations. Hurry up and wait. That’s okay with me.

Today, the sun is out, BA and I took a walk and enjoyed the weather, along with many of our neighbors.  We did our best to both cordially greet others and observe a healthy social distance. And I’ll end with a photo of a yard nearby–this made a lot of us smile!

In case you can’t read the sign, it says SNOWCIAL DISTANCING.

snowcial distancing

5 thoughts on “Hurry Up and Wait

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