“I am six months pregnant and per the hospital policy, I am not to be assigned to care for any individuals with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
As a hospital speech pathologist, my role as member of the COVID-19 team would have been to assess and manage post-extubation dysphagia [i.e. difficulty swallowing]. Instead, I am helping my colleagues by seeing other patients across the hospital with swallowing and communication difficulties.
Individuals with communication difficulties and language barriers are feeling very isolated in absence of their family members. They are always happy to see a familiar face. We use iPads and phones to help them talk to their loved ones. We continue to run the outpatient swallowing clinic virtually as we don’t want these patients to end up in the ED or ICU with complications from dysphagia such as aspiration pneumonia.
Things at home are a very different. My husband is a pediatric [emergency] physician. Back in March when all this started, we made the difficult decision of moving him out as we were worried about infecting me and our baby. It was quite lonely coming back to an empty home.
We would try to talk everyday but with his shift work, it was not always possible. Soon we realized that this pandemic could go on for several months. At the beginning of April, he moved back home. It is nice to be under the same roof and occasionally share a meal together, but we have continued to physically distance. Our baby is due in July and we are not sure if he will be present when I deliver.
It is not the kind of world we imagined bringing our baby into, but we are optimistic that it will only get better from here on!”