Our pandemic stories: No boredom for pharmacy technician, student, staff writer

Illustration by Mattheau Faught

As a pharmacy technician, I haven’t had the option of staying home like many people have. My friends complain on social media about their levels of boredom since the quarantine went into effect. Meanwhile, I feel stretched thin and more overwhelmed than usual.
Not only are we unable to keep basic items like gloves, rubbing alcohol or thermometers in stock, but the amount of prescription medications we can order is severely limited.
Patients are frightened and panicking. They want to fill everything six months early so they can stock up on meds like they have on toilet paper.
I’ve been instructed by corporate not to mention anything about the pandemic in order to keep patients calm. Much like the Trump administration’s response, we’re encouraged to simply ignore the problem for the sake of calamity prevention.
We’ve had a number of suspected cases come through the pharmacy, and believe me, it scares us too.
I’m young and reasonably healthy. I personally don’t have much to worry about, but I’m worried about spreading the illness to my loved ones. Both of my parents have compromised immune systems and I have a 73-year-old grandmother that I can’t even hug.
Ironically though, despite the fears many people have, I’ve noticed a societal shift in mentality when it comes to healthcare professionals. We’re actually being treated with respect.
In the past few weeks, I’ve gotten more direct signs of appreciation from patients than ever before. People are actually thanking us for coming to work.
The crowds are starting to decrease now that the initial panic is subsiding. And we might even be able to catch up on things like filing or insurance issues that have fallen behind.
It’s been hard to find time to breathe these past several weeks. In addition to my work as a healthcare professional, I’m also a staff writer for the Et Cetera and a student. The rest of the world seems to be slowing down while my life is accelerated by gasoline and gunpowder in the wake of COVID-19.
Fear remains, but the general population seems to be calming down as people adjust. Let’s hope it stays that way. For the sake of my sanity, I hope it’s not just the eye of the storm.
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