A few days ago, we asked to hear from those of you who are essential workers—those of you who can’t stay home right now—about what you are thinking about, and what’s helping you. And we’ve heard from so many of you since then—thank you. We’re working on an episode that represents the range of workers we heard from, that’ll come out on Wednesday.
But today, I wanted to start with this one voice memo that came in. This listener recorded it outside, while she was on a walk.
JENNIFER DUNHAM: Hi Anna, my name is Jennifer Dunham. I work as a surgical nurse in Ohio. Getting to work, being able to work, having the privilege to work, and then having the fear that maybe I'm bringing this home to my family... it weighs heavily on my mind.
My husband and I, we have six kids. Three of them are home with us now, and my father-in-law also lives with us. Everybody's pitching in, trying not to get on each other's nerves.
I think the biggest thing that I would like people to do is, um, at least for me, I can't speak for everybody else, but I want people to be patient... with me, with each other. I want you guys to know that we're doing the best that we can. And in, I am scared, too.
I have one mask that I received when I did my TB testing about, I don't know, six, eight months ago, and I kept in my locker not thinking that I would ever really use it for an emergency, as we have always had them available to us. But that's not the case because people have been stealing masks, and stealing hand sanitizer, and stealing gloves, and stealing towels. And it's incredible to me that people think that by taking these things, they're saving themselves, but... they're really not.
I mean, I'm still washing my hands, like I always have. I always greet my patients with a big smile, and then I put my mask on, and they know the drill by now because, obviously, there's TVs everywhere.
It's a good time. My husband and I talk a lot about it. Uh, the people set, set aside their political agendas. and their religious agendas, and... just love each other. I'm not, like, saying that in a woo-woo way, I'm saying that in a practical, we have to come together, and this will pass over us, and it's not lost on me that this is close to Passover. And, well, I'm not a hugely religious person. I mean, I'm, I'm spiritual, and I'm soulful. And when I look at my children, and we go for walks and they ask me, 'Mom, you know, are you going in today?' I'm like, 'Yeah, I am.' You know, a couple of my kids, sometimes they get up early and try to see me off now. They're like, 'Be safe, Mom.'
And, um, being present... breathing, taking our time. That's, that's what we need to do, being mindful.
I'm, uh, out here, walking in the woods, blowing off some steam, and listening to the peeps, and enjoying their hopeful... chatter.
Well, I'm praying for everybody, and I'm encouraging everybody. And if I could wrap my arms around you, I would. 'Cause I'm a big hugger and well, this, this is really putting the kibosh on my hugging.
Please take care, Anna, and please stay healthy. I need you. Thanks.
Thanks, Jennifer. We need you too. We’ll share more thoughts from those of you who are essential workers on Wednesday. In the meantime, if you have thoughts you’d like to share… record them and send them to us at email@example.com.