The story of my wife in the US amidst COVID-19

Rajendra Wijesinghe

“Raj, I emailed you the copies of all my legal documents. Take copies and keep them in a file” was the message from my wife, appeared on my mobile at the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States. There, she works as the Case Manager at an assisted care living facility, which offers food, lodging, medical coordination and recreation for around four hundred residents irrespective of particular age group.

Translations by Creative Content Consultants

What she meant was crystal clear to me. I was beginning to feel the gravity. “We are born to die. But my wife to die alone in isolation without human touch.” Usha was well aware that there were positive cases inside the facility. Hospitals do not accept such cases unless their conditions become critical.

Soon after the outbreak, her immediate boss, the Director – Case Management started work from home, and subsequently, she vacated the post. My wife had two options either to abandon the job and apply for unemployment benefits or to continue the work. She chose the latter.   

She stopped the use of public transport and taxies and started to walk to the workplace. I devoted more time to listen to her online. I used to give her the morning update how may new cases and deaths in America, New York Estate and Richmond County, and what Trump and Cuomo speak of COVID19.  She tells me that such dialogues would help her to relieve the stress. On her way to work, she captures the surrounding. “Raj, do you remember this junction? See this house, beautiful, big gardens. Here are rich people.” Honestly, she forgot the circumstances but kept on enjoying the physical environment. “You would remember. This is the nursing home, just behind ours”. I was beginning to enjoy her live telecast.

“Good that you are not here. With all your complications, you would have laid four feet underneath by now,” she repeated again and again. “The residents inside the facility collapse without any symptoms. Only after they were taken to the hospitals, we come to know that they are COVID-19 positive.”

She strictly follows social distancing. She does not depend on the janitors and uses to clean the surfaces that she happens to touch in her office. She gets the water from the filter and prepares her tea by herself at the dining room. Regular sanitizing is a part of her life. As to her, hard currency is the most dangerous. “Money is evil.”

“How is Trump? He says his government is doing great.” my expression focuses on antagonizing her. Her feelings are mixed. “Raj, people here like money more than their lives. Right now taxpayers are entitled to government incentives. They are glad to receive those benefits. Majority of the public is not interested in politics. They feel only if their wallets are empty.” She is right. The developed countries consider more on their economy.

The story of a Sri Lankan who died of COVID 19 in New York was heart touching. He happened to say during his final days, “You could imagine the pain when a fishbone is stuck in your throat. I have a pain of hundreds of such fishbone s penetrating my throat.”  

Very recently, the antibody tests were done for the staff of her workplace. Surprisingly, more than 20% are positive. But none of them has shown any significant symptom. The last resident to quarantine in the facility has completed his tenure. No new cases are found so far. Also, the numbers in Richmond County are gradually reducing.

Obviously, they are immune to live with the pandemic, both physically and mentally. They use to undergo the threat of the pandemic. COVID-19 cannot terrorize such communities.  

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