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Elkhart General LPN looks after high-risk extended family during pandemic

Jenean Halsey, LPN, CTC Coordinator and AHA Instructor at Elkhart General Hospital, shares how the pandemic has affected her life.

“I’m an LPN with 26 years’ experience. I have worked 24 of those years at Elkhart General Hospital. I started my time at EGH on the skilled nursing unit, before transferring to the Post-Surgical Care unit, which is now Medical-Surgical. After 20 years, I transitioned to my current position of Community Training Center Coordinator. I have been in this role 3 years. I am married with two children and four grandchildren. My husband is considered an essential worker as well; he is a department manager at a local supercenter.

“You asked us to explain how this pandemic is affecting our lives at work and at home. At work, I am currently working to support our frontline staff by making sure they are up to date with AHA certifications. I come to work Monday to Friday and teach classes.

“Grocery shopping has been one of the biggest changes for me. I would normally run by the store on the way home to grab something to make for dinner and now I shop every two weeks with no unnecessary stops. I used to take my mom shopping monthly, but now that does not happen either. I now shop for myself, my mom, my aunt, my oldest son, and my father-in-law, all at once. If you were to see me in the store you would think I am one of the hoarders with the amount of food I purchase. I do get some strange looks, but what they do not know is that I am shopping for those that are at high risk to protect them.

“My life at home has really changed especially with the schools being closed until the end of the school year. I have a high school senior and you can only imagine the stress he has going on right now. ‘Will I graduate?’ ‘Will I get to walk?’ ‘Will I be able to move onto college in the fall?’ How do I as a parent answer these questions? My answer is and will always be, ‘I don’t know.’ This is something I struggle with daily.

“We had Easter, and no, I did not get to see my grandchildren physically, but there are many apps out there that let you talk to them virtually. We did not do the big Easter dinner or egg hunt but those things are not what are important right now. “Flattening the curve,” is what everyone is trying to do. I do go out daily to work and then on my way home I have to go and check on my aged mother and then my father-in-law. After I make sure my mom and Pa are taken care of, I retreat to my home where I stay until the next day. Normally I would go visiting neighbors or other family members locally, but we don’t dare do that just yet.

“This is my new ‘normal’ but I cannot wait to get back to the ‘old normal.'”


Remember when … ?
We want you to write about your life during Coronavirus. Reflect upon how your life has changed, how you have changed, how you are coping — so future generations understand what it was like to live through this pandemic. Please send to Heidi Prescott at gro.metsyshtlaehnocaeb@ttocserph and we’ll share some stories with our Beacon colleagues and with the community.