VOICES OF CORONA--Michon's Story

May 30, 2020

VOICES OF CORONA--Michon's Story

Michon Coats
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (crna) Specialist
Lees Summit, MO

Stay-at-home status:
Both my husband and I work in health care, so have been able to thankfully, continue to go to and from work.  It affects our “come home” status more than anything, with a decontam stop in the garage, and then straight to the shower before kiddos and being in the house.   

What are the hardest challenges you’ve experienced during lockdown?
I have been delivering anesthesia for 16 years, and like everyone else, had never anticipated the departures from my very safe routines that COVID has caused.  Aside from patient safety and personal protective gear, we are constantly thinking about ways to keep airway circuits closed; safely, having nurses far away from a coughing, waking-up, patient, putting in breathing tubes with little to no expiration from my patient, and then waking them at the end of a surgery.  Immediately, I put oxygen on and then the necessary extra step of putting a protective mask on them, which takes me that much further away from their direct airway, physical contact, tactile, visual and audible senses, all of which I use to make sure they are safely waking up, under “normal” circumstances.  

Patient anxiety has been paramount on our minds, as people come into the hospital for needed surgeries, with fear of exposure as well as complete lack of family/friend, support.  Through this, I have contemplated “attacks” on how this entity or that have “responded” to the pandemic; the bottom line is, it has taken us ALL by storm, and until you are in the eye of the tornado, gauging responses, fallout, fears, the economy and how to persevere in this crisis, unequivocally, was unpredictable, at best.  

Personally, the most difficult challenges have been having the kids at home and finding opportunities to keep them active, without becoming TV junkies(!!), not seeing our extended families, and undeniably, the inability to attend Mass.   

Any blessings, glass-half-full moments?
Many more phone calls, much fewer texts.. addiction to Bishop Barron’s Daily Mass, setting aside my early morning prayer and reading the Bible instead, soaking up time with my kids, teaching, talking, listening, driveway sits. I have stopped rushing.

What are you watching?
We are huge Survivor fans, and thankfully, they got off the island before COVID! 

Chernobyl on Amazon Prime; nothing short of stunning.  Blacklist, and any spy, action flick we can watch with the kids. 

Any new habits you’ve picked up?
I don’t (ever) wear make-up. It occurred to me several weeks ago, after a patient comment that he couldn’t tell if I was smiling because of all my head “gear” that I needed to focus on a smile with my eyes. Could I show that to a patient? As a result, I started wearing mascara to work, which seems silly, but  when my brain is focused on showing my patient a smile, a glimpse of confidence and security,  a calming of fear, an ice breaker…smile with your eyes-Now glamorously adorned with a pack of mascara punch!

We set up a volleyball court by making and filling 25-gallon buckets with cement, and putting up a net.  Nightly, all of us are out there playing volleyball!

The kids and I get to the Metro Lutheran Food Pantry in Kansas City as much as we can, to assemble food boxes for local clients. It has been amazing for my kids and I, giving and receiving joy beyond measure. Caden, my 10-year-old son, and I have perfected homemade chocolate chip cookie dough balls...and solving the Rubiks cube. 

Any random life hacks you’ve discovered?
Having everybody go to the bathroom before we leave the house!

Homeschooling working mom imperative: the night before, each kid and I make a list of what they can and can’t do with me gone at work. While I am gone, they get a good chunk of school work done, and are down to the necessities by the time I am home. Over time, they have even learned to help each other through the definitive “mom” stuff!

Favorite quarantine snack?
Slightly burned popcorn, and I started roasting my own nut and seed combos. I can’t get enough of that, and frozen chocolate chip cookie dough balls.

Favorite way to move your body?
Running and weightlifting.  I just signed up to do the Memorial Day to Labor Day I-70 virtual run challenge across Missouri and Kansas. The “race” goal is a motivator and daunting at once.  

Any favorite scripture or quote you’re loving?
Esther 4:14, “If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place; but you and your fathers’ family will perish.  And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.”  God doesn’t stop calling.

Through the pandemic, my husband and I have drawn ever closer, in ways as a team, parents, friends, than we ever imagined; this is on my mirror, “Married love is an act of free will, whose trust is such that it is meant not only to survive the joys and sorrows of daily life, but also to grow, so that husband and wife become in a way, one heart and one soul,” St. Peter.  

Michon’s not on Instagram, but if you want to send her a note of thanks, you can send it to Janel.Broderick@gmail.com and I will pass it on to her.

Disclaimer: We know that the current global pandemic, COVID-19, has brought devastating and irreparable loss. This blog series in no way attempts to capture the scale and scope of this tragedy, but instead aims to share individual stories of every-day women living under various stages of stay-at-home orders across the country.

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