Helaine Ring

Feeling tired

I am tired. Are you?

I am tired of being tense all the time.  I am tense about my health and the health of my family.  I am tense because of the insanely high numbers of new Covid cases, worldwide, throughout my beloved country and in my own community.  I feel like the finish line is in sight, 17 more days and I will have achieved immunity.  I am afraid to stumble now, to fall when I am so close to the end.  I am tense about my financial situation; I work in an early childhood development center, evaluating speech and language skills in children.  There are many cancellations, I have yet to fill all my available time slots and my employer is not forthcoming with financial assistance or support, but that is a theme for a different post.

I am tired because of my mask.  I   am tired of raising my voice all day every day to ensure that the child in front of me can hear me, in spite of the distance.  I am tired of my throat hurting me, all day, every day, because of the shouting.  I am tired of sanitizing all surfaces after each child; wiping down desks and chairs, toys and workbooks.  I am tired of washing my hands, for two minutes each time, and tired of the endless use of Alco-gel.  

And work, well, it is tough.   It is really hard. Once, I used to have time for a coffee break with colleagues, used to have a chance to exchange a few words on both a professional and personal level with my coworkers.  We used to even sit together once in a while for lunch.  But now that is prohibited, and I miss it.  Now, I take a sip of my coffee and then the mug grows cold sitting in front of my computer screen.

And the kids are really tough.  Their situations are difficult and hard to observe.  The vast majority of the children that I see are young, as young as 30 months old.  And they have significant language delays.  Their evaluations demand a great deal of effort, energy and enthusiasm.  I prance around my room, changing toys and stimuli frequently.  I jump, I dance, anything to keep their attention.  And the summaries are complicated, more involved, requiring more thought, more detail, more time.  It is interesting, after the first lockdown, the majority of my cases were children with a suspicion of autism.  Now things are different, I am seeing kids with major developmental delays, difficulties in language comprehension and expression, large gaps in their play skills and work habits.

In the past,  I felt that I was able to be in charge of all the different aspects of my job, I felt efficient, quick and effective.  Now, I write endless lists to myself, not to forget to call that mom, to remember to print out that summary, to arrange an additional evaluation for that child.  A lot of tasks, a tremendous amount of small details, many things to remember and many things that I worry I might forget.

No doubt, I love my job. I love my place of work, I am proud of the regional staff of speech pathologists that I work with and the paraprofessional staff that I am privileged to call my own. But the work is difficult, and I am tired.  Each and every day I am astounded how tired I 

feel, and I realize that it has no connection whatsoever to the amount of hours I sleep or don’t manage to sleep.  Just now, as I write these lines, I realize the source of my exhaustion.

God willing, we will win against this pandemic and Corona will move from being part of our present to being part of our past.  As I stated, the finish line is on the horizon, we can already smell the sweet scent of its arrival and are just waiting to taste the lovely taste of a return to a less tense life.  I recently read “tough times never last, but tough people do”.  And we are tough people.  

I am so proud of the massive inoculation campaign that our country is waging.  I am proud of all the health care workers who have volunteered to help in this huge project. I feel a strong wave of togetherness, of Zionism.  I am proud of all the support staff coming in after their work hours to help facilitate the inoculations and am excited and happy to be part of this solution.  

I drove to work this morning through a very thick, very unusual fog and I thought to myself that the way that this weird fog is covering the entire country, the Covid virus is covering the world. Both blur, both cause problems and difficulties. But the fog will pass and God willing, so will the Coronavirus.

I am tired, but with the help of God, my strength will return.  How are you feeling?

About the Author
Helaine has been living in Israel since 1981. She is a wife, mother and grandmother. She is looking forward to retirement shortly. She is a speech pathologist, directing an early childhood development center in Kiryat Melachi. Recenly she became a certified transforming hypnotherapist. She has always enjoyed creative writing.
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