Occupational Therapist,
Los Angeles, CA

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This is part of our series, Flattened By the Curve, which features the voices of doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, and others on the front lines against COVID-19. For information on how to submit, click here.

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It’s gown then gloves — yes
Take them off in the reverse
Then bleach the face shield

My mom sent me these
No, they are K-ninety-fives
They are from China

Some things are the same
The radio is playing
“How will I know if”

The sub IV nurse
Usually works in plastics
Misses “butts and boobs”

I have an update
My test came back negative
But I am coughing

Three days symptom-free
That is what they said before
A conspiracy?

Even in emergencies
You have to write it

Water is dripping
A plumbing emergency
During corona

What does “purple” mean
Technically Negative
Still wear all your gear

Two negative tests
Both within twenty-four hours
That’s how you are cleared

The Positive ones
They will cross contaminate
Save them for the end

I’m your therapist
Try to sit at edge of bed
I know you are tired

He seems worse today
The radio still playing
It’s mostly eighties

Simple directions
I guess I’ll use baby oil
He has a Bible

I tried to learn it
Give last rites to the dying
They died before I—

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Fiona Rose Purdon is an Occupational Therapist living Los Angeles County. She works in a skilled nursing facility, where she navigates treating both negative and positive COVID patients without spreading infection. Somehow, she can still momentarily forget that there is a pandemic.