Indulge me reader and let me go more in depth about what Stan and I do for a living.
Stan has been an ER nurse for 13 years and myself an ER Nurse turned Nurse Practitioner (if you don’t know what this is please go ahead google ) for the past 11. You can imagine the chaos of the Emergency Department , patients with varieties of complaints, personalities, never ending consumption of your brain, physical being and constant juggling of who/what is most important in the hierarchy of what fire you put out first. You start a task and get interrupted 4 x in 30 minutes but hey that’s what makes it interesting. No two days are ever the same. Needless to say if you endeavor to do this type of work for more than a year of your life you become resilient to constant change. Adaptation is the most important survival skill in the ED and if you aren’t adaptable you don’t survive the work, let alone thrive. Also, you become an extreme task master. Not unlike planning your turns board gaming 4 rounds in advance to set yourself up for success. Execution takes preparation, setting your work shift up for success- crossover board game skill!! Board games started to fill my brain space and for Stan, almost consume it as it fulfils different but similar brain waves. The same passion and skill to create a game must have come somewhere out of being the most advanced human task master in the ER world(my husband-I swear).
Fast-forward to 2020. Sars-CoV2 (Covid-19) is a novel, scary as shit virus daunting to the most hardcore ER providers and nurses on the planet. We have seen some bad shit, OK? Broken bones are fixable most of the time anyway. COVID what the f? Lives on surfaces and is airborne? How do we keep ourselves safe and not infect our family and friends and also oh hey yea fight it without proper protection AND there is really no MFing treatment?
We saw a lot. I popped into the ICU to help COVID patients who died, quietly, without family and friends. I took that sadness with me in ways I couldn’t imagine and I am still grieving.
COPING. Yes, us ER people are good at COPING. It’s also a survival skill. To keep ourselves sane after seeing the “bad shit” we socialize, party when we are young and as we are older and wiser, come up with other strategies to deal with anxiety, emotion, things we cannot control.
Enter board games. Remember the lockdown? Stan and I played 30 games in 30 days. And remember the intensity at which it is important to keep to yourself and stay with your family, isolated but safe?- We stayed in, kept loved ones safe and played 30+ more.
I would say that there are a couple things I am grateful for as 2021 starts. 1) my vaccination 2) board games.
Board games gave me a focus even when it felt like I couldn’t focus on anything else. Returning to our life was joy and control. Control over my losses and wins. Unlike real life. Unlike covid care.
Goodbye 2020. It was harder than I could have imagined. I really didn’t want to be playing the real-life Pandemic the board game but now it seems like, finally, just maybe, we are picking up the strain cubes off the map.