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How the Coronavirus Changed My Family Life
Christina Yasutomi

TJ Halemano-Reed '20, above, with her mother. Photo courtesy of TJ Halemano-Reed. 

When the stay-at-home order started, I’ll admit that at first, I only thought about myself and my own problems. I felt that it was unfair that I didn’t have a senior night for judo or that my high school graduation ceremony might be canceled. But during my time in self-isolation, I started to see that there are bigger problems out there.

My mom is a registered nurse at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children. When the pandemic took off in March, her unit began preparing for an influx of patients and put in place extra safety measures, such as wearing PPE (personal protective equipment) and following distancing rules.

Working at the hospital also increased my mother’s exposure to the virus. For my own safety and protection, my mom sent me to live with my grandma. But there was also a concern for my grandma’s health and safety. So before I could move into my grandma’s house, we decided that I would self-isolate myself in a camping tent that we set up in the garage for the first two weeks of my stay. If I needed to enter the house, I would wear a face mask and open doors while wearing gloves.

The tent TJ lived in while in quarantine in her grandmother's garage. Photo courtesy of TJ Halemano-Reed. 

During that time, I thought about my mom’s health and worried about who would take care of her if she did get the virus. I wondered how long this pandemic would last and when I would be able to hug my mom without being scared of catching the virus.

My mom still stops by to visit me while maintaining social distancing. However, once she comes into contact with COVID-19 patients, I’m sure that she’ll make the hard decision not to visit us so as to keep us safe. This may seem extreme and ridiculous to those who aren’t directly affected by the virus, but for me, it’s a rational choice. I do know that in order for things to go back to normal, everyone needs to play their part. If medical workers like my mom are willing to risk their lives to serve others, staying at home isn’t too much to ask for everyone else.

This article was featured in the 2020 Summer edition of the Soaring Eagle Newsletter