QUARANTINE TIMES: BEHIND THE MASK
Updated: Aug 6
"So, I am a physical therapist, which is considered an essential medical service. During the pandemic, my position has become dangerous, but also needed. Due to how my work helps people, I cannot just quit and stop helping those who need to work with physical therapy. With how extensive the virus and pandemic has gotten, my coworkers and I have had to take on extra precautions like many other workers that need to continue their practices during this time.
"Since many of the essential items needed to protect ourselves are difficult to buy, we've been using other things to replace them. The masks that we use to cover our faces are made of cotton and need to be washed everyday, whether at home or in the machines at work.
"Though, I do think that our masks are more decorative than the basic masks you buy at the store. Such as my main mask, which has flowers on it. Try not to be jealous! Every worker in my office has two masks that they switch between, so that we are extra careful when working with our patients. We are not allowed to have on gloves due to the work we do, so instead, we are extra vigilant to wash our hands after every patient we work with.
"When all of this started, I took the time to install 'no touch faucets' in the office so that my coworkers and I wouldn’t have to worry about germs spreading from the sink onto our hands. The majority of the people who work at my office, including me, wear glasses, so the majority of our face is protected. And each room is sanitized after every patient is through.
"Even when traveling, there are extra precautions that I’ve been jumping through hoops to be prepared for. My boss has given me a special permit that allows me to travel to and from work, so that I don’t get fined when traveling through town. Work like this can be very difficult in times like this, since you are always at risk of coming in contact with a carrier of the virus, especially since I also have to be careful about bringing the virus home to my family.
"So, everyday when I come home, I come through the basement of our house that is connected to the garage, strip and throw my clothes into the washing machine downstairs, before heading to the bathroom at the top of the stairs to shower and put on the spares I keep in there.
"All these precautions may seem like a lot, but I say it’s all worth it. It keeps my family, myself, my coworkers, and my patients safe from the spread of this virus. I feel that helping people who may be in extreme pain due to their injuries or medical conditions, is worth all of the precautions and the danger that comes with this job."
~~ Matthew W. Wensel, Interviewed by Emily Hale (Class of '22, Environmental Science & Sustainability Major)
Matthew Wensel is a hero who is risking his life to help ease others' pain. And you can ease a student's pain by clicking the button and making a small donation. Thank you!