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Living with an ER doctor during the COVID-19 crisis

Published: Apr. 8, 2020 at 7:57 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 8, 2020 at 7:58 PM CDT
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SHELBY COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Outside the Smith’s back door, a pair of shoes signals the doctor is in.

“We are definitely more cautious,” said Christy Smith. Her husband, Jason, is an emergency room doctor at Shelby Baptist Medical Center in Alabaster.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 165 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Shelby County.

“We kind of reevaluate every time he comes off of a block of shifts, you know, just, ‘How are the patients?’ Of course, he can’t tell me a lot, it’s kind of a general overall, ‘How do you feel like your shift was? Were you exposed to too much?’ We really go back and forth on that a lot, we’ve had a lot of conversations,” said Smith.

“He washes his clothes separately. He wipes down his pens, his badges, everything that has been in the ER he wipes down before he comes into the house. He wears booties, his shoes never come inside. It’s just very different than what we are accustomed to,” said Smith.

Smith knows the precautions are necessary, but it’s an adjustment - especially the welcome home.

“We’ve addressed it with our children. They know don’t touch dad, don’t see dad until he’s showered,” said Smith.

Instead of hugs, Smith is greeted at the door with handmade posters. One reads “We’re proud of you and we love you, Dad!” “Dad” is written between two big, red hearts.

While much of their lives have changed during this crisis, one thing hasn’t.

“We pray often, and I think that’s important as a family,” said Smith.

Important for their family, and others on the frontlines of this crisis, said Smith. Tuesday night, she and her kids joined dozens of others outside Shelby Baptist to pray for the staff. The prayers are welcomed, and needed, said Smith, and so is some normalcy.

“We have family game night and we are learning a lot of new things together, trying to cook new things together and just trying to use this time to be united as a family,” said Smith.

The Smiths know a day might come when their precautions aren’t enough.

“We may get to the point, especially in the coming weeks, where it’s best if he stays and sleeps somewhere else and that would be really hard for all of us,” said Smith. “Right now, we are just trying to make the best of it and stay together as a family as best we can.”

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