The Trip to the Farmers Market

I drive to the Farmers Market on this dreary Friday. Frankly, it’s nice to have a break from the sunny, humid days. The gray skies impersonate an early Fall and lift my spirits. 

This trip gets me out of the house and into a semblance of normalcy that I remember before the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders began.

Since I plan to write this week’s post about the Farmers Market, I park the car near the entrance to take a picture of the main signpost. On my way back to the car, I notice a white face mask on the road. It looks like mine. It is mine. What are the chances it dropped onto a smear of COVID-19 germs? After a brief hesitation, I pick it up and put it on my face. 

When I come to the Farmers Market, I like to start at one end of the Farmers Building (which is 30,000 square feet) and work my way down the main aisle checking produce and prices on either side. Then, I turn around when I reach the end and retrace my steps, this time making purchases. 

Today, all I am going to do is buy peaches and take pictures.

The market organizers have done away with the wide middle lane running north and south. Now, multiple one-way aisles travel east to west, bisecting the individual farm stands and promoting safe-distancing. 

Without the pressure of buying ingredients for a dinner, I am free to enjoy the lovely presentation of produce. I snap pictures as I travel past the arrangements of bright red tomatoes, varieties of eggplant and various chilis categorized according to heat index. 

I stop by one of the many corn stalls. A women is husking corn. Before we moved to North Carolina, I had never seen a trash bin near the corn displays at Farmers Markets or in grocery stores. Shoppers are invited to husk the corn and dump the husks into a trash bin provided by the grocery store or market before purchasing the corn. While this may be more convenient, as my southern neighbors tell me, I adhere to the common knowledge that corn in their husks stay fresh longer. 

I take some pictures of the corn stall only after asking the permission from the woman who is husking corn. She nods and continues to husk, not paying me any mind. As I’m leaving, she tells me the corn season is winding down. At that news, I steel myself not to buy any more corn since my husband and I have had corn in many reiterations and there is a large container of corn and crab chowder in the refrigerator. 

As I turn to leave the corn stand, I see a woman at the other end of the market waving at me. She smiles and points to her head and gives me a thumbs up. She’s commenting on my purple hair. Pandemic purple I call it. I give her a thumbs up, too. When coloring one’s hair was more popular, I kept my white hair. Now it seems I am pretty much an oddity. I like swimming against the current. I may change colors when this hue fades. Maybe a soft blue or intense red will be the next dye. Social isolation has a strange effect on me. 

I leave the Farmers Market carrying one bag of peaches. 

Black bean and corn salad

Original recipe yields 6 servings

Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ½ cups frozen corn kernels  ( Use fresh in season)
  • 1 avocado – peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 medium whole (2-3/5″ diameter)  tomatoes, chopped
  • 6 medium (4-1/8″ long) green onions, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

  • Step 1

Place lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper in a small jar. Cover with lid and shake until ingredients are well mixed.

  • Step 2

In a salad bowl, combine beans, corn, avocado, bell pepper, tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro. Shake lime dressing and pour it over the salad. Stir salad to coat vegetables and beans with dressing and serve.

Heroic Symbol: A Nurse

I first saw the picture of nurse Grace Cindric a month ago in our local newspaper, the News & Observer.

In the photo, there’s a swagger in Cindric’s stride, a steely resolve in her sunglasses and respirator mask. In a sleeve of tattoos, there’s a friendly-looking panda staring out from her arm.

The Pandemic is bringing nurses into the spotlight, showing what they do. The media is finally taking notice.

There are some positive outcomes of this virus.

‘YOU’RE A MEME NOW’

UNC nurse becomes heroic face of coronavirus fight

Drew Jackson, News & Observer, Sunday May 24 2020

One of the memes circulating on the social media platform Reddit created from a photo of UNC Hospital emergency room nurse Grace Cindric taken by News & Observer photojournalist Robert Willett earlier this week.

Reddit

After News & Observer photojournalist Robert Willett took a photo of Grace Cindric, a UNC Hospital emergency room nurse, memes like this one circulated on social media.

In blue scrubs and a floral fanny pack, UNC nurse Grace Cindric has become the hero we need right now.

In late March, News & Observer photographer Robert Willett snapped a photo of Cindric screening visitors heading into the UNC Medical Center Emergency Department, separating those complaining of coronavirus-related symptoms and everyone else.

In the photo, there’s a swagger in Cindric’s stride, a steely resolve in her sunglasses and respirator mask. In a sleeve of tattoos, there’s a friendly-looking panda staring out from her arm.

“I woke up the next morning, and it was everywhere,” Cindric said. “I first heard from my friend who posted it on Reddit; they said, ‘Fair warning, this got bigger than I expected. … You’re a meme now.’”

Since it was published, the photo has made the rounds on Reddit and Twitter, inspiring dozens of Photoshopped images depicting Cindric in heroic poses. In one a red cape billows behind her, in another she appears on the cover of a fictional video game called COVID-19.

“It was very strange at first. I was like ‘This is too much attention,’” Cindric said. “But I’ve accepted it, and I’m just rolling with it.”

A SYMBOL FOR OUR TIMES

She is the Badass Nurse. A meme, yes, but also a symbol, a face of the nurses and doctors fighting on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak. As coronavirus cases mount in North Carolina and across the nation, as citizens panic-buy groceries and avoid their neighbors, Cindric wears scrubs like body armor, with a walkie-talkie on her belt.

To many commenting on the photo online, Cindric represents the heroism of medical professionals putting themselves between the public and the pandemic.

“I think it represents something bigger,” Cindric said. “It’s good that people are starting to see doctors and nurses out here in the middle of everything, doing this work. It’s a fun picture, it’s not terribly serious, but it represents what we’re doing. We’re all putting ourselves in harm’s way to stop this.”

Battling a pandemic is not exactly what Cindric imagined nursing would be like. The UNC-Greensboro grad has been a nurse for four years, the last two spent in UNC’s emergency room. She said she got into nursing to help the community and jumped in the emergency room for its variety.

“As an emergency room nurse, you’ve signed up to do anything,” Cindric said. “The task changes all the time, you never know what you’re walking into. … It’s a little bit of everything, and you have to kind of be a jack of all trades.”

‘COMMUNITY RALLYING BEHIND US’

Cindric said the coronavirus outbreak has escalated everything, that guidelines and roles are constantly changing, that the job she thought she knew feels like it changes by the hour. But she said she feels the community supporting their work, that people send meals and well wishes.

With the photo, Cindric said she’s feeling love and support flowing in from around the world.

“We feel the community rallying behind us,” Cindric said. “We knew the work we’re doing was important before, but we feel the respect from the community. They bring us food and send us messages. The outpouring really makes you appreciate the work you’re doing.”

JACKSON: 919-829-4707, @JDREWJACKSON

What Would Flo Think?

The last day of Nurses Week ends today on Florence Nightingale’s Birthday: May 12.

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Florence Nightingale, 1820-1910, (CR Royaume-Uni)

Would Flo be surprised that a special day, May 6, had been dedicated to nurses in 1982, and in 1990, that day grew into a full week that ended on her birthday? Would she be pleased that the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as “The Year of the Nurse and Midwife” in honor of her 200th birth anniversary? Would she be happy to learn that this 2020 designation is significant because WHO is promoting nursing education that will increase the numbers of nurses and midwives in order to strengthen Universal Health Coverage?

What would Flo think of the modern nurses’ role in this Pandemic? Would she be reminded how she, during the Crimean War, campaigned for better care of the sick and wounded soldiers and for a higher standard of hygiene, which saved countless lives? I bet she would be proud to see that nurses are still campaigning for better conditions for their patients. And that they are speaking out for safe working conditions for all health care workers.

Continue reading “What Would Flo Think?”

Why Does It Take a Pandemic to Recognize Nurses?

I’m reblogging Suzanne Gordon’s post: Why Does It Take a Pandemic to Recognize Nurses?

I have long followed Suzanne Gordon who is not a nurse but has been a relentless advocate of nursing over the years. She is a journalist and author of many books about the health care system. She co-authored Silence to Voice: What Nurses Know and Must Communicate to the Public.

Reading her post gives me hope that nurses finally find themselves strategically placed in the current COVID-19 pandemic to call attention to the importance of their expertise and place in the hierarchy of health care providers.

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suzannecgordon.com

Why Does It Take a Pandemic to Recognize Nurses?

by Suzanne Gordon

Posted: 08 Apr 2020 07:42 PM PDT

Over the past few weeks, as the coronavirus has whipped through the country, the press, policy makers and the public have finally recognized the value of the largest profession in healthcare.  Every media outlet reporting on the crisis now includes comments from nurses, reports on the risks nurses face as they care for patients, discussions of nursing shortages, and the complex work nurses do.  It’s about time.

My question is why has it taken this long.  And why aren’t policy makers and hospital administrators giving nurses what they need.  NOW!!!

For years, nurses have tried to explain their work to the public.  I have been honored to help with this work.  As I have written in my book Safety in Numbers, unions, like the California Nurses Association, have fought to get safe nurse to patient ratios.  Other unions, like the Massachusetts Nurses Association, have fought for the kind of safe staffing legislation, that if enacted in every state except for only one – California – would have encouraged safer nurse to patient ratios and ensured that there would be enough nurses to take care of patients in hospitals all over the country in a time of national emergency.  Hospital associations have derailed this kind of legislation whenever and wherever it has been proposed.

Nurses have asked for the lift equipment that would pay for itself and make their work safer.  Hospital associations have fought this wherever and whenever it has been proposed.  Now nurses are asking for personal protective equipment to make their work safe and hospital associations, legislators, governors, and the President are not supporting this request.

And so nurses are speaking out to the media about the risks of their work and what is the response of their employers? To issue disciplinary warnings, fire them, threaten them, silence them.

Well nurses are rejecting this and must be even more vocal in doing so.  And we the public must add our voices to support them.

Not only should nurses be recognized and their insights, concerns and demands solicited, honored, and effectively addressed, so should the needs of all other healthcare workers.  Nurses know that healthcare is delivered by a team and that it takes a literal village to care for a patient.  We need to listen to nurses and also to nursing assistants, to housekeepers, to dietary workers and transport workers and many others.  It takes a team to care for patients with COVID-19 and those team members need our help, support and action now!!!

 

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