NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Can you imagine going more then a month without seeing your loved ones? Well, that’s the reality for many health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
CBS2’s Nina Kapur spoke with a Mount Sinai Hospital doctor about the toll protecting his family has taken on him.
“There’s really nothing harder than reading your child books like before bed over FaceTime,” Dr. Benji Salter, program director of the cardiothoracic anesthesia fellowship at Mount Sinai.
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Salter’s wife, Katie, and 19-month-old son, Oliver, temporarily moved to his in-laws’ house six weeks ago when New York’s work-from-home order went into effect. That temporary stay in Scarsdale quickly turned into a six-week stay when Salter was assigned to a COVID-19 unit.
“It wasn’t very fun for any of us, but it’s just what made most sense,” Salter said. “I just kept telling myself that whenever this slowed or whenever this stopped, if we all got out of it safely, it would have been worth it.”
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Salter’s Upper East Side apartment quickly went from lively to quiet, as he spent his nights alone eating dinner with Netflix as his only distraction from work.
That is until Sunday, when Salter and wife decided it was time to pack Oliver up and come home.
“There’s that moment where he comes in, he’s a little bit scared. He doesn’t know what’s happening, and he reached out to me and hugged me, and he had a big smile and we hugged and we held each other,” Salter said.
Salter said after every shift the first thing he’ll do is take his scrubs off and jump in the shower to prevent exposing his family to the virus.
And though he may never forget the things he continues to see at work, at least he’ll have a bedtime story to look forward to — even if it’s just a momentary distraction.