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Health-care workers stay away from families: ‘I’d rather do that knowing she is safe’

Click to play video 'Health care workers protect families by staying away: ‘I’d rather do that knowing she is safe’' Health care workers protect families by staying away: ‘I’d rather do that knowing she is safe’
WATCH: Hundreds of thousands of Canadians are sacrificing their own health to serve as nurses, doctors, and other health care workers on the frontline of the pandemic. As Laurel Gregory explains, many of them are living apart from their own families to avoid potentially spreading the virus.

Megan Miller wonders if her daughter Ava will be taller than her the next time they meet. She isn’t accustomed to noticing big growth spurts in her 13 year old but you’re more attuned to that sort of change after spending a long time apart.

That’s why Miller finds herself wondering how much Ava has grown.

It’s been 39 days since they hugged or spoke face to face, and Miller has no idea when they will be reunited.

READ MORE: Registered nurse discusses working in hospital amid coronavirus pandemic

“I’m a registered nurse and a system case manager with the home care/home living program so I work both in hospital and in the community,” Miller explains.

“Maybe I’m too extreme to not have her with me but I think that’s the whole point … to think that we’ve done an overreaction.”

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“I’d rather do that knowing she is safe, and keeping her safe and healthy and that I’m not putting her at risk.”

Megan Miller works as a registered nurse for Alberta Health Services
Megan Miller works as a registered nurse for Alberta Health Services. Courtesy: Megan Miller

Prior to the pandemic, Ava spent every second weekend with her father and step-mom. In early March, as the cases of COVID-19 began to balloon in Canada, Miller reached out to arrange for Ava to live with them full-time. The transition has been tough for Ava.

“It’s great that she’s doing this because she’s a nurse and she’s amazing at what she does,” Ava says.

“I’m being a little selfish in saying I wish she wasn’t because then I would get to see her more.”

Stepmom Angie Brown has stepped up as both a full-time parent and homeschooler, with Miller only dropping by for a couple times for quick visits from a distance.

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“Selfishly, I’ve loved it because I love having the extra time with her but I know how much Megan and her miss each other,” Brown says. “And I’m not her mom. I try to do my best but I know I’m not her. So, I’m just taking advantage of this time, making it as good quality time as we possibly can given the situation.”

READ MORE: Alberta RV dealer donates trailers to health-care workers needing to self-isolate away from families

Psychologist Jody Carrington says while human beings are wired to do hard things, we do so by staying connected, however we can make that happen when we need to stay six-feet apart.

“Nurses and physicians and our front-line crew know this more than anybody on the planet: there is a cortisol shift in your physiology when you’re face to face with another human being that you cannot replicate on a text or an email or even FaceTime.

“So there is going to be a significant shift and a heartache around not being able to hug and touch the people we love. What I think is so critically important in this is how we stay connected, how we stay hopeful, what are the plans ‘when.'”

Beyond measuring if her daughter surpasses 5’3″, Miller has plans for her reunion with Ava. She’s holding on to hope for family visits, road trips and – above all – hugs.

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Click to play video 'Coronavirus outbreak: Are Canadians feeling lonely in self-isolation?' Coronavirus outbreak: Are Canadians feeling lonely in self-isolation?
Coronavirus outbreak: Are Canadians feeling lonely in self-isolation?