Wondrous Woman by Rita Plush

My daughter has become a front line worker. She’s an OT (occupational therapist) at a rehab facility. Getting folks back on their feet after an injury or hospitalization, she teaches them to regain the old skills of dressing, feeding and washing themselves in a new way so they can get back to managing their lives.  

Then came Covid. What used to be a hands-on profession of helping is now hands-off.    

On the quarantined floor where she now works, the senior patients there are so ill (but not sick enough to be sent to a hospital), they don’t want her therapy. But she visits them anyway, in place of the visitors that are not allowed. 

Many of the staff are out with the virus. Others have left altogether for more risk-free work. Last week two of the kitchen staff didn’t show and my daughter pushed a food cart to patient rooms. She fills in wherever she’s needed. And that’s just front line. She’s got sidelines too. She’s got a family she tends to, a household to run. My Wondrous Woman. 

So forget what’s-her-name, that comic book character! That hair, those knee-hi boots, those wrist cuffs and silly star-spangled costume. Please!

You want kick-ass? Then you want my daughter in her masks—a cloth one, and over it an N95, high-filtration job. You want a shower cap pulled down over her tied up bun. You want a face shield, scrubs and gloves, a disposable gown. You want her caring for and about her patients. You want my Wondrous Woman.

Rita Plush is the author of the novels, Lily Steps Out and Feminine Products, and the short story collection Alterations. She is the book reviewer for Fire Island News and teaches creative writing and memoir at Queensborough Community College, Continuing Ed, Queens, New York. Her stories and essays have been published in Alaska Quarterly Review, MacGuffin, The Iconoclast, Art Times, The Sun, The Jewish Writing Project, Down in the Dirt, Potato Soup Journal and are forthcoming in Backchannel and Chicken Soup for the Soul. 

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