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St. Louis Doctor Found ‘Scattered Sparks Of Light’ In A Year Away From Her Family In An RV

040921_provided_Dr. Tiffany Osborn.jpg
Provided by Dr. Tiffany Osborn
Dr. Tiffany Osborn (at left) lived in a RV off and on for a year before getting the coronavirus vaccine.

It’s been about two months since Dr. Tiffany Osborn fully moved back into her home with her husband and two kids. In March 2020, she made the tough decision to limit contact with her immediate family members to prevent infecting them with the coronavirus. Working in the ER and ICU at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, she saw firsthand the detrimental effects of the disease.

The solution she and her husband thought of was to divert family funds, saved to build a breakfast room, to purchase an RV. It came furnished with the necessities: a bed, bathroom, stove top, refrigerator. A couch in the driveway served as a spot for the family to gather safely.

But six weeks of strict distancing took a toll on Osborn and her family.

“You can't sit down on the couch next to your kids; you can't sit with your son and help with his homework. You can't give them a kiss on their head. Any time you come close to them, they have to back away from you. And I was just like, ‘This is not sustainable.’”

As her work hours increased, she found a way to bundle her time. She landed on working three weeks straight, taking a COVID-19 test and then spending the end of the month at home with her family.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Osborn joined host Sarah Fenske to share other reflections she’s had throughout the year — and how the RV keys ended up in the hands of her pastor.

“My pastor came over to visit one day and she said, ‘Are you guys planning on taking this out for vacation when you're done?’ And I said, ‘As appreciative as I am of this trailer, I will be just as appreciative when I get the opportunity to sell it because of everything that it represents.”

Among the days that stick out most to Osborn was Jan. 6 — the day of the Capitol insurrection. She wrote a journal entry about the day, recalling the World War II veteran she took care of in her unit as she watched the insurrection unfold on his television screen. He died soon after.

“He had survived World War II; he had survived a plane crash — but he didn't survive the war on COVID. And that really struck me,” she said.

That night she went home and cried.

“I was like, ‘Wow, what’s happening to our country?’ And then I stopped and I thought, ‘That is not what our country is.’ What our country is is people in and out of medicine ... they're like scattered sparks of light, everyday people creating good with what they have: strength, integrity, civility, kindness, people who were coming together and standing shoulder to shoulder to do what they needed to do for the community. That's what America is. That is who we are.”

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Lara is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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