I need to confess something. I broke.
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This open letter is from a long time employee of a local hospital. She has asked that her name and the hospital not be mentioned because it doesn't matter who she is personally, or which hospital this is. This is just the reality of this year and dealing with this pandemic everywhere. She is not alone in this feeling and she wants others to know what it's been like.
We agreed to tell this story in this way through this letter.
Not the “forever” kind of break, but it definitely feels like it.
I have a job in healthcare. I’m not a nurse. I’m not a physician. I don’t wear a cape. Though I agree wholeheartedly that nurses and doctors should come with a cape as a standard part of their uniform, there are more heroes than just those in the headlines.
There are those who are tracing the virus, testing people, cleaning the facilities, working tirelessly to get the caped heroes what they need to take care of patient – the supplies which are virtually impossible to find, the modified rooms to meet the special requirements to care for Covid patients, etc., etc., etc.
There are those who organize and coordinate the response, manage the drugs needed for treatment and prevention and register patients at all hours. Many of these workers have not had a true day off in close to a year. These are new duties added on in addition to an already full-time job.
This is the Covid support team.
I am a member of this team. These amazing individuals have become what I consider “family.” We have worked side by side for 12 hour days, cried together, laughed together, stressed and brainstormed together, and overall, we made it work.
It just doesn’t feel right to NOT work all waking hours if we have an ability to make sure those who need help get it. As melodramatic as that sounds, that is how I have approached my job.
We all have.
We have done a job we, and our community, are proud of and appreciate.
But, we are also human. We have lives, and families. And that is something incredibly hard to balance.
I am not going to say much about my family, but I have one that depends on me. And they didn’t sign up for this. I did.
They deserve more of me than I have been able to give them for a very long time, and I miss being able to focus on them, and only them, for at least a portion of my day.
I have reached the point where my mental and physical health, my family’s wellbeing and happiness, and my sense of worth is absolutely priceless. It is incredibly difficult to do, but I need to make big changes.
I am not choosing to quit, and I know that is going to be difficult for a lot of people to understand; I am, instead, choosing myself and my family.
I know personally that there are many, many exhausted and hurting individuals just trying to do their best - to do good. They are incredible people who have made immeasurable sacrifices over the past year.
So, as I am stepping away from this team if I could ask for one thing from everyone - please… be kind.
Remember we are all one team. Please help those struggling, even if they appear to be composed. We all have our own battles.
And please be compassionate.
I may not be a nurse, but as one of the “other” people involved in healthcare who made it possible for the whole system to function during this difficult time… this is a disaster during which the hospital staff is doing everything imaginable.
People are sacrificing to an extent you will never know in order to help this community.
Don’t let the people I have worked with who remain on the front lines of this, my second family, break.
Be their light. They need it.