It’s weird. I used to have so many things to write about. Right now I am struggling to write though. Well…it’s not so much that I’m struggling to write. It’s much more finding a topic to write about that doesn’t involve COVID-19. Obviously this is a topic that is consuming everyone’s world. For those of us in health care, there truly is little to no escape from the topic and, honestly, I hate that fact.
I was talking with a friend of mine who is a nurse recently and we were discussing the difficulties we have talking with people about all of this. I admit that I haven’t reached out to my friends who don’t work in health care as much lately. She and I both admitted that we have withdrawn from so many people. It’s not necessarily something we intend to do. I didn’t even realize how bad I had gotten about reaching out to those who don’t work in health care.
Part of it comes down to common experiences though. Not that everyone isn’t nervous and fearful of this virus. Everyone I know is. A big part of it is understanding. With my friends in the field, there is this innate understanding of what is going on, the challenges all of us are encountering, this fear we all have of contracting it on the job…all of these things that we don’t even need to go into when talking. It’s kind of that common knowledge thing. It’s like, to this friend, I can just say, “Yeah…we had a patient on this non-COVID floor that tested positive today out of the blue…” and they just get it. They know the instant panic and scramble that started to protect staff and other patients…and the praying to whoever each person believes in that they didn’t contract it.
Even across the miles where we stay connected by the phone and internet, there is this understanding that words won’t fix things and that cliche phrases result in us not talking much. Many of my friends who aren’t in health care, if I try to tell them about what we encounter or the stresses and fears, they will often try to change the topic or toss out those cliche phrases. I know that they mean well, but it ends up with us shutting down when it happens.
When I was talking with one friend in RL the other day, she asked me how I was doing. This friend, I knew I could be open with. She stood by my in the aftermath of my brother’s death. Out of habit, I said to her, “They haven’t killed me yet.” She got quiet for a moment and then came back with, “And yeah…I know how full of crap that statement is. How are you REALLY doing?”
I cried as she said that because I just needed to let go and get it all out before I burst.
About two nights ago, I was talking with a friend who is a nurse in another state. We both talked about how we had withdrawn from so many others outside of health care. It really helped to hear her say this and know I’m not alone. We both made a promise to each other that night not to feed each other lines of garbage. We hadn’t done that with each other through this whole thing yet…but I think it helped us both to verbalize it. Even if we already had this unspoken rule about it…it confirmed for each of us that even if we were both bawling wrecks together…we had the support where we could be completely open and honest…without fear of judgement.
Obviously, anything major in life changes us. New relationships, marriage, divorce, death, national tragedies…and most certainly something with the global impact of COVID-19. Following the Oklahoma City Bombing (25 years ago next week), 9/11, Katrina and other major attacks and disasters, many of the responders withdrew from their family and friends because of fear of discussing what they were enduring, shame that they weren’t coping better and the fact that when they reached out to some, they were dismissed. COVID is doing the same thing to health care workers.
The world is applauding our efforts…but we struggle to get the emotional support we need from our family and friends.
I don’t write about all of this to bash anyone. I share this because it really is just a fact of life throughout the world. We struggle to support people when we can’t relate to what they are enduring. The same thing happens with grief and divorce…support will slowly dwindle over time if the person impacted doesn’t “get over it” soon. But it takes time. It’s a process.
I guess the biggest message I want to put out there to people is that everyone who is working in health care, from the housekeepers to the clerks to doctors and nurses, needs support. Not just the support of giving gift cards or a grocery run or maybe ordering dinner one night. We need the support of people who are willing to listen to us as we work through what we are seeing and experiencing during all of this.
Since the flu pandemic of 1918, there has always been someone who could come and support the initial responders. Someone who could relieve them so they could take care of their families and homes. Right now…the whole world is responding and those on the front lines have no relief coming.
If you know someone in health care, take some time to give them respite so they can recharge and unload. They need to do this to stay in the fight.
Be safe everyone. ♥
See it on Flickr.
Diversion – Beachin’ 4
Hetton Barn Conversion
Lorhen Pillow Basket
leather tote . brown
Almeria Coffee Table Dark Wood
Pile of Vinage books Group Gift
Lazy Day – TV
draped curtain (ivory)
laundry basket w lights (dark)