We find ourselves, still, in the midst of this piece of crap Covid pandemic. When people ask me how much longer I think this may go on, my canned answer is “oh, probably another year or so.” I’ve been saying this since the pandemic began, and I think this is probably, unfortunately, still as reasonable a guess today as it was back in April. Womp womp.
And so, I find it incredibly interesting/hilarious/perplexing/infuriating when I hear people claim that Covid will slow down and go away after the election. I mean…props to those people for being so ignorantly optimistic. There are days (many of them), that I wish I lacked the knowledge, experience and common sense to come to that same conclusion. But here I live…in reality….dammit.
I am not scheduled to work on our “Covid team” until February and I can tell you that I am already dreading it. Because unless we get our collective act together, Covid will still be an unwelcome interloper in every aspect of our lives in February. And if numbers and hospitalizations keep exploding, all of our Palliative Care teams may become “Covid teams” in short order.
I’m not entirely sure where I’m going with this post, but I felt like venting a little bit. Danny refused to take me up on my offer for an outdoor screaming contest, so this little blog is the next best thing. Probably less likely to result in a police visit to our home. And why might I feel compelled to walk outside and scream into oblivion, you might be asking yourself? Oh…just the accusation that physicians are getting paid extra ($2,000.00, I believe?), for every Covid death, and are thus fixing the numbers. I can assure you that I work with tons of people who have taken care of the Covid dead (myself included), and first off…nobody is making this diagnosis up or claiming a death is due to Covid when it isn’t. The very foundation of medicine is that of accurate diagnosis, treatment and documentation. Because that’s how medicine works. That’s what we do. That’s what was drilled into our heads from day one. Now I’m somewhere near day 5230 and that notion is still deeply ingrained in my brain. Oh, AND…there is ZERO incentive for anyone to be falsely documenting Covid diagnoses or deaths. THERE IS NO EXTRA MONEY FOR DOCTORS WHO ARE TAKING CARE OF COVID PATIENTS. BELIEVE ME…I WOULD KNOW! We want Covid to go away just as much, if not more than the rest of you! I hate wearing a mask all the time. I hate it when a patient coughs in my face and I hope that my mask and eye protection are adequate and that that I won’t take Covid home to my family. I hate that my kids aren’t physically in school. I hate that I can’t eat inside a restaurant. I hate that my kids can’t have sleepovers. I hate not going to church in person. I am really missing yoga class with the lights dimmed and the room heated up. I miss going to the spa for a massage. I miss dropping my kids off at my parent’s house so Danny and I can get away for a weekend. And I hate seeing my colleagues rounding in our Covid ICU, donning, doffing, washing, scrubbing, weary, worried, horrified, anguished, exhausted. Only to be thrown under a bus of complete and unabashed lies.
Oh, and one more thing. We, as health care workers, have actually taken a pay cut because of Covid. Of course we don’t like losing money, but you know what? We keep showing up…day after effing day. Because that’s what we do. For our patients. For their families. For each other.
Don’t drink too much.
And if you hear someone screaming in the woods, it’s just me. Don’t call the police.
3 thoughts on “Covid-19 Series, Entry #12”
Thank you. Very well said.
Thank you so much for all you do. Hang in there, and take good care of YOU. I’m sorry you feel thrown under the bus—but you HAVE BEEN. Stay strong. Hopefully tomorrow’s election results will allow us to begin the journey we SHOULD have been on in February and March of this year. God bless you!
I am so demoralized by the lack of national (and largely regional) reasonable response to something that I never thought I would see in my lifetime. (Didn’t the 1918 flu pandemic and polio actually teach us anything?) I accidentally started down an empty hall today without a surgical mask on (like it was 2019, for Pete’s sake!) and promptly bolted back to the office to rectify my error. I don’t hug my kids or my mother. Hell, I stay 6 feet away from my own husband in my own home most of the time because I don’t want to bring it home to him. We are also seeing patients who are dying from “deaths of despair” from being so isolated from their loved ones because they are quarantined in nursing facilities and have been kept in “solitary confinement” for so long. Medical professionals are succumbing to the physical and mental fall-out of this nasty thing, some even taking their own lives.
I think we have tipped over into uncontrolled spread in at least parts of Kansas based on some figures that I have been seeing. Meanwhile, my agency and I are sourcing PPE like we were squirrels gathering nuts for the winter and have insane conversations about how to keep patients, families, and staff from adding to the problem. (Have you ever had to have a conversation at a task force videoconference that still meets 3 times a week–it was daily initially–about whether we need to look into taking the cranks off of windows to prevent desperate family members from taking off the window screens and trying to squeeze through a window small enough that you could barely get a chihuahua through? I have. Try the one about which family member got excluded from anything other than a 30-minute porch visit to their actively-dying relative because you have too many people in your family to fit into the visitor restriction–that’s a super fun one.)
But the lack of a coordinated response to one of the most challenging public health problems of our lives PALES compared with the active OPPOSITION that health care workers, public health officials, and mask-supporting government officials are facing. It took a while for the virus to hit middle America in a big way, but it is here. And I do not know how much more sad I have in me. (There are some woods near our south inpatient facility–let me know when you’re coming to scream and I’ll join you.)
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