Covid-19 Series, Entry #14

Thanks-mother-effing-giving.

Oh, hey there! So…big holiday coming up tomorrow. Also, we’re still in the midst of a pandemic…lest you had forgotten, or maybe you are still using denial as a coping mechanism.

In the past two hours, I have had two different friends reach out to me for advice regarding loved ones who have been admitted to the hospital with Covid. My social media feed is littered with posts asking for prayer for those with Covid, or announcing another death due to Covid.

Our hospital is full. We are shuffling as fast as we can to accommodate the surge of Covid patients coming in. Hospitals from all over our region (Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska and Kentucky) are desperately searching for open beds so that their patients can get the care they need. So they don’t die.

Dire” and “worst case scenario” and “what we were afraid of” have become all too common phrases repeated during staff meetings. One of my friends pronounced (dead) three Covid patients in nine hours. We are trying to figure out if we can care for two critically ill patients in one ICU room. We are also trying to determine a fair way to distribute ICU rooms and ventilators when there aren’t enough to go around. This is feeling more and more likely to become a reality at any moment. And this rationing doesn’t just apply to Covid patients. Let me repeat. If you, or your mom, or your grandma get sick in the coming weeks (heart attack, asthma attack, appendicitis), there may not be enough room, or equipment, or staff.

I fancy myself a pretty chill person, but I have been on the verge of a panic attack for the past several days. And that is the predominant mood of most of my colleagues. I look into the eyes of my partners over zoom meetings and I see despair and exhaustion. We are hanging on, but not by much.

So I implore you. If you are still planning to get together, indoors, with people outside of your immediate family for the holidays, don’t. If you are planning to sit inside and eat with people outside of your immediate household, don’t. There is no wiggle room. There is no “yeah, but…” My family (parents and grandmother) will be bundled up, sitting outside, socially distant in our backyard tomorrow. We will have a fire and mulled wine to keep us warm and will make the most of a cool fall day to be thankful that we are all still alive and well.

My 96 year old grandpa has Covid. He is stuck in his nursing home, but thankfully has remained stable. We just heard today that others in his facility have not been so lucky.

Please, if not for your friends in healthcare, do this for your family. Stay home. I don’t want to see you in the hospital (assuming there is a bed for you) in the coming weeks. And I don’t want you to live with the guilt of inadvertently infecting your family.

3 thoughts on “Covid-19 Series, Entry #14

  1. Happy Thanksgiving, Dr. B— stay safe, and thank you so very much for all you and all medical staff everywhere do. This has been a long and horrific journey. Some of the passengers on this train have been so unruly, and undeserving. But there’s a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, and let’s hope it’s not the proverbial other train. God bless you and your family! And thank you. THANK YOU.

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