I hope this is temporary, but I not only don’t feel like a hero, I feel humbled and inadequate as a nurse caught in the middle of this fucking pandemic. I feel hard and numb.
I really love the profession, but now, after 14 years, everything has changed. I felt helpless trying to administer care to the sick and dying. We were just so unprepared – it’s going to be impossible to ever think of my profession and hospital in the same light again.
It all just fell apart – the docs, nurses and techs showed up and did their best, but we were quickly overwhelmed, and well into the outbreak had inadequate supplies to protect us. At its peak we ended up running out of pretty much everything needed to give competent care to our patients and to ourselves. So many frontline healthcare workers ended up sick – it’s painful to think about. I can’t let my mind honor the ones who died yet, because I’ve got to keep showing up – focusing on my mortality would only prevent me from doing that.
It’s difficult to describe how painful it is to try to do your job saving lives and realize you’ve run out of basic supplies. I’m talking about things like medicine and functioning equipment, or not having a plan on how to staff an overwhelmed ER when it was obvious that workers would succumb to the virus – and this from a hospital with deep pockets. With fair warning.
You can go through life thinking reality is one thing, then suddenly find out it’s something else entirely.
It’s a rude awakening.
I’ll eventually bounce back, because that’s who I am. I’ve overcome many hardships in my life and learned long ago I’m resilient.
I’m not so sure about everyone else.