Honest confession: I’m really struggling. With everything.
I suspect a lot of it is fallout from working as an ER nurse here in NYC during the COVID pandemic – it was an experience that’s left me with more questions than answers.
I use to love being an ER nurse – maybe I still do, I’m just not sure. God knows I had taken an active part in death on a regular basis before COVID, but the month from mid-March through mid-April literally seemed like the end of the world.
You know those scenes in movies where hospitals are overwhelmed and start breaking down because everyone’s dying and civilization is collapsing? That’s what my reality felt like – for a month. And the whole time, looming overhead, was the realization that I was vulnerable to this thing that was killing the people I was trying to take care of. My ER was filled with patients deliriously tearing off their masks and coughing, slumped over in chairs dying because we had no where to put them, dead bodies on stretchers in hallways, some not even covered in sheets.
Now work has kind of normalized, but not really. I suspect it’ll never be the same. Because the virus is still out there, my face – and everyone else I work with – is covered with PPE. It’s painful and hard to breathe, but I’ve sort of adjusted to it. The average person wouldn’t be able tolerate it for 5 minutes, much less 12 and a half hours.
I’m not depressed, and I don’t think I have PTSD. But I’m profoundly tired and not sure what anything means anymore.
This blog has become very difficult, because right now I don’t feel as engaged with life – add in the profound sadness of my country’s epic failures on all counts, and shit starts looking bleak.
So what to do?