Thank You, Medics, for Risking Everything Every Day.
Dear Medical Professionals Everywhere,
You probably didn’t spend quite as much time thinking about the dangers to yourself and your family when you reported to work before the coronavirus outbreak. However, now, every time you clock in, you might think about what germs linger on the timeclock.
You serve on the frontlines of the COVID-19 outbreak, and without you, people who fell ill would have nowhere to go if they needed help. You keep the welcome lights on while the rest of the world shutters their doors to outsiders. You risk everything — including your life — by doing what you do every day. I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude for everything that you do.
We See Your Sacrifices
You might not think that ordinary civilians can recognize what healthcare workers endure, but some of us can sympathize. My cousin is a nurse in a residential care facility, and she worries constantly about her patients, as well as the possibility of bringing the disease home to her family too.
She tells me her face now bears the mark of long days wearing an N95 mask that she must reuse for the entire week due to supply shortages. Once she dons her protective garb, she can’t use the restroom or take a drink of water for hours to protect patient safety. Nor is all that gear comfortable to wear.
While her facility typically stays warm for the comfort of the residents, she works up a sweat rushing from bedside to bedside. I’m sure many of you are sweltering in your protective wardrobes.
Psychologically, she’s having a challenging time. The elderly residents she cares for don’t have another home. They rely on her and others to report to work every day, not only to care for their illnesses but also to keep them fed and protected.
Everyone at her facility, from the janitor to the director, faces a higher risk of contracting the virus every time they report. They know they should practice self-care if they exhibit any symptoms, but they shudder to think what will happen to those whom they serve if too many people call in sick at once.
Nor does her workload ease any when she returns home. Like millions of Americans with children, her kids’ schools closed, meaning that she has to play homeschool teacher when she does get a day to relax. She also has to take extra cleaning precautions to keep her daughters safe.
When she returns from work, she puts her laundry in a separate bin to reduce any risk of cross-contamination and takes a shower immediately. She tells me her hands look like the parched, crack floor of the Gobi desert from all the handwashing she does, and there isn’t enough lotion to remedy the excessive dryness.
We Couldn’t Live Without You, Literally
The recently passed CARES Act does increase patient access to telemedicine services, but even so, life goes on and emergencies happen. Traffic levels have decreased, yet some people still get in car accidents. People fall and break bones, and they cut themselves with dull kitchen knives. Women continue to go into labor and give birth despite the pandemic. When they do, who do they call?
Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, you are more than the backbone of this nation — you are its lifeblood. Without you, everyone would find themselves stuck in primitive times, trying to fix severe injuries with home remedies. While less hardy folks would have long ago thrown up their hands in despair, you report to the frontlines day after day.
As someone with a chronic condition, I owe you an extra debt of gratitude. You called the week before my regular appointment to see if I would still report. When I indicated that yes, I needed you, you didn’t hesitate to assure me that you remained open to serve your patient’s needs.
Living with the anxiety this pandemic created is challenging enough, trying to do so without the help I need would seem unbearable. Thank you for staying there for all of us whose health conditions don’t abate during a shutdown.
Thank You to the Medical Community
You swore an oath to do no harm, not to sacrifice your life. Yet you’re willing to do so, and some of your colleagues have already done so in battling this pandemic. There aren’t enough words in any language to express the magnitude of society’s debt to you. Thank you for all you do.