When you walk into a hospital, there are so many people who have to encounter and deal with you before you ever see a doctor.
Earlier this year, I was in the Emergency Room. First, I spoke with a person at check-in who took the information regarding my symptoms, asked questions about my medical history and verified my insurance.
Then, after a short time, someone came to get my vitals. We went into a small room where she took my blood pressure, temperature and administered an EKG.
Once that was done, either she or someone else took me back into the Emergency Department. In that area, I was checked again by a Certified Nursing Assistant who hooked me up to various machines, took blood and whatever else was necessary for testing. A Registered Nurse would follow as well to find out more information about my symptoms and get more detailed information.
The various color scrubs of Doctor Interns popped into the room to find out more information. More tests were ordered. Based on the tests, I would have a transporter come to my room and take me down to have X-rays done. And, I would encounter an X-ray technician, who would have to position me in front of the machine or have me lie in the machine to get the proper films.
Then, they rolled me in a wheelchair on the bed back to my room. I passed people who were endlessly cleaning the floors and restocking inventory. An admin would visit my room to complete my paperwork and double-check my identification and insurance.
Eventually, a Doctor with the white coat would appear and tell me everything they found and the plan of action. All of this happens seamlessly and, in my experience, each person was pleasant and either apologized for prodding me or answered questions. They tried to make me as comfortable as you can be with a backless gown on.
As I think of this now in the present climate, with the threat of Coronavirus confronting medical staff, I can see how many could be exposed especially if they don’t have the proper gear.
I was lucky, my situation wasn’t dire except once. Once I arrived and my kidneys were shutting down. That was the one time I experienced what it’s like to be wheeled into an ICU and have people shouting over you. However, when it appears you are in danger of dying or losing organ function, they spring into action trying to take care of the immediate problem. Then, once you are stable they search for the other problems and causes.
As I hear stories of doctors and nurses not having proper masks and equipment, I am concerned. If we don’t have trained healers, the rest of us have little chance of survival against this uncertainty.
We also ask them to put their families in jeopardy because they don’t know if they are asymptomatic and taking the virus back to their family members. It has to be difficult to sleep at night knowing you are doing the right thing for the families of others, but unsure if it is the right thing for your own.
We owe them a great debt of gratitude. They are already coming off a flu season into a pneumonia pandemic. They are still dealing with critical patients who come in there for various reasons. Not to mention, they are also the ones who research and try to figure out what this virus is.
But, it’s not just medical professionals and healthcare workers who are saving the fabric of our humanity right now.
Grocery workers are keeping grocery stores open so people have access to food and water. Delivery people are making it easier for people to stay in their homes by delivering virtually everything. Pharmacies are remaining open so people have access to life-saving medications. Police and fire are still on their posts to keep neighborhoods safe. EMT’s are still available for those who need life-saving measures. And, there are employees all over who are maintaining the infrastructure so others can work from home, have electricity, running water and other necessities. And, they are all exposing themselves to potential harm or putting their family at risk.
We truly are a network that requires the support of one another for us to live, function and survive. We have been tricked into believing we are each an island to ourselves, but the reality is that we couldn’t feel that way if there weren’t people who cared enough to carry out the services that make it easier for you to believe you do it all on your own.
This is my Thank You Letter. I am in awe of my fellow man and woman.
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