Merry belated Christmas to you all. I’ve been back in the hospital since Christmas Eve. I won’t go into detail as to what’s going on because I’m bored with it all. I imagine you guys must be, too. But its given us even more up to date insight into the state of play in Spain as the EU rolls out the Covid vaccine starting today.
First, the staff is tired, yet tireless. Perhaps a better word would be exhausted. They are keeping their chins up, but pulling 14-16 hour shifts. The imaging tech lost it when the CT machine decided to get finicky and stopped working on Christmas night.
‘Sorry.’ She told me with her head in her hands. ‘I’m so tired. This machine is too important, especially now.’
This latest wave has taken it’s own toll. Yes, on the population. But we can’t forget how these frontline workers have shouldered this burden. One of my nurses told me her father is a Dr in the ER.
‘We had our holiday lunch on Christmas Eve in the cafeteria here. So its ok.’
But its not ok. It’s horrible.
This time Jeff is allowed to stay with me in my room on a hallway for those who have tested negative upon admitting. One guest to help, per patient. But he goes home to get cleaned up and to bring me things I need. He left today and while heading out he said the waiting area is packed in the ER, and there was a line to get in the doors snaking around the block. Even a few days ago this was not the case.
Its important to remember that there are also people suffering health conditions other than Covid related. They need care, too.
In the ER on Christmas Eve I was in the bull pen at first. Lots of patients just laying on beds in a big room. Never had this before in any hospital. Although this is considered a very nice private hospital they are clearly low on PPE. Cleaning and reusing what were meant to be disposable items pre-pandemic. I saw the same staff change in and out of full gear many, many times. The first hospital I was in so long ago had yellow gear. The last one I was in it was green. Here it is blue. I noticed it because those colors now mean something to me. Almost viscerally, like a bull fighter. Yellow for me means panic. But this blue color isn’t so bad. Maybe I’m adjusting. Or perhaps, like we all have over the past year, I’m learning to just breathe and get on with it. Just deal with today. Tomorrow is far away.
I will admit to being a bit frustrated at the pace things are going during my care. Tests are taking forever. And results even longer. The Drs are juggling a lot. They’ve said they can’t give me a day when I will get to go home.
‘Tranquila. We take it day by day.’
But after Jeff told me about the line in the ER, I think I should just feel grateful I’m in a private room and have people looking after me. Even if its taking time, this is more than others will get.
The balcony clapping and cheering is long gone for health workers. The population has pandemic fatigue. But, the people working here, from the surgeons to the cleaning crew who empty the trash and mop the floor of my room each day, are like Hercules times 10. If I was Jeff Bezos I’d pull an Oprah’s Favorite Things episode and surprise them all with cars, or luxury vacations, or fly distant family members into see them as a treat for a post-pandemic Christmas in 2021. But alas, all they will get is my thanks.
For me, I’m crossing fingers this is the last of all the leftover health stuff from 2020. That all these tests and procedures will tell a positive hopeful story with a known pill, or an easy treatment plan. And that Jeff and I will be at home to ring in the New Year. We can pray that this vaccine will be the start of a brighter future for us all. Seeing and hugging those we love is just over the visible horizon. And after this is all over, perhaps we can take a moment to thank a health worker in some meaningful way who went beyond what we should expect of anyone for months on end. At a time when the world needed it most of all.