Imagine wearing a hazmat suit, mask, face shield, and rubber gloves for hours and hours while you’re dealing with sick people without much of a break. You may only get to refuel with a quick meal maybe even a washroom break – where you need to take everything off and put back on everything back on again.
You get home after countless hours exhausted, but you don’t complain. Your family is home. They are self-isolating because of your job at the hospital. They cannot go out for possibly months (not just a couple of weeks) but they are understanding.
You arrive home and before even entering you need to remove all your clothes. This is a second set even after changing at the hospital at the end of your shift so you can get into your car. A fresh pair of socks are waiting for you outside the door to change into. You leave your shoes outside as well. You cannot bring them into the house.
Your routine is in place. Every family member knows what they have to do.
A family member sees you are ready to enter the house and gets their own mask in place. You cannot touch a door handle. You have all the clothes in a bag and head directly to the washing machine each and every time you get home. After every shift.
You run directly into the shower and scrub. You’re not singing how long it takes to lather to the tune of Happy Birthday. You’re lathering that soap to the pace of Stairway to Heaven. After every shift.
You look in the mirror at your chapped face from wearing the mask and shield all day every day for a couple of weeks now. After every shift.
Then you disinfect your washroom and everything else you’ve possibly touched since you entered your home. After every shift.
You finally get a few hours to eat (thankfully your family saved you leftovers in the fridge as always) and sleep in your designated area of the house. But you’re not hungry and your mind cannot shut down. You want to spend time with your family but you’re constantly worried that you’re bringing the virus home with you.
You turn on the news and see people getting fresh air and social distancing.
To my relatives and friends who are doctors, nurses, technicians and other healthcare workers, thank you for everything you are doing. Not a day goes by when I’m not thinking about how your days and nights are going. I think about…
How you’re missing time away from your own babies and kids.
How you’re worried about how your partner is holding up.
How your parents and grandparents are doing.
Then, there is your own health.
I know you took an oath. I know you’re focused on the health of others. You’re taking care of yourself as best as possible for the sake of others.
I know you’re not on your devices much these days, you cannot afford the time. You’re in our thoughts. A “thank you” just doesn’t seem enough to you and your family.
If you are reading this, please feel free to DM me on what would be helpful.
Note: I first wrote this message as a personal note to my immediate friends and family in the field of medicine and healthcare– after hearing this daily life recount of someone close to our family. What amazed me is the strength and focus of not just one person but also of their immediate circle. There were no complaints. No wishing for any attention. Just an observation from my part from what I had learned. In fact, I don’t even think the person would even ever see this. But just in case you stumble across this, know that you, and your colleagues, are in our thoughts and prayers. It was quickly apparent that this is daily life for many of our healthcare professionals. Friends who had read this message requested that I make it shareable. So, here we are out of love and gratitude. I’m not sure how to thank them, and their families, without putting them at further risk. If you have any ideas, please share with us.