“He ached with weariness, but it became part of him; he scarcely noticed now that he was weary, he might always have been thus, it was so familiar to him.”Tanith Lee
Last night I was woken by the flashing of the screen on my phone. A friend in New York was sending me messages, expecting that I would be asleep. He was messaging me for the comfort of communicating with someone, and having one other person know his thoughts and feelings.
I felt an urgent need to reach out so I called him, and we talked. But I didn’t read his messages until later. With his permission (I just changed his name to protect his privacy) I’ve put some of what he wrote below. I think you should read it too. He deserves to be heard and witnessed.
CK is a doctor. Right now he is working in a COVID-19 ward. It’s all he’s done for the past month. He did his early training as an Emergency Room doctor years ago and then did additional training and now works in another field as a specialist surgeon. He volunteered to go back into the ER and ICU when the Coronavirus outbreak worsened in his home city. He’s single, and lives alone.
Nic, hey. CK here. Just got off nightshift. Will try and do your meditation. Thanks for sending it. NYC is quieter than I have ever seen it. Lack of noise is gonna make it hard to sleep today. Never missed that white noise of traffic until now. Shame you never got here before all this hit. Who knows how long it will be before it will be safe for someone like you to travel again? At least you are safe where you are. I’m glad for that.
Sorry. The meditation doesn’t work. Can’t get work out of my mind. We’re not getting on top of things. We just don’t know enough. I keep losing people I thought would be okay. I’m starting to not be okay. It’s getting harder to get up and go back in there each shift. But I must. Worried I am starting to fall apart a little. Worried I’ll end up on the wrong end of this damned disease. Would appreciate chatting when you can. Some time in next few days? I never used to be scared like this.
Dumb. I just spent a mindless hour trawling Facebook. It’s a name-your-own-conspiracy-fest. Why did I do that? Tired I guess. Apparently it’s easy to cure COVID. You just need hydroxychloroquine, which we’ve been administering despite the fact that it isn’t making any difference. Patients are still declining. Dying. So go figure. None of that sh*t those idiots are writing about is based in fact. It’s disheartening. We’re working ourselves into the ground, and it just slams you, this endless flow of BS. I feel like I exist in an alternate reality. Where I live good people are doing their best to fight this and to help people or to research and add to our collective knowledge and to find a cure or a vaccination. So many good people giving their all for this. All around the world ordinary people who are someone’s parent or child or lover or friend or neighbor are dying or being decimated by this virus. How many aren’t even making it through hospital doors? How many are dying at home or on the streets? I can’t stop thinking about all the folk who lost their insurance when they lost their employment. All the migrants who don’t have insurance. All the refugee camps. So many people who can’t get care. It keeps me up when I should be sleeping.
I’m back on Facebook and it’s making me angry. Is what I am living through somehow not real to these people? In their alternate Facebook reality this virus is all a hoax or it was caused by 5G or it can be cured by Vit C or herbs or hydroxychloroquine or it’s only a tactic so Bill Gates can get mind control of the world through some vaccine I don’t know about but that already exists. Meanwhile I am knee-deep in death and my friends and colleagues are grim and grey with despair and heartache and exhaustion as we make decisions no-one should have to make and still people say it’s all a beatup. It’s a sh*tfight that I thought I would never see in our country. WTF Nic WTAF? I’m just so tired and there is no end in sight.
Please, stop for a moment today and think of people like CK who are on the front lines, putting their own well-being at risk to look after us all. Not just doctors but all health-workers, all grocery-store workers and postal staff and delivery drivers to name a few. So many people working hard to help others.
Think of them before you post or repost the latest conspiracy theories.
Check your facts. Be kind. Uplift people.
Be part of something positive.
Much love, Nicole xx
9 thoughts on “Midnight Chat with a COVID-19 Emergency Doctor”
Oh bless him. I wish I could reach out and give him, and you, a great big hug. Not that that would solve anything, or help anything in the great scheme of things. I really feel for the health workers the entire world over, they must be going through utter hell right now. There are some amazing things going on, not everyone is sitting behind a fb scheme spouting utter nonsense – we have them here too, I had to get off facebook within the first week of this hitting the UK seriously. Between the BS and the horror news stories, and the endless endorsements to Stay Home or Die, which was basically the media’s take in the first two weeks while they attempted to get people to stay put – I’m not able to stay home. I’m considered a key worker, and while my role is a very small one I’m proud to do what I can. It was terrifying, trying to avoid something you can’t see, smell or touch., in a role where I don’t need protective clothing I’m suddenly swathed in it. There are uplifting stories, communities coming together for our weekly Clap for the National Health Service, people organising care of those in the community. There were something like 200k volunteers to help within the first few hours of the plea going out. One 99 year old Veteran, who has had a hip replacement, got himself sponsored to do his daily exercise and wanted to walk 100 laps of his garden in aid of the NHS before his 100th birthday. He wanted to raise £1000 – he’s been overwhelmed with sponsors and it’s currently standing at Over Nineteen Million Pounds. (he also lives one village over from us) he’s an absolute legend. There must be thousands of heart warming, caring people out there with tiny stories that don’t hit the news.Just doing their own thing, making a difference, however small. Blessings to all, stay safe, stay strong. BB
So devastatingly hard…. I work at a hospital and this is what we all fear. Incredibly grateful our government took steps earlier. So far this scenario has passed us by. I wish for CK and for everyone to have this under control sooner rather than later. But while they are in the midst of it….. I can’t even come close to imagining what it’s like.
This program (free) may be of help. It’s developed by an amazing kind and compassionate anesthesiologist and trauma therapist. He has put these programs online for traumatised COVID-19 healthcare workers: https://robinyoungson.teachable.com/p/how-compassion-can-sustain-and-protect-you/?fbclid=IwAR0FUxwJil9vjPBl00WXFUJxQpAAukF2Yb5SvqWThmmZYAWYoMp77207Qes
Much love to CK and all CK’s out there♥️✨
The only time I’ve felt angry during this whole ordeal is when I get sucked into reading about stupid, senseless conspiracy theories. I don’t buy into it but sometimes curiosity gets the better of me. It’s concerning how many paranoid, suspicious people are out there.
Thanks for putting a spotlight on how healthcare workers are feeling. It’s impossible to imagine otherwise.
Thank you Nicole for letting us know what’s going on. I knew it was pretty bad (we have COVID meetings every day – and have policies and procedures in place at my work) – BUT these front line workers – everywhere – see and know more than we ever could. My heart goes out to them and their friends and family – I worry for their physical and mental health.
I’m particularly incensed with the States where the misinformation is rife and the lies from the top are putting my US friends and family at risk. It’s like the orange thing is working against everyone – we knew it was lying about everything from the beginning – and it was costing lives – but now – the extent of this crazy is now beyond belief.
Please let your friend know that if he can’t meditate for himself – I’m happy to for him. Please send him my gratitude and love.
I don’t enjoy this helpless feeling.
Thank you for all that you’re doing. Thank you for being a light for others in their time of need – every day – but especially now and for the amazing people who have found you and reach out to you.
Love you and your work, Nicole. xoxoxoxo
I hit the like button not because I like the post but because I like what CK is going through but i feel for CK and all those medical people who like CK are doing a great job
I was so angry this morning, after scrolling through FB comment after FB share. People in the US are blind to anything they can’t actually SEE..and even then, they can still be blind. Your share was exactly what I wanted to say. I only hope those who need it, see it. Bless you for being a person who gives. And who listens.
Thank you and CK for this post. CK, many of us see you and see the terrible things you and your patients and co-workers are experiencing in this pandemic — that people all over the world are experiencing. Sending love and deep sleep for the care you are giving the world.
God Bless CK and his big heart xo
Thanks for sharing Nicole
Thanks Nic, I am so grateful that you have put some balance into this self absorbed world of (self) isolation – thank you, thank you & thank you some more(!)
Also, I want to give you some support – I had no idea of the (frightened?) people who attack you for speaking the TRUTH and wanting to cut down (and attack) the tall poppies in an attempt to make themselves feel good – much love in your direction….. love Paul