I lost one of my best friends to COVID last December — before the vaccines came out — the day after my birthday. I swear he hung on just to make it past my birthday. You know how they do, right? He died alone in an ICU hundreds of miles away from me. The last thing I told him when I talked to him a few days earlier was “Do Not Die” but he did. They tell me his nurses were wonderful. We always are, aren’t we? And then — we take the pain and go sit in the bathroom until we can gather ourselves up and go face reality again. There is a reason all my friends were other nurses. We could look at each other & know what was running in the background. We didn’t need explanations. The Look we have when it’s all hit the fan and everyone is realizing nothing was ever in our control. Try as we might.
When I worked in the unit, it never made sense. Patients died who were supposed to live, others lived who were supposed to die. Someone else, someplace else is making those calls. We don’t even get to hold the survivors as they scream out their grief in These Days. At least doing that — I felt like I was still helping my patient — when the family became my patient.
I cried when I read your piece. Please keep writing. Keep telling your story — all the stories — it’s too easy for some to turn a blind eye to the suffering. ❤