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2 minutes ago, stawns said:

I don't know, we have an emergency staff meeting this morning and I'll also likely get a call from interior health.

I was more less just wondering.  I haven't had to worry at all so far but I was just wondering like "stay home and isolate" and its like "ummmm does everyone stock a week+ worth of food at a time to just sit home?"

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1 minute ago, Russ said:

I was more less just wondering.  I haven't had to worry at all so far but I was just wondering like "stay home and isolate" and its like "ummmm does everyone stock a week+ worth of food at a time to just sit home?"

I'm hoping that the isolate letter was just a precaution until they can do the contact tracing.  The class was in my library on one of the days, where I did a science lesson and book exchange with them, but everyone was masked.  However, I talked to the teacher later in the week without a mask, but socially distanced

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3 minutes ago, Russ said:

I was more less just wondering.  I haven't had to worry at all so far but I was just wondering like "stay home and isolate" and its like "ummmm does everyone stock a week+ worth of food at a time to just sit home?"

I've been adding canned and dry goods to my grocery order every week, in case we went to lockdown or had to isolate, so we'll be ok.  I'll just get a friend to pick up my order and leave it on my deck if I have to isolate.

 

We should all be preparing for that event imo

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1 hour ago, Silent Man said:

I think the vast majority of people are following the safety rules- masks, distance, etc.  And if the stupid actions of tiny minority could bring the whole healthcare system to the brink of collapse- maybe it is the time to ask our Government- what was done to prepare country/province to the second wave?

The government is not to blame for a small groups of idiots not listening to what the government already laid out.

 

30 minutes ago, Russ said:

I was more less just wondering.  I haven't had to worry at all so far but I was just wondering like "stay home and isolate" and its like "ummmm does everyone stock a week+ worth of food at a time to just sit home?"

We've been keeping our pantry pretty well stocked since this began in case we need to isolate and/or there's an ACTUAL lockdown. Everyone probably should.

 

There's also numerous avenues to get groceries delivered to your house in the event you're caught unprepared.

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1 hour ago, Silent Man said:

I think the vast majority of people are following the safety rules- masks, distance, etc.  And if the stupid actions of tiny minority could bring the whole healthcare system to the brink of collapse- maybe it is the time to ask our Government- what was done to prepare country/province to the second wave?

the problem is we can't just create a huge amount of new capacity in our healthcare system. Its not like we can suddenly have 100s more people in isolation and ICU and also keep handling our normal case load, The hospital space simply doesn't exist, nor the staffing. 

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7 minutes ago, Jimmy McGill said:

the problem is we can't just create a huge amount of new capacity in our healthcare system. Its not like we can suddenly have 100s more people in isolation and ICU and also keep handling our normal case load, The hospital space simply doesn't exist, nor the staffing. 

The only issue I know of in regards to health care is the lack of ventilators at hospitals, so if things got bad and more people needed to be on a ventilator then the health care system would be screwed. From where the GF has worked in the past and currently she said there aren't too many ventilators in Hospitals in the Okanagan.

 

As for staff shortages, I don't see that being an issue for a while, throughout this whole pandemic she has worked but not had to worked any more shifts than normal to cover, in fact I would say she has had more time off than normal as she usually would get more work as her position is a vacation relief line. Either way I think there are enough nurses with all the casuals and part timers out there.

 

The big area of need is care aides....There is a huge lack in that industry and companies don't seem to be hiring more staff in a part time or casual position to help fill holes when co workers are sick or have to be away from work due to being in close contact with someone who has Covid.

 

People who rely of care aides everyday and live at home have been impacted the most in the above department and the companies don't seem to care much to try and resolve it. We have family who needs 24hr care and more than a dozen times the company has NOT been able to supply a worker for various reasons, leaving family members who are not fully trained on everything to cover shifts.

 

Covid is real, if you haven't read a book in a while or need to binge some tv shows or movies this is the best time in your life to do it!

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4 minutes ago, Canuckster86 said:

The only issue I know of in regards to health care is the lack of ventilators at hospitals, so if things got bad and more people needed to be on a ventilator then the health care system would be screwed. From where the GF has worked in the past and currently she said there aren't too many ventilators in Hospitals in the Okanagan.

 

As for staff shortages, I don't see that being an issue for a while, throughout this whole pandemic she has worked but not had to worked any more shifts than normal to cover, in fact I would say she has had more time off than normal as she usually would get more work as her position is a vacation relief line. Either way I think there are enough nurses with all the casuals and part timers out there.

 

The big area of need is care aides....There is a huge lack in that industry and companies don't seem to be hiring more staff in a part time or casual position to help fill holes when co workers are sick or have to be away from work due to being in close contact with someone who has Covid.

 

People who rely of care aides everyday and live at home have been impacted the most in the above department and the companies don't seem to care much to try and resolve it. We have family who needs 24hr care and more than a dozen times the company has NOT been able to supply a worker for various reasons, leaving family members who are not fully trained on everything to cover shifts.

 

Covid is real, if you haven't read a book in a while or need to binge some tv shows or movies this is the best time in your life to do it!

thankfully the need for ventilators has decreased since this all began. 

 

Thousands of people in BC are now facing a 2 year surgical backlog, and that was before the 2nd wave (https://www.healthing.ca/news/b-c-completes-almost-66-per-cent-of-surgeries-delayed-by-covid-19). 

 

 

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22 minutes ago, Jimmy McGill said:

the problem is we can't just create a huge amount of new capacity in our healthcare system. Its not like we can suddenly have 100s more people in isolation and ICU and also keep handling our normal case load, The hospital space simply doesn't exist, nor the staffing. 

I respectfully disagree. For 6 months that we had , with proper leadership and funds in place, the capacity of health care system- just for Covid patients- could be increased significantly.

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38 minutes ago, aGENT said:

The government is not to blame for a small groups of idiots not listening to what the government already laid out.

 

We've been keeping our pantry pretty well stocked since this began in case we need to isolate and/or there's an ACTUAL lockdown. Everyone probably should.

 

There's also numerous avenues to get groceries delivered to your house in the event you're caught unprepared.

You can never lock down a food supply, that would just create chaos.  I got 2 chest freezers full so I am fine but i know lots probably arent in that situation.

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31 minutes ago, Silent Man said:

I respectfully disagree. For 6 months that we had , with proper leadership and funds in place, the capacity of health care system- just for Covid patients- could be increased significantly.

Quote

“There’s a lot of other things that are required to look after these patients beyond the physical space to put them and even a ventilator. It requires a whole health care team.” 

Assembling those teams is already proving to be difficult. 

Many health care workers say staffing is an issue at the best of times, but with outbreaks ongoing at three Calgary hospitals, hundreds of workers are out sick or isolating at home. 

So Alberta Health Services (AHS) is hiring. 

A statement says the organization is “advancing aggressive recruitment and staffing strategies to ensure that we are able to staff the beds.”

That includes posting more than 1,100 clinically-related frontline jobs and looking to retirees, students and existing employees.

“I specialize in cardiology, however we have done a four-hour training session in our main ICU (recently),” said Cyrena Quinn, an RN at Foothills Medical Centre RN. “At any time we could be redeployed to any ICU that needs us.

“It’s not that we can’t do the job, but it’s definitely a daunting idea.”

And if someone like Quinn is moved, another procedure could suffer. 

“People are still having heart attacks,” she said. “They’re still having strokes, they’re still having traumas and they still need a bed as well. Staffing is definitely tight.”

Another issue with creating more beds could be space. 

The province has also promised 2,000 more acute care beds. They, along with the new ICU beds, will be made by moving patients from acute to continuing care facilities, transferring them to other areas in the province, repurposing other clinical areas for ICU care and postponing more elective surgeries.

Throughout the week, ICU capacity has held around 90 per cent, said AHS.

https://calgary.ctvnews.ca/covid-19-icu-admissions-on-the-rise-as-alberta-doctors-prepare-for-health-strain-1.5206702

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18 minutes ago, Russ said:

You can never lock down a food supply, that would just create chaos.  I got 2 chest freezers full so I am fine but i know lots probably arent in that situation.

I didn't suggest locking down food supply...?:blink:

 

And again, those people have options for food delivery and/or would be smart to be better prepared.

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57 minutes ago, aGENT said:

I didn't suggest locking down food supply...?:blink:

 

And again, those people have options for food delivery and/or would be smart to be better prepared.

I'd say we have close to a month of supplies ready.........we'd be living like college students, eating ichiban, KD, soup etc, but we'd survive.

 

We also have canned veggies from our garden

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2 hours ago, Silent Man said:

I respectfully disagree. For 6 months that we had , with proper leadership and funds in place, the capacity of health care system- just for Covid patients- could be increased significantly.

how so, specifically? where would you have put them, and still staffed our other healthcare needs? 

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29 minutes ago, stawns said:

I'd say we have close to a month of supplies ready.........we'd be living like college students, eating ichiban, KD, soup etc, but we'd survive.

 

We also have canned veggies from our garden

I bought a huge box of Mr. Noodles from Costco when this all started. Have barely touched it, but nice to know it’s there just in case.

 

Not to mention more frozen and canned goods than normal.

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So schools are safe to remain open due to the unquestioned fact that children don’t spread the virus. A few people at a couple of universities seem to disagree. 
 

https://www.princeton.edu/news/2020/09/30/largest-covid-19-contact-tracing-study-date-finds-children-key-spread-evidence?fbclid=IwAR3J3vpOyHqreyFwDWgfg57W2Pci34biNqk4fces3sJ4ha3AmUp7zXEZlKU

 

I continue to be vigilant as do most, but please folks don’t just agree with everything our government says without critical thinking and personal thought

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While this is a US perspective, I fear that our health care professionals may share similar experiences before we are able to flatten the curve with the COVID Pandemic.  I took this off Twitter so apologize for the lack of formatting.  It's a long read and heartbreaking.  

 

 

Kari Jerge, MD, FACS (she/her)

@kari_jerge

 

For months, healthcare professionals have been hanging on to the guardrails of the top deck of the Titanic. We have been screaming at the top of our lungs that there is an iceberg dead ahead and begging the captain to turn the wheel. We have had other passengers who are in the food hall and can’t see the iceberg from where they are standing mocking us accusing us of lying about the iceberg. “There is no iceberg. You’re seeing things” “Even if there is an iceberg it is smaller than predicted based on available models” “You’re getting paid to claim there is an iceberg.” We are on the ship too. So we are watching the ship approach an iceberg knowing full well that we are going down with the ship. Do we keep screaming? Even though nobody is listening? Do we jump ship and save ourselves? The water is freezing and we don’t want to desert our fellow passengers. Do we gather up the other passengers who can see the iceberg and form a human shield to take the impact on ourselves? Do we bum rush the captain and demand he turn? Or do we stand still, silent, frozen in a state of fight or flight? Paralyzed with sheer terror. Never in a 14 year career would I have imagined I would see this day.

How are we supposed to feel when a critically ill patient has survived cardiac arrest and needs emergency kidney replacement with a dialysis machine but there are no nurses left to run the machine? How do we explain that the hospital policy allows for 1 family member to come in for 1 hour only as we withdraw care so the family of 15 who has traveled for hours to be with their father/brother/grandfather as he leaves this earth has to sit outside and watch on FaceTime? What do we say when they beg us to make an exception to the hospital policy, exclaiming in tears that they don’t care if they catch COVID, they just want to be with him one last time?

What do we say to the patients’s wife when a patient who was fine 48 hours ago is now maxed on 4 pressors, too unstable to flip on his belly to help his lungs get enough oxygen? He is in his 50’s, maxed on full life support. How do I explain that despite all of the medicines and machines available, he is dying, in front of my eyes? And there is nothing we can do to stop it. She cannot see what I see. She cannot feel how helpless this feels. How should I respond when I have explained the above to his poor wife over the phone and she starts crying, begging the universe to help her understand how this could have happened to him when they had “stayed home for months and done everything to avoid getting the virus”?

What do I say to the APP from a rural area in my state who is calling to transfer a critically ill patient because they don’t have any ICU beds left when we don’t have any either? Does it matter that the patient has a very treatable condition? If we had a bed available, we could save this patients life. I am sure of it. But my hands are tied and we have to turn them down. I wonder often what happened to that patient.

I am a surgeon. I fix problems. When patients come in after having been shot and their heart stops in the ER, I am trained to open their chest, clamp the aorta, and buy enough time to get the patient into the OR where we can fix whatever is bleeding. I am not afraid of much. In the most chaotic and hopeless of scenarios, when patients come in near-dead, trauma surgeons pick up the bat and swing for the fences. We run large teams of healthcare professionals, coordinating care of our patients like Aaron Rodgers in overtime during a Super Bowl game. There is nothing that ruffles us. Nothing that scares us. No case that we won’t try to save. When any rational player would bunt, just to get on base, we swing for the fence deep center field. It’s who we are. It’s what we do. Surgeons take out cancers. We fix broken things. We save lives. We are used to big sensational grand slam home runs. We are used to winning in double OT. We throw the Hail Mary when we should kick. It’s who we are.

So when I tell you that there is very little in the scope of medicine that truly scares me, it is not hyperbole. And when I tell you that I am humbled and terrified by what I have seen in the COVID ICU, it is also not hyperbole. What is coming in many states across the country is akin to the Titanic. It is another Hurricane Katrina. This was predicted. It was preventable. So, you tell me... how do I tell a husband that his wife is going to die tonight when he can’t see the tears welling in my eyes? How do I express my sorrow to him without looking him in the eyes and gently putting my hand on his? How do I show him how much I care and how hard we tried to save her when he cannot see me or feel my warmth? He came in to see his wife as we transitioned her to comfort care. He was only allowed to stay for an hour. I never met him in person.  I never gave him a tearful hug. We made his wife comfortable and she passed away that night, pain free. I wanted to be there to meet him but one of my 30+ other patients was getting sicker and I needed to be with him. Do you want to know what this dear man said to me when I explained that his wife was dying? He asked me, a stranger on the phone, what I advised him to do so that she would not suffer anymore. When I explained what comfort care meant, he agreed immediately. She had had a very poor quality of life and she did not want to suffer anymore.  So without many questions and without ever having met me, this man trusted a stranger to help walk him through end of life decisions... on the phone. And then, he asked me to please please let the whole healthcare team know how grateful he was for all we had done for her. He said “nobody really thanks you guys anymore.” He made me promise to tell the whole team how grateful he was. Because as he was preparing to lose his wife, a woman he had loved for 50 years, it was the well-being of the healthcare team that was important to him. I made sure to pass on the message to the bedside nurse and the charge nurse as I ran upstairs to another critically ill patient.

Sometimes I wonder which of these situations will haunt me in 5 years. The hug that I missed? The patient who couldn’t transfer to us? The woman who couldn’t get  the dialysis machine she needed? Sometimes I wonder which of these nightmares will stick with me. But then I remember that I go back on shift in a few days. And I am finally home with my parents, celebrating a small delayed Thanksgiving after finishing my quarantine. I realize that if my mind stays at work with my patients and co-workers, it will keep me from enjoying a small slice of normal life in between shifts. And I won’t do that. There is not enough of this time and I can’t waste it.  For those who are wondering... I put my heart into this but in case you’re worried, I promise I am good. I’m taking good care of myself. It also is worth mentioning that I have very carefully worded this post to avoid any HIPAA violations. If any patients or families would read this thread, there are no identifiable details and I have purposely delayed writing this post with no stated time frame. Just reflections on past experiences. And I deeply and profoundly understand that while healthcare professionals are struggling, it is so so much worse for our patients and their families. This disease is harming so many and I am not trying to center this dialogue on myself. I just wanted to give folks a glimpse into the hauntingly persistent experiences that healthcare workers are having these days.

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8 minutes ago, skategal said:

While this is a US perspective, I fear that our health care professionals may share similar experiences before we are able to flatten the curve with the COVID Pandemic.  I took this off Twitter so apologize for the lack of formatting.  It's a long read and heartbreaking.  

 

 

Kari Jerge, MD, FACS (she/her)

@kari_jerge

 

For months, healthcare professionals have been hanging on to the guardrails of the top deck of the Titanic. We have been screaming at the top of our lungs that there is an iceberg dead ahead and begging the captain to turn the wheel. We have had other passengers who are in the food hall and can’t see the iceberg from where they are standing mocking us accusing us of lying about the iceberg. “There is no iceberg. You’re seeing things” “Even if there is an iceberg it is smaller than predicted based on available models” “You’re getting paid to claim there is an iceberg.” We are on the ship too. So we are watching the ship approach an iceberg knowing full well that we are going down with the ship. Do we keep screaming? Even though nobody is listening? Do we jump ship and save ourselves? The water is freezing and we don’t want to desert our fellow passengers. Do we gather up the other passengers who can see the iceberg and form a human shield to take the impact on ourselves? Do we bum rush the captain and demand he turn? Or do we stand still, silent, frozen in a state of fight or flight? Paralyzed with sheer terror. Never in a 14 year career would I have imagined I would see this day.

How are we supposed to feel when a critically ill patient has survived cardiac arrest and needs emergency kidney replacement with a dialysis machine but there are no nurses left to run the machine? How do we explain that the hospital policy allows for 1 family member to come in for 1 hour only as we withdraw care so the family of 15 who has traveled for hours to be with their father/brother/grandfather as he leaves this earth has to sit outside and watch on FaceTime? What do we say when they beg us to make an exception to the hospital policy, exclaiming in tears that they don’t care if they catch COVID, they just want to be with him one last time?

What do we say to the patients’s wife when a patient who was fine 48 hours ago is now maxed on 4 pressors, too unstable to flip on his belly to help his lungs get enough oxygen? He is in his 50’s, maxed on full life support. How do I explain that despite all of the medicines and machines available, he is dying, in front of my eyes? And there is nothing we can do to stop it. She cannot see what I see. She cannot feel how helpless this feels. How should I respond when I have explained the above to his poor wife over the phone and she starts crying, begging the universe to help her understand how this could have happened to him when they had “stayed home for months and done everything to avoid getting the virus”?

What do I say to the APP from a rural area in my state who is calling to transfer a critically ill patient because they don’t have any ICU beds left when we don’t have any either? Does it matter that the patient has a very treatable condition? If we had a bed available, we could save this patients life. I am sure of it. But my hands are tied and we have to turn them down. I wonder often what happened to that patient.

I am a surgeon. I fix problems. When patients come in after having been shot and their heart stops in the ER, I am trained to open their chest, clamp the aorta, and buy enough time to get the patient into the OR where we can fix whatever is bleeding. I am not afraid of much. In the most chaotic and hopeless of scenarios, when patients come in near-dead, trauma surgeons pick up the bat and swing for the fences. We run large teams of healthcare professionals, coordinating care of our patients like Aaron Rodgers in overtime during a Super Bowl game. There is nothing that ruffles us. Nothing that scares us. No case that we won’t try to save. When any rational player would bunt, just to get on base, we swing for the fence deep center field. It’s who we are. It’s what we do. Surgeons take out cancers. We fix broken things. We save lives. We are used to big sensational grand slam home runs. We are used to winning in double OT. We throw the Hail Mary when we should kick. It’s who we are.

So when I tell you that there is very little in the scope of medicine that truly scares me, it is not hyperbole. And when I tell you that I am humbled and terrified by what I have seen in the COVID ICU, it is also not hyperbole. What is coming in many states across the country is akin to the Titanic. It is another Hurricane Katrina. This was predicted. It was preventable. So, you tell me... how do I tell a husband that his wife is going to die tonight when he can’t see the tears welling in my eyes? How do I express my sorrow to him without looking him in the eyes and gently putting my hand on his? How do I show him how much I care and how hard we tried to save her when he cannot see me or feel my warmth? He came in to see his wife as we transitioned her to comfort care. He was only allowed to stay for an hour. I never met him in person.  I never gave him a tearful hug. We made his wife comfortable and she passed away that night, pain free. I wanted to be there to meet him but one of my 30+ other patients was getting sicker and I needed to be with him. Do you want to know what this dear man said to me when I explained that his wife was dying? He asked me, a stranger on the phone, what I advised him to do so that she would not suffer anymore. When I explained what comfort care meant, he agreed immediately. She had had a very poor quality of life and she did not want to suffer anymore.  So without many questions and without ever having met me, this man trusted a stranger to help walk him through end of life decisions... on the phone. And then, he asked me to please please let the whole healthcare team know how grateful he was for all we had done for her. He said “nobody really thanks you guys anymore.” He made me promise to tell the whole team how grateful he was. Because as he was preparing to lose his wife, a woman he had loved for 50 years, it was the well-being of the healthcare team that was important to him. I made sure to pass on the message to the bedside nurse and the charge nurse as I ran upstairs to another critically ill patient.

Sometimes I wonder which of these situations will haunt me in 5 years. The hug that I missed? The patient who couldn’t transfer to us? The woman who couldn’t get  the dialysis machine she needed? Sometimes I wonder which of these nightmares will stick with me. But then I remember that I go back on shift in a few days. And I am finally home with my parents, celebrating a small delayed Thanksgiving after finishing my quarantine. I realize that if my mind stays at work with my patients and co-workers, it will keep me from enjoying a small slice of normal life in between shifts. And I won’t do that. There is not enough of this time and I can’t waste it.  For those who are wondering... I put my heart into this but in case you’re worried, I promise I am good. I’m taking good care of myself. It also is worth mentioning that I have very carefully worded this post to avoid any HIPAA violations. If any patients or families would read this thread, there are no identifiable details and I have purposely delayed writing this post with no stated time frame. Just reflections on past experiences. And I deeply and profoundly understand that while healthcare professionals are struggling, it is so so much worse for our patients and their families. This disease is harming so many and I am not trying to center this dialogue on myself. I just wanted to give folks a glimpse into the hauntingly persistent experiences that healthcare workers are having these days.

This actually made me tear up....

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23 minutes ago, skategal said:

While this is a US perspective, I fear that our health care professionals may share similar experiences before we are able to flatten the curve with the COVID Pandemic.  I took this off Twitter so apologize for the lack of formatting.  It's a long read and heartbreaking.  

 

 

Kari Jerge, MD, FACS (she/her)

@kari_jerge

 

For months, healthcare professionals have been hanging on to the guardrails of the top deck of the Titanic. We have been screaming at the top of our lungs that there is an iceberg dead ahead and begging the captain to turn the wheel. We have had other passengers who are in the food hall and can’t see the iceberg from where they are standing mocking us accusing us of lying about the iceberg. “There is no iceberg. You’re seeing things” “Even if there is an iceberg it is smaller than predicted based on available models” “You’re getting paid to claim there is an iceberg.” We are on the ship too. So we are watching the ship approach an iceberg knowing full well that we are going down with the ship. Do we keep screaming? Even though nobody is listening? Do we jump ship and save ourselves? The water is freezing and we don’t want to desert our fellow passengers. Do we gather up the other passengers who can see the iceberg and form a human shield to take the impact on ourselves? Do we bum rush the captain and demand he turn? Or do we stand still, silent, frozen in a state of fight or flight? Paralyzed with sheer terror. Never in a 14 year career would I have imagined I would see this day.

How are we supposed to feel when a critically ill patient has survived cardiac arrest and needs emergency kidney replacement with a dialysis machine but there are no nurses left to run the machine? How do we explain that the hospital policy allows for 1 family member to come in for 1 hour only as we withdraw care so the family of 15 who has traveled for hours to be with their father/brother/grandfather as he leaves this earth has to sit outside and watch on FaceTime? What do we say when they beg us to make an exception to the hospital policy, exclaiming in tears that they don’t care if they catch COVID, they just want to be with him one last time?

What do we say to the patients’s wife when a patient who was fine 48 hours ago is now maxed on 4 pressors, too unstable to flip on his belly to help his lungs get enough oxygen? He is in his 50’s, maxed on full life support. How do I explain that despite all of the medicines and machines available, he is dying, in front of my eyes? And there is nothing we can do to stop it. She cannot see what I see. She cannot feel how helpless this feels. How should I respond when I have explained the above to his poor wife over the phone and she starts crying, begging the universe to help her understand how this could have happened to him when they had “stayed home for months and done everything to avoid getting the virus”?

What do I say to the APP from a rural area in my state who is calling to transfer a critically ill patient because they don’t have any ICU beds left when we don’t have any either? Does it matter that the patient has a very treatable condition? If we had a bed available, we could save this patients life. I am sure of it. But my hands are tied and we have to turn them down. I wonder often what happened to that patient.

I am a surgeon. I fix problems. When patients come in after having been shot and their heart stops in the ER, I am trained to open their chest, clamp the aorta, and buy enough time to get the patient into the OR where we can fix whatever is bleeding. I am not afraid of much. In the most chaotic and hopeless of scenarios, when patients come in near-dead, trauma surgeons pick up the bat and swing for the fences. We run large teams of healthcare professionals, coordinating care of our patients like Aaron Rodgers in overtime during a Super Bowl game. There is nothing that ruffles us. Nothing that scares us. No case that we won’t try to save. When any rational player would bunt, just to get on base, we swing for the fence deep center field. It’s who we are. It’s what we do. Surgeons take out cancers. We fix broken things. We save lives. We are used to big sensational grand slam home runs. We are used to winning in double OT. We throw the Hail Mary when we should kick. It’s who we are.

So when I tell you that there is very little in the scope of medicine that truly scares me, it is not hyperbole. And when I tell you that I am humbled and terrified by what I have seen in the COVID ICU, it is also not hyperbole. What is coming in many states across the country is akin to the Titanic. It is another Hurricane Katrina. This was predicted. It was preventable. So, you tell me... how do I tell a husband that his wife is going to die tonight when he can’t see the tears welling in my eyes? How do I express my sorrow to him without looking him in the eyes and gently putting my hand on his? How do I show him how much I care and how hard we tried to save her when he cannot see me or feel my warmth? He came in to see his wife as we transitioned her to comfort care. He was only allowed to stay for an hour. I never met him in person.  I never gave him a tearful hug. We made his wife comfortable and she passed away that night, pain free. I wanted to be there to meet him but one of my 30+ other patients was getting sicker and I needed to be with him. Do you want to know what this dear man said to me when I explained that his wife was dying? He asked me, a stranger on the phone, what I advised him to do so that she would not suffer anymore. When I explained what comfort care meant, he agreed immediately. She had had a very poor quality of life and she did not want to suffer anymore.  So without many questions and without ever having met me, this man trusted a stranger to help walk him through end of life decisions... on the phone. And then, he asked me to please please let the whole healthcare team know how grateful he was for all we had done for her. He said “nobody really thanks you guys anymore.” He made me promise to tell the whole team how grateful he was. Because as he was preparing to lose his wife, a woman he had loved for 50 years, it was the well-being of the healthcare team that was important to him. I made sure to pass on the message to the bedside nurse and the charge nurse as I ran upstairs to another critically ill patient.

Sometimes I wonder which of these situations will haunt me in 5 years. The hug that I missed? The patient who couldn’t transfer to us? The woman who couldn’t get  the dialysis machine she needed? Sometimes I wonder which of these nightmares will stick with me. But then I remember that I go back on shift in a few days. And I am finally home with my parents, celebrating a small delayed Thanksgiving after finishing my quarantine. I realize that if my mind stays at work with my patients and co-workers, it will keep me from enjoying a small slice of normal life in between shifts. And I won’t do that. There is not enough of this time and I can’t waste it.  For those who are wondering... I put my heart into this but in case you’re worried, I promise I am good. I’m taking good care of myself. It also is worth mentioning that I have very carefully worded this post to avoid any HIPAA violations. If any patients or families would read this thread, there are no identifiable details and I have purposely delayed writing this post with no stated time frame. Just reflections on past experiences. And I deeply and profoundly understand that while healthcare professionals are struggling, it is so so much worse for our patients and their families. This disease is harming so many and I am not trying to center this dialogue on myself. I just wanted to give folks a glimpse into the hauntingly persistent experiences that healthcare workers are having these days.

That's how I feel everyday at school

Edited by stawns
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