Well it’s been a long 7 months since we last entered a “non-essential” store, enjoyed a pint on the patio, and our vaccination rate appears to be turning the pandemic tide.
As we dream of vacations out of town, on planes, trains, and into other regions by car there remains an inkling of concern that another wave could develop. As variants evolve we’re assured the vaccines will protect us. As a health car professional I am aware that the research for mRNA vaccines did not just pop up out of nowhere. Development began over 20 years ago when SARS was a bit of a dress rehearsal for COVID-19, the pace of the past year came about by a combination of knowledge, surely a good dose of artificial intelligence, and the millions or perhaps billions of dollars invested.
We may never know how COVID-19 started, we do know millions have died with pandemic related conditions, at this point I include deaths from treatment delays, surgical deferrals, virtual visits that just are not the same as a live one one one discussions.
Thank goodness golf courses opened late May, as my soul and body likes to golf; for those who are mystified by the game I’m sure you too participate in an activity that would be akin to watching paint dry. Today I enjoyed a round this a.m., that fulfilled my golf desire, and the p.m. was to celebrate Nurse Nephew’s birthday. As I observed my nephews it was a poignant moment to recognize the boys are now men, thankfully willing to hug their dear Auntie. As I ponder on hope for these young men to have increasing success and good health, I also consider my community. A couple of thoughts, has the pandemic had an impact on family time that will be sustained, will the work at home option be eroded or built upon?
I know let’s focus on Step One and cross our fingers that the daily counts go down, and the positivity rate trends downwards. To friends and colleagues in acute care thank you for labouring so many months to accommodate the increased number of critical care patients admitted. Though I did see the strain and the missed opportunities to lessen stress of patients and families. Dialogue on loved ones’ statuses should not take over 3 hours to obtain, nor should a emergency patient be sent home before a diagnosis is confirmed and an adequate treatment plan provided. Our community hospital dropped the ball and when patient experience was contacted–they expressed apologies but I would pose that what I observed, heard, and considered was but the tip of an iceberg. An iceberg of disenfranchised nursing staff who may stay, may leave, may develop life altering stress reactions vis a vis burnout, compassion fatigue and/or post traumatic stress disorder. The unknown is how many will leave nursing temporarily or permanently.
Dare I hope, well I work in Long Term Care with individuals who are a few months further past crisis mode, and their stories are richly detailed on fatigue, burnout, physical issues, moral distress, and a need to find a system that will help them recover, regain resiliency, and the residents are also in need of support. Many had COVID-19, developed increased debilitation, responsive behaviours are more common, and they missed their families and friends.
It’s terrific to see their faces when they emerge from the building to the garden, and related by staff many residents wept when they were able to go outside for the first time in 2020 after weeks of lockdown. We all have more in common than not, let’s be kind and enjoy step one. Summer is here and there’s pints to be enjoyed and time with friends to be spent. Namaste.
Registered Nurse Storyteller, Healer, Scribe, Transformational Leader