I’ve been up here in The Empire State for 2.5 weeks now, and I think I am probably changed forever. I am learning so many things about myself. I have new concerns for my patients. I am afraid of exposing them to a virus if they do not already have it. I am also afraid of leaving them afraid and feeling isolated even after I see them. It is hard to comfort people when you are trying to maintain a safe distance from them.
I am also learning to communicate with stressed out family members who are feeling neglected and ignored because they cannot be at the hospital. When our loved ones are sick we want to be there to take care of them and we are unable to allow visitors. I cannot even imagine what it is like to be sitting by the phone wondering what the hell is going on at the hospital. I know my imagination tends to run wild when I cannot be there. I can’t imagine what it would be like during this time. I am trying to make plenty of time to reach out and give these families the support and care they need as well.
All of this is stressful and it is easy for me to become mired in self-pity and to feel like it is all too much. I have to remind myself that I am one of the lucky ones. My family is safe and sound at home.
Speaking of lucky, I got presents! A dear, sweet friend made me some beautiful scrub caps and I am already feeling even more loved and cared for than I usually do. Our friends and family are the reason we can keep doing these jobs. They remind us to keep fighting and provide us with the support we need to overcome our fears and self- doubt. When I find myself feeling inadequate and wonder what I am doing all I have to do is think of all the people who believe in me.
It is so easy to fall into the trap of negative self-talk. When I am frustrated I tend to take it out on myself. I wonder why I cannot be better. I wonder why I do not know all the answers. I convince myself anyone else could do a better job than I am doing right now. I ask myself just exactly who do I think I am and what makes me think anyone would trust me to take care of their loved one. That is a dangerous place to live in for very long. It is also not true.
Not that I am special, but I know how to take care of patients. I have been taught by the best of the best. I went to one of the best nursing and NP schools in the country. My mentors have all been phenomenal and they have taught me the skills I need to provide excellent care.
My fears are healthy as long as I keep them in perspective and use them to make sure I am constantly evaluating every situation and looking for the best solution. Staying humble allows me to ask for help and recognize my own limitations. This is why I am good at my job. I am not afraid to ask for help and this is a strength, not a weakness.
I do not know what the future looks like. None of us do. We all need to keep our wits about us and just keep doing the next thing when it comes up. We will make it through this because we are able to adapt and change. This is our gift as a species. We all need to be prepared for things to change and to be willing to change along with each situation as it arises. We need to protect and love each other. I am so grateful to know I am loved and I get the opportunity to give something back to others. It makes me feel useful.
Today is a better day. Wish me luck and remember to take care of the ones you love. We all need support right now. These are scary and hard times. I feel like we can make it through though.