A Thank You During a Pandemic

Trigger Warning
The content includes information related to mental and emotional distress and it might be upsetting to some people. If you or someone you know have thoughts of suicide, have attempted suicide, or experience emotional distress, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1–800–273–TALK (8255) or Live Online Chat. To get general information on mental health and to locate treatment services in your area, contact SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline – 1–877–SAMHSA7 (1–877–726–4727).

During a time like this, it’s hard to put into words just how thankful we are to have the caretakers and essential workers, but we’re going to give it a try.

Thank you to the healthcare workers, the ones at the front lines right now, as our world fights COVID-19. Thank you to the workers in the background taking our calls and triaging them. Thank you to the certified nursing assistants who have undoubtedly been given more than they ever expected to see.

Thank you to the specialists in different fields who have been given alternative assignments on COVID floors - something you never imagined would happen in your tenure.

Real life heroes

Despite the lives that have been lost, you are our heroes:

  • Every time you put on your figurative armor.
  • Every time you are able to go home, strip naked in the garage before you shower, only to look in the mirror and see the integrity of your skin failing a little more each day due to lack of proper PPE usage and over usage of any and all protective layers.
  • Every time you’ve had to let the tears fall down your face without being able to wipe them away underneath layers of cloth, respiratory protection, and face shields.

Meeting fear with empathy and patience

Thank you for seeing the fear in patients' eyes when we’ve gone in to register in the ER, not knowing if or when we’ll leave. Thank you for helping us form words when we are too confused or out of breath from excruciating chest and head pain. The eye contact you give your patients is empathetic, connecting, and validating. To be a patient in these times of absolute uncertainty and not being able to see your provider's facial expressions and wrinkles in their forehead as they read your scans is terrifying. Thank you for the smile in your eyes that is visible when we look for it.

You’re leading a movement. One that was suddenly dropped in your lap and certainly wasn’t given to you as a choice. You are as essential as they come. Thank you for your selflessness and for always putting others before yourself.

Sharing our stories online

Thank you to online health organizations that allow patients the freedom to voice their struggles, worries, and provide resources and ideas how to prevent further anxiety and feel less isolated. Thank you for allowing us to continue to share our stories of recovery, but also acknowledge the grief we’re experiencing without being led in fear. Thank you for validating that fear, without letting it take over our entire lives.

Mental health support and specialists helping us navigate

Thank you to the mental health professionals who are seeing a massive increase in depression, suicides, and a steady decline in patients’ mental health. Thank you for increasing the frequency of telehealth appointments and video visits as this continues to affect almost every part of our existence right now.

Thank you to the specialists who are doing their best to provide medical treatment and advice, no matter what the condition. Thank you for collaborating with us to help put together a treatment plan - and plan and C for if/when our health begins to fail us. It’s a confusing time to navigate “regular” procedures many are waiting for - nerve blocks, Botox, eye surgery, gastrointestinal scopes, dental care, podiatry, pain management. Even lab work can be a bit confusing for many right now.

Connecting with others to ease anxiety

Thank you to the companies who allow us to work from home and continue to allow us to educate others, including this community, so we feel less alone and are still able to help our community members. Thank you for allowing us to be there for others who are feeling scared, isolated, and completely alone. Online communities like ours are all the support some people have - thank you for allowing us to connect with one another to help ease anxieties about being alone during uncertain times.

And now on a personal note

Thank you to the doctors who heard my cry for help through patient portals and have taken the time to immediately call me back and come up with a plan. Thank you for validating my pain, when I was the most scared. Thank you for being my support system when I was too scared to go in and ask for help. Thank you for being available to me, acknowledging and addressing my mental health in the way that my case was handled.

Thank you for calling and checking up on me, knowing I wouldn’t call back in fear I would be taking up a patient’s time that needed he help more than I did. Thank you for taking my pain seriously and validating my fears while trying to manage my pain. Thank you for the way you looked at me while trying to maintain a no-contact type of overall physical while checking my heart, lungs, and other organs of concern.

I pray for your mental health, as what you have seen, witnessed and endured is not something anyone should have to go through. I deeply hope with all my heart that every worker in this pandemic I able to receive the mental. Health assistance they need, whether it’s immediate or long-term.

Right now, “thank you” just doesn’t seem to be sufficient right now. Thank you will never seem like enough, to me.

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