A reflection of being in the hospital in a time of pandemic crisis:
The lines of people stretched down a shadow-filled alleyway between a parking structure and the hospital building. We all waited for our names to be called out for the first of three encounters with medical staff to be screened and tested. Temps taken, questions asked, then sent to the appropriate line to wait for the next step in the process.
So time passed and the noonday sun began to fill the alley where we all stood, uncomfortably hot in the New Mexico summer sun, waiting.
You hear your name being called, barely audible over the noise of a huge fan that was moving possibly infected air through the crowd that grew as time went on.
We were then escorted to a nurse who took vitals and asked more questions about where we have been, traveled, people we saw or met with. Then back to the waiting folks in the alley.
In my case, where there was some nonspecific symptomology, I was put in a wheelchair and carted off to the ER for intensive screening. The crowds of people parted like the Red Sea as I was wheeled out, reminding me of the fearful days of HIV when there was so much ignorance. I wanted to disappear.
But then I focused on the providers covered in PPE, exhausted, automatically going through the motions of protocol looking at the long lines, the masks hiding the look of exhaustion on their faces. But the body language was obvious, and I felt compelled to offer support and maybe even some humor to them, having felt the emotional exhaustion they were experiencing.
This was like a möbius strip for them, where you found yourself in the same place over and over, with seemingly no end.
This crisis is in everyone’s face.
We must have compassion for all, especially those who stand up in the face of possible illness and death to be of service to those who wait in the alley, for they are there with us as well.
Such courage in the face of fear is remarkable and noteworthy.