Tales From All The  Comforts of Home Hospital 3.5: Covid Edition

Tales+From+All+The%C2%A0+Comforts+of+Home+Hospital+3.5%3A+Covid+Edition

Sarah Underkofler, Writer

(This story is not directly connected into the ongoing storyline but is being written to show what the doctors are going through within the current epidemic situation.)

*This story is a creative interpretation of all real events. Names and locations have been changed to maintain privacy.

Every day as I walk into ALCH, my heart sinks deeper into my chest. Walking through these halls feels like a walk through the Underworld itself, with all of the lost and hopeless souls wandering around. It hasn’t even been 10 minutes, and I can already feel the nose piece of my N95 digging into my skin. This 12-hour shift is going to be a long one, I can already feel it. 

My first patient of the day is Marie Barr, who somehow managed to slice her arm open while cooking chicken parmesan for her family (how she managed to do this, I am still not sure). Now, even though she is not a pandemic patient, all of the doctors are required to wear gloves, have their hair tied back and in a surgeon cap, and wear either an N95 mask or a full respirator mask for all of their patients to ensure that the COVID-19 virus is not being spread. As I walked into Mrs. Barr’s room, I could feel the fear radiating from her eyes just from looking at me.

That look, that is the look that I now receive from 99% of my patients: pure fear. They’re scared that I will be the one to pass it along. That I will be the one to infect them and their families. That I will be the one to end it all for them, everything they know and love, stripped and taken from them just because of one little encounter. Little do they realize that I am the one who hasn’t seen my family in 3 weeks because I am self quarantining, just to protect them. I am exposed every single day when I walk in the hospital to do my job, to save the entire world and save other people so that they are not forced to stay away from their own families. I have given up almost everything I love to save what they love. The only comfort I get is knowing that my family is home safe inside, protected by the walls of their home, but at what cost?

My happiness.

Every day I am faced with my own fear of walking into that hospital and hearing, “Are your masks secured? We don’t need any of you spreading around this virus!” 

This sickening pit grows in my stomach every time a new COVID-19 positive patient is admitted, one by one taking up the available ventilators we own. Our ventilator supplies shrink every day, and most of the world is oblivious to it. Do they not realize the choices we as doctors will have to make if we ever run out? Do they not realize, that with a lack of ventilators we as doctors, the people who have trained for years upon years to learn how to save and cure every single person we treat, will have to make the one decision that will tear us apart in every way? Do they not realize we will have to choose who gets to live through this crisis, and who will have to suffer and pass on just because there wasn’t enough? If the hospital runs out of ventilators and I am faced with the decision of choosing between Mr. Harry Adelade or Ms. Trinity Williams, how will I, a medical professional trained to save lives, choose between the lives of two innocent and equally loved and important people?

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