Frontline workers, including nurses, doctors, emergency medical personnel, police, and firemen and others have been recognized as COVID-19 heroes. Time and again, they have set aside concerns regarding their own health and welfare to care for sick COVID-19 patients.
In Michigan, they even launched A statewide #COVID-19Heroes campaign to thank and highlight the healthcare workers and others who are on the front lines in the battle against the COVID-19 virus.
As a healthcare worker who treats multiple Covid and post Covid patients throughout my week, I appreciate the kind gestures that have been made to thank us for caring for our patients. But when I look at the enormous sacrifices of many of my patients, however, I realize that they are the true heroes and not me.
On an average day, I enter their nursing home room in a gown and gloves. My face is covered in an N95 mask covered by an additional paper mask and goggles. I pass through a zip up plastic barrier into their room. Through no fault of their own, these poor people are trapped in isolation, often for weeks and months at a time.
I’ve been inspired and amazed however by their great resilience. Although it is more difficult to connect with them on a physical level because of all of the PPE we wear, I have tried hard to connect more with them in an empathetic and truly human way. I elicit stories from them of past relationships, success and family. I pause to let them talk about what matters to them and what makes them happy. I let them know that they are not forgotten in their confinement and that they matter.
Bill Gates has been front and center during this COVID-19 pandemic. In his blog “GatesNotes”he wrote of the “7 Unsung Heroes of the Pandemic”. He identified people around the world who he felt were extraordinary heroes. In my mind, number one on the list should be our isolated patients. Let’s never forget them.