This is a love letter to my colleagues in healthcare. To our med students, our trainees, our physicians, our nurses, our RTs, our pharmacists, our techs, our housekeeping staff. It is a love letter to all of us.

(A thread)
At the beginning, we were called out as heroes. There were signs, chalk drawings on the sidewalk, celebrities posting on IG and Twitter, ribbons. This felt uncomfortable to us. There was a certainty to it; like they were all sure that we would usher them through this unscathed.
Uncomfortable as it was, it also felt good to be acknowledged (if not seen). At the beginning, that acknowledgment fueled us; it made us believe that we were all in this together. That the country had our backs.
And then, as the fear that this virus demanded of all of us began to infect them, the hero worship ended. We became the vectors of the uncertainty none of them wanted to live with.
And here we are in The Middle. The novelty of physician as super hero has worn off and the adrenaline supply has been exhausted. We can't see the starting blocks that first propelled us and we can't see finish line. It's just the darkness of in between.
The good news is that we've been here before; maybe not for long enough that our masks have dug lines into our faces or the exhaustion settled into our bones. But we have known pain and tragedy and hopelessness.
I saw you sit vigil at the bedside of dying patient well into a 30 hour "shift." I was there when you showed up for work hours after learning you miscarried. And I walked with you through the shame of giving the wrong dose.
And like then, what we are being called to do now is to feel our way through. We know that there is no "beating this virus" and that there may never be a light at the end of the tunnel. But sitting with what is holds infinite possibilities.
There is a beginning, middle and end to sadness, to fear, to anger, to despair. We can't hold off the virus but we can make space for the emotional havoc it's caused in our bodies.
We can recognize and allow for those emotions; we can notice that they make our head throb, and our chest hurt and our stomach to turn over. They make our heart race and our mouth dry.
And then we can give ourselves permission to move our bodies, or hold our partners close, or laugh, or lie on the bathroom floor and breathe. We can shake off the paralysis of the middle and find an end. Just in time for the beginning of the next wave. Of emotion.
I love you all not because you are super heroes, but because you have never pretended to be super heroes.

With my undying love and admiration.

• • •

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