Healthcare workers may well be doing their job, doing what they’re ‘paid for’ but that doesn’t mean that this is an ordinary time and it doesn’t mean that this whole thing isn’t taking a physical and mental toll. 1/
It’s the constant PPE, that hurts your ears and makes your face itch. That makes you sweat and dehydrate and tired. It’s the rare opportunities to take a mask off because of limited office and break spaces.
It’s eating lunch 2m away from your colleagues, shouting over tables in the canteen, or eating in silence because it’s easier.
It’s caring for strangers and carrying their unique stories. It’s watching them deteriorate and struggle. It’s hearing the sound of people coughing and struggling to breathe that stays with you all day. It’s remembering their names long after.
It’s the thoughts that wander to a patient you’re worried about when you take your bag off at the end of your shift or as you cook your dinner or before you get into bed.
It’s checking the patient list in the morning for their name and the jolt when you see that it’s missing. It’s the relief when they’ve moved to a different ward and the moment of silence when they haven’t.
It’s the thoughts you carry for all of their families and friends and neighbours. It’s the strength to hold it in when the relatives come, when they struggle to put on PPE with nervous hands, when they cry and weep at the end.
It’s having to adjust to the new reality of your job. It’s seeing the level of fatigue and loss of functional ability that impacts those that survive, that changes their world and affects their quality of life.
It’s the complexity and difficult considerations. The decisions not to do the rehab you’re there to do because they’re just too fatigued to cope. It’s the plans for transfer aids and hoists and nursed in bed for people who didn’t need them before.
Its the demoralisation when people say ‘hospitals are empty’ with bewildering confidence, when every day you’ve had to prioritise your caseload and support your colleagues with discharges to ensure there are beds.
It’s the posts about ‘just the flu’ and ‘died with covid not from it’ that deny your lived experience and the integrity of your colleagues and the complexity of health.
It’s the arrogance of beliefs that this affects only those with co-morbidities or the elderly. As though their lives don’t have meaning and value and love. As though pre-existing conditions don’t mean you can have years and years left to live with good quality of life.
It’s dealing with lockdown and all the things you do to protect patients, yourself, your loved ones, as you see others disregard, deny and disparage. It’s times when you don’t recognise the world you’re living in because of the utter arrogance and ignorance around you.
No one wants to be here, living through this. But when you share false information, when you lie to yourself, when you don’t listen and don’t follow public health guidelines, you are risking and undermining lives.
Healthcare workers may well be ‘just’ doing their jobs, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard and it certainly doesn’t justify disrespect or denial. Long gone are the rainbows and claps, but healthcare and key workers are still here day in, day out. Just do your bit, please.

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