COVID Reflections

Adrenaline and
caffeine can
get you through
the 1st
work week

But by the 2nd
chronic exhaustion
leaves you only
one option:
to go through
the motions

Getting through
takes giving in
to a certain degree
but not letting
yourself be taken
over by it fully

The hardest part
is choosing
which pieces
to hold on to
and which
to release

……With every
……new wave
……you’re afraid
……the worst
……is yet
……to come

……but the ICU
……is packed
……with patients
……so you keep
……going, hoping
……you’re wrong

Notes from the interview that inspired this poem:

He had been through a tremendous amount of transition this year. He was working as a resident in March, when the first COVID-19 wave hit. Now he was a cardiology fellow. He was seeing the ICUs fill up again at his new hospital. He told me about his experiences working consecutive 95-hour work weeks, and described what it felt like to function in a state of exhaustion. Most recently, out of an abundance of concern since he was treating coronavirus patients, he had made the difficult decision not to see his family anymore. “I’m hopeful for the future, and that we can learn from this to prevent the next pandemic from having impacts like this,” he said. He was realistic that the road ahead was still long. He dreaded the thought of going back to chronic exhaustion, but he still felt hopeful that he could make it through this time without letting it take him over fully.

Interviewee: Anonymous, Medical Fellow
Listener Poet: Jenny Hegland

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