I think yesterday broke me a little.
I mean, the pandemic has broken me a lot.
Not that I was in an all fired fabulous place before this. I have worked in the Emergency Department for about fifteen years, a significant chunk of that being in charge of emergency departments, so I’ve been tired for a while.
But the pandemic? The wilful disregard for others’ safety? The repeated complete obviousness of how bad things are going to be followed by the inexorable slide towards it? The complete willingness of the public in many places to put “the economy” ahead of lives? When it was obvious to anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together that just paying everyone to sit at home for a month -maybe two – and stopping or quarantining for all international travel – right at the beginning- could have more or less ended this quickly and with minimal deaths.
Now we have this hydra like disease that we’ve got no way to get a handle on that’s ripping apart the fabric of society, and that we’re having to focus on instead of the very fucking urgent fact that we’re destroying the planet and we need to fix that.
Almost every patient I saw yesterday had COVID. Half our board was bright red with isolation symbols.
And I spent 7 hours watching someone slowly slide to what will be a horrific death. Watching their oxygen level dropping and dropping.
Knowing that there’s nothing we can do. Even if we were in a big, fancy hospital with shiny, shiny equipment there’s very little that could be done. But in a rural hospital? We tried to make her a little more comfortable.
But that’s it.
We “optimised” her breathing within the bounds of what can be done in a small hospital with limited ICU facilities. And a full ICU. So she sat in the ER for the full 7 hours of my shift she was there – on a ventilator – and presumably long afterwards – because when I left there was no-where for her to go.
And at the same time I met that — and other patient’s relatives -who had bloody COVID — who decided to come into the hospital. And who didn’t mask.
And told them that they needed to mask. And isolate.
I want to say to them “How many people have you killed? How many lives have you destroyed? How many families will lose a loved one because you couldn’t be bothered to have the slightest ounce of compassion or care for others?”
When people tell me they “Haven’t got around to getting the vaccine”, they no longer get some kind of chipper response about how they should take it to protect themselves and others. Now they get “Well, this won’t end until people do, and I’m sick of watching people die, so I encourage you to get it as soon as possible”.
I doubt it does anything.
But I’m too tired to care.