This is my second pandemic Thanksgiving.
As I reflect back on all that has happened since early 2020, when SARS CoV-2 hit our shores in full force, it does nothing if it has not left me awe-struck. There has been so much that we at the bedside have experienced. There has been so much that we at the bedside have seen that cannot be unseen.
It has been tough. Really tough.
So many of us are totally spent – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. So many of us are saying, “Why bother?” We are totally done with the virus, but the problem is the virus is not done with us.
We are not ready for another surge, but the surges continue to come, and we have no choice but to face them head on. I think I can speak for most – if not all of us – at the bedside when I say that we will never be the same after the pandemic is over, whenever that day is.
And yet, after everything that COVID has done, I am still so very grateful.
So many people sarcastically say, “Living the dream” when asked how they are doing. For me, I am living my dream. Ever since I have been a little boy, I have only ever wanted to be a doctor. It was my life dream. Now, each and every day, I go to work and truly live my dream.
I am so very grateful.
I am grateful to be one of the privileged few to care for the sick. I am grateful to be one of the privileged few to care for the very sick – those critically ill in the ICU. I am grateful to be one of the privileged few to care for people at their most vulnerable point. I am grateful to be able to help someone survive critical illness and be as well as possible or, if death is inevitable, help them die with dignity without suffering and pain.
Each and every day, complete strangers put their faith and trust in me to help them feel better and navigate a truly horrific time. I can never take this faith and trust for granted. While I cannot be successful all of the time, I can stand tall knowing that I have fought as hard I could with each and every patient. I can stand tall knowing that I did all that I could and tried my best.
And for that, I am so very grateful. Even after everything that has happened with the pandemic, and through all the pain and distress, I am still so very grateful.
Whenever I get the urge to just “swim down,” I try my hardest to step back and take it all in: that I am one of the privileged few to care for the sick. And I say a prayer of thanksgiving, because I am so very grateful.