Sonya M. Sloan, MD, shares her thoughts and encouragement for the healthcare workers fighting COVID-19.
Hey, how's it going? Yes, pretty freakin' SURREAL is a great way to describe the worst world-wide medical disaster in our lifetime. I understand you are extremely busy saving lives, but I wanted to tell you THANK YOU! Truth be told, thank you really doesn't do you justice. I don't think there are genuinely any words in the human language that could ever adequately express the sheer magnitude of how grateful we are as Americans. THANK YOU, to each healthcare worker, for all you have done and continue to do on a daily basis on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Soooooo… I guess it is sufficient to say; I don't think any of us saw this one coming. Never in our wildest dreams could we, as healthcare providers, have imagined that the face of medicine and the world would be behind an N95 or homemade makeshift face mask. We have all been taken off guard and knocked for a proverbial loop! It seems impossible to quantify the enormous gravity of the life and death impact this virus has on our daily lives, the health of our patients, loved ones, and so many other human beings around the world.
So THANK YOU, because that's what I believe you should say when someone does something nice for you. I humbly commend each of you in your heroic efforts day in and day out. Medicine did not stop nor slow down because of a pandemic; it continued on top of a world ill-prepared for global pandemic. Yes, this is what we do best in the face of adversity as healthcare front-liners, we learn through success and failure. We strategically plan, adjust ad nauseam, micromanage, and improvise on the fly with or without the proper PPE (a.k.a. our superhero attire… cape and mask). And when things go awry — usually before noon on any given day — we as 'essential' medical professionals keep going, through our fatigue, our anger, and our tears, so we can help the sick and perhaps save another life.
THANK YOU, because no one will ever be able to understand the ginormous weight on your shoulders. How does someone adapt to or accept saying goodbye to your loved ones, only to take care of total strangers who could be the death of you? I empathize with the heaviness in your spirit, to watch so many suffer and realize you are but one person amid the chaos, mayhem, and the madness. I see your tear-filled eyes; some days, it's fear of the unknown adversary we call the coronavirus, while other days it's sadness due to the loss of a patient with little or no time to grieve properly. I hear your frustration in repeatedly asking the public to comply with social distancing so we can flatten the curve and allow everyone to get back to some form of normalcy in our daily lives.
So no, THANK YOU truly doesn't begin to cover the gamut of all that you have sacrificed and endured. But as a colleague, I will repeat it in hopes you will hear my heart, which echoes the sentiments of so many others. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
You are a true superhero through your actions of unselfishness and your passionate heart to help. You are a true superhero by the intentionality of your hands to heal, comfort, and care for anyone who needs it. You are a true superhero through your years of wisdom and being a well-trained mind in medicine. You are a true superhero with your powerful prowess; you walk with a bodacious audacity that we, as medical professionals, can and will beat this unpredictable and invisible villain.
Marvel Comics and Merriam-Webster define a superhero as a fictional character with superhuman powers. Well, I say it's time to redefine what a superhero is — a medical professional.
Sonya Sloan, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon