2021 was a rumbling, steaming, forceful train that sped towards us and collided into 2022. As a healthcare worker family, we battled burnout, lack of childcare, and chronic sleep deprivation, but sought joy in the small, seemingly mundane moments. Let’s recap!
Despise, Despair, Depletion
Despised fall until 🍂
Winter’s despair: Covid surge 🦠
Let’s rewind back time ⏮Continue reading
Heads shaking side to side
Hands together, lips shut.
They declined a life saving vaccine
My head hung low in defeat
The Nights that Haunt Me
Masks 😷 goggles 🥽 Enter.
“I feel sick cuz…(sigh) COVID.”
All the unslept hours
The moon flickered into the dark hallway. The kids tucked asleep.
“How many minutes were you in that room?” he asked.
“An hour.” I answered, from upstairs.
“How many patients?”
Hurt/ Helpless/ Hopeful
With the door ajar, I heard a voice. “Love you, see you in the morning.“
She walked out the room and headed towards the elevator. “If there’s anything, call me,” she waved at me.
“Your mom is so sweet,” I handed over a cup of pills. As a new nurse, I tried to juggle both- caring for my patients, while getting to know my patients. “How are you feeling?”
“Hi Soapie, it’s good to see you again,” she tried to smile. “But my chest feels tight.”
I checked her oxygen level, listened to her lungs, then ran a marathon: rushed to the medication cart, back to my patient to put her on a nebulizer, and reassessed her breathing. I repositioned her, raised the head of the bed, called respiratory and her attending, and gave all the PRN and STAT meds.
But her breaths became more shallow. The pink in her lips disappeared.
Please don’t die… you are too young to die… Before I knew it, my legs pushed her bed out the room and sprinted down a long hall.Continue reading
Release that Dam
Whoosh whoosh whoosh whoosh
Hearing the baby’s heartbeat from outside the door, I stepped into the exam room to check the patient on the monitor.
“Hola, soy Soapie, una enfermera (Hello I’m Soapie, a nurse),” I introduced myself, while looking at the curvy lines on the gridded paper.
“AHH!!!!! Soy yo! (It’s me!)” she exclaimed. Her eyes widened above her mask and grinned in the corners.Continue reading
Departures and Reunions
Riding his bike, an elderly man approached the intersection. His military green cadet hat and faded jacket looked familiar.
“Pbu! Jum reap sua! (Uncle! Hello!)” I crossed the street to meet him, placed my palms together, under my chin, and bowed my head. In Khmer, we call our friends, and our patients, family.
But he didn’t always feel the same way about me.
“I threatened to walk out unless they gave me a real mask… it’s a tourniquet stapled to the mask. I barely pulled and the staples tore away.”
“That’s totally unacceptable!” My jaw dropped open, reading the text from my former classmate, the maternity nurse. “Did you get a real mask?!?” Anger filled my throat; I swallowed it to try to calm down. My breakfast sat on the table untouched. Continue reading
Bright Reds and Flashing Sirens
A whirlwind of colors whizzed outside my desk window. They were the bright reds of fire trucks and the dizzying, flashing sirens of ambulances.
Is it safe to walk to my car?
Usually I don’t feel anxious about my commute, despite working in the “rough” side of town. But those emergency vehicles had lingered for quite some time.
How to Cross the Canyon
Picking up the phone, I took a deep breath, then dialed the number. One of the benefits of being multilingual is that you can communicate and cross barriers to connect with others. But one disadvantage is that you might also have to do the very thing that no one else wants to do… deliver bad news.