Wednesday 1 September 2021

Thanks for spitting in our face

Today, all healthcare workers got slapped in the face. Hard. And we will be hurting from it for quite a while.
Gone are the days where the public cheered for frontline workers, taped hearts into their windows and bought us coffee. Remember those days? Back in the spring of 2020, when all of us were willing to do whatever it takes to get safely through the danger and come out on the other side - healthy, safe, and most important of all, united? Not anymore, my friend. 

Now we're being spat at by people because we politely ask them to put on a mask - and suffer a heart attack as extra bonus. We're that stressed out.   
Critically ill patients may not get a hospital bed because they're all being taken by people who are sicker - with Covid. (Incidentally, the percentage of unvaccinated patients in Toronto hospitals is 98.7%. A coincidence, I'm sure.) 

And worst of all? Disgusting sub-groups like the so-called Canadian Frontline Nurses are emerging, giving all of us a bad name and spreading dangerous misinformation amongst the public.

I'm not gonna link them here, because that only gives them more exposure. Let me just tell you this very important fact: they DO NOT represent healthcare workers
We, meaning all of us in healthcare who take pride in our profession and genuinely care about the welfare of our patients - do not approve of their misguided message
We did not participate in today's protests. 
In fact, some of us protested the protests:
KGH nurses in Kelowna today

Many of us cried today.

Collectively we are defeated. We are more tired than we have ever been in our lives. And we are at a loss. How did we get here? From being united against a common enemy (Covid-19), to now being divided into two enemy groups: 
people who try to save you/us - and people who actively stand in our way. 
There is so much to say, but I won't bother. My camp knows - and the other side won't listen. Still, I need to put down in writing what the last year-and-a-half has been like for us hospital workers (and retail workers, restaurant workers, and any other frontline workers who have been excessively exposed, abused, and put to their brink by the ignorant public):

In the beginning, we are terrified. We know little about this new virus, but we have seen terrifying footage from Italy about emergency rooms turned into impromptu ICUs, with so many patients in critical condition that the staff cannot keep up. Patients are literally dying before the staff can get to them. Can you imagine the toll this takes on a person who has devoted their life to saving people?

But we grit our teeth, put on our disposable masks for the third day in a row, hope for some PPE, and we are READY. We devoted our careers to helping people, and no matter how scared we are, that's what we gonna do! It will only be for a short while before it gets easier. 

The promised two weeks turn into a month. 
And then two.
And then three. 
We are still stripping outside our homes, shedding our hospital clothes before we expose our children, our partners, our vulnerable parents. 
We still shower before we even hug them hello, even though the shower feels like one super-human effort too many. All we want is to fall into bed and sleep for a week.

But we can't. So we gather all the strength we have left, put on our gloves, take the discarded clothes from the front door and stick them straight into the wash. Because, just in case you wondered? We are not being given hospital uniforms in the pandemic. We still have to bring our own scrubs, take them home, and launder them ourselves.

The public starts getting tired of the mask-mandate. In the beginning they were all on our side, but now we see the odd person getting salty when we remind them of the mask policy. "Covid is no worse than the flu" is starting to pop up. We will grow to loathe this sentence. 
Because it catches like the clap in a frat house. Everybody is saying it, without knowing anything about what Covid actually is like. Let me enlighten you.   

The biggest problem about Covid is that until now, all the public has seen are the easy cases. The neighbour who got it but "didn't feel worse than having a cold", the asymptomatic friend who "felt totally fine, dude", the random Facebook person who claims they "had it real bad" but recovered just fine. 

You have no idea what happens behind the closed doors of the ICU.
Here's what it looks like to us insiders:
A 39-year old formerly healthy patient who had to be put into a medically induced coma in order to survive. 
Patients who have such intense pain with every breath they take, it feels"like a thousand bees are stinging the insides of my lungs".
Patients who are begging their nurses to put them out of their misery, because they have the worst headache of their lives, they're more isolated than they've ever been due to isolation restrictions, and they have given up all hopes of ever recovering. 

Patients who have a fever so high, they feel like they're on fire.
Patients who have delirium, which makes them severely disoriented, confused and panicky.

Patients who feel like they're running a marathon while breathing through the smallest straw in the history of small straws. They cannot catch their breath, so they panic, which makes them hyperventilate, which makes them even less capable of catching their breath - until they feel like they're drowning. But they're not quite drowning, because as awful as drowning is, at least it's fast.
Covid isn't. You might be drowning for days, until you either die, or you get intubated. Which, btw, is no walk in the park either.

Here's a detailed article about what it's like to have Covid bad enough to be admitted to the ICU. I strongly believe it should be required reading for all high-school- and college-students, plus anybody who attends any sort of "freedom"-rally. 
I know that's wishful thinking, but mark my words: most of the people who attended today's rally about claiming their rights to so-called "freedom" will get infected with Covid. Most, if not all of us, will. 
It's no longer a matter of if, but when

You know the most ironic part about all this?

Covid-survivors who have spent any time in the ICU have compared it to solitary confinement
The ultimate opposite to "freedom". 

A lot of today's protesters will end up in the very hospitals where they made fun of us today. 
Mocked us. 
Even assaulted us
Some of us will have left by then. We simply couldn't take it anymore.
The rest of us will work short-staffed and highly-stressed for the 18th or so month in a row.

We will take care of you. 
We will hold your hand, hold your puke-bucket, listen to your remorseful apologies. 
We will do everything in our power to help you. 
We will care for you, we will worry about you, and we will take some of you home with us. 
We know we shouldn't, but we're only human, and we went into this profession because we cared. 
Some of you might never leave us. 

We were prepared for that. 

The thing we weren't prepared for? That you would kick us in the groin for caring about you. 
It might just break us. 

First picture taken from here
Second picture taken from here
Third picture taken from here



  1. I am wrapping you in love and support today and every day. I do not understand people who will not wear a mask or get vaccinated. I used to think they were just stupid and now I am angry with them for contributing to this terrible pandemic by keeping this virus rotating through our communities.

    1. We are facing the worst wave yet. About 2 weeks ago, we've started to see really sick Covid patients, worse than before. The majority is young and healthy - and they're all unvaccinated. Our hospitals are already full. A lot of people are going to die completely preventable deaths. They don't know it yet - but we do. It's gonna be terrible.

  2. These people have been sucked into state sponsored interference (by people outside of Canada that want to disrupt democracy). They trust some random gobbledygook off Youtube instead of their own countrymen. They’re idiots not anarchists

    1. They are - and some of them will pay with their lives for their ignorance. That's too high a price to pay, but that's the only way how some of their buddies will finally believe us.

  3. Miri I can't believe the hate going on. And I can't believe that authorities seem unfit, unwilling, or un- whatever to go against this. No one is slapped on their knuckles, fined, or locked up for any of it. It is really terrible. I wish you strength, I wish you wisdom, and a really good dose of luck. And learn some karate moves. If no one sticks up for you, fuck 'em and pummel them in the nose yourself

    1. Hahaha, I wish!
      The tragic thing about this is that a bunch of them will have to learn the hardest way that we're right - by paying with their life. We can't believe it has come to this yet here we are. It's impossible to comprehend.

    2. I just feel so shocked that police and other authorities did nothing to keep these nuts in a field somewhere, where they get no media attention whatsoever.Historically this is like the mid- 1930's, when hitler and hate took power. It is so un-canadian that these people are not hindered/ stopped/ be made very uncomfortable. Big warm hug to you Miri be strong!

  4. Miriam

    I cannot relate fully to what you feel ... it is not possible! But I do think what happened September 1st disgusting. Just as drivers that do not provide egress for emergency vehicles shock me nothing compares to organizing a protest in front of hospitals ... who would do that? Who would attend that? Seconds count and any disruption by a hospital can 'kill' someone.

    Please, please, please know that these are zombies (no better word) and most of us citizens respect what you do. We need you and your co-workers! You truly do have respect. These 'zombies' are in a minority ... vaccination statistics prove it.

    Stay strong, stay dedicated, and stay safe!

    Thank you!


    1. Hi John, thank you so much for your support. We know that most people are decent and do everything to help end this pandemic.
      Unfortunately, the minority was very loud, aggressive and inappropriate last week, impossible to ignore and such a kick in the stomach. They will learn in time how dangerous the virus is, but for some it will be too late.

      Thank you so much!

  5. (Incidentally, the percentage of unvaccinated patients in Toronto hospitals is 98.7%. A coincidence, I'm sure.) Please provide the link where you got this information from. I clicked on the link you provided - nothing. I went to Toronto Public Health's website - nothing.



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