To the editor:
When the headlines were announced last week that the state was entering Phase 3 of reopening, my reaction was not the one I had imagined. Instead I am filled with dread.
I recently returned to work after three weeks off for severe anxiety, something I have never experienced before. As director of Spiritual Care at North Shore Medical Center, witnessing trauma and death is not new to me. But the COVID-19 crisis brought suffering that the medical team and I were not prepared for.
Without families at the bedside to support loved ones, we have cared for the most complex of physical and emotional needs, using iPads and messages to provide vital connection between patients and their families. In many cases, we have been the sole in-person contact for patients, holding their hands through fear, struggle and sometimes, death. Meanwhile, our caregivers are making sacrifices of their own.
Returning to the intensive care unit last week, fear has gripped me again as I see the virus surging around our country. I dread another round of the pain it inflicts on those around me.
We have received such wonderful support from our community these past months. Today, we need you to be the heroes, and keep this virus at bay. Keep social distancing, wear your masks and follow recommendations. We need to keep from going back onto those front lines again.
Director of Spiritual Care
North Shore Medical Center