From Us to You: In honor and memory of the COVID-19 patients
EDITOR’S NOTE: On March 31, the staff at McLeod Health Cheraw honored the memory of patients lost to COVID-19 over the past year during a special luminary remembrance ceremony. During the ceremony, Becky Harvey, a registered nurse in the intensive care unit, shared a letter she wrote that reflects what she learned while serving the community through the year of COVID-19. With permission we now share her letter with our readers.
It has been a long year for our hospital employees. Reflecting back, I think about how we all came together. Our sleeves pulled up, plans were made and failed, revised and improved. Despite fears of the unknown, not only for our family but for our nation, we started down a path that had never been trod. One year after our first COVID-19 patients were diagnosed, we still remain on this path. That path has been beaten, stretched and rerouted many times. Our staff has become so much more than medical professionals.
We are coaches, cheerleaders, friends, and empaths. Our patients have become so much more than a name or diagnosis. They are family. Their friends and family members have put their trust in us in ways that are incomprehensible. The isolation from the familiar faces of loved is the number one fear that our patients have. We, as a health care team, have worked tirelessly and compassionately in bridging that gap through phone calls and video calls. We have laughed and cried with each patient. We have learned and adapted in caring for each patient. Our path, though surely worn, has widened, and we are for the better.
Let me explain. Our patients are admitted with intense fear of death. We meet each patient and know he or she is a friend, mother, father, son, or daughter and begin our journey together to help them recover. They watch and question with so much uncertainty and also so much hope. Barriers are broken as they begin to trust us. We communicate and connect.
Their stories are told, and we listen. We bond. Our contact with the families through technology brings us all together to the point that we know the family members by name when they call. There is a unity formed between us. The gap has narrowed, but the path has widened. Our patients and their families have taught us more about patience, care, and kindness during these difficult days that have brought so much light onto our beaten path. It allows us to remain focused as we navigate the unexpected turns.
In honor and in memory of each patient, we dedicate this remembrance because our patients have not walked alone. Their lights are shining through us all.