10 Emotional Stages of a Pandemic


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One comment on “10 Emotional Stages of a Pandemic
  1. Tom Fiero MD says:

    any poem

    any poem that starts with i
    or includes i in the body of it
    is inappropriate today.

    there seems to be no real i
    there is the isolation, the terror, the masks, the lack of toilet paper and paper towels
    and ventilators and N95’s
    and life
    the lack and loss of life
    sometimes quickly
    as in a few hours
    talking, smiling,
    perhaps some rapid shallow breaths,
    a few last texts to his daughter, 12, waiting at home
    and maybe a sad attempt at a joke,
    he was always a jokester, they later said , at the funeral, done virtually,
    he is taken back, and within hours, increasing dyspnea
    O2 sats falling,
    despite 6 liters of NC oxygen beneath the mask, don’t want to aerosolize the virus

    the staff, the nurses, and doc, and everyone, as few everyone’s as possible, now garbed up like some terrible space alien movie
    this is a space alien terror movie, except it’s not a damn movie
    it’s a production played out on stages across the globe
    and the reward is if you get home, whether you are the patient or the providers, the lab techs, the radiology techs , the house maintenance staff who quietly stream from room to room, hallway to hallway in a department seething with who knows what, and much of the what is lethal virus,
    the quiet silent clean up crews, moving from emptied room to emptied room, spending more time and effort in those rooms, where we knew the virus had been, and I say “hi, guys” and “thank you” more often to those, and others, than perhaps I had

    and sometimes, it isn’t so fulminant.
    65, no risk factors, had climbed Mount Kilimanjaro the year before, with his grandchildren.
    presents with diarrhea, abdominal pain, maybe a fever, a little short of breath, can’t think, concentrate in the last few days.
    a headache
    “I never get a headache, doc”.

    I have my N95 mask on, because everyone has the virus until proven otherwise, even the ankle sprain, the migraine, the motor vehicle accident, the stroke.

    and this mountain climbing grandpa, whose family, his wife (“we met at the marine base, doc, she was 18, me 21”), and kids and grandchild, Emily, are not allowed in, they can’t come in, they can chat , a bit, on their face-time, and then he goes upstairs
    and I hear the he is on the vent the next day, they are good , they are using time-controlled adaptive ventilation, and he is on the vent with proning, for three weeks, before he succumbs.

    there is no place for “i” in this poem, but I have used it a few times.

    returning to the fray in two days. not sure if I’m prepared, is anyone ever, and there is a picture above my desk, a drawing of a purple rabbit , and it sats “AR, 11/16/19” and “GRANDPA” in big letters.

    and it’s time to study some


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