What Am I Even Doing

It was May 4th when I titled this blog post. When I came back to my drafts today, August 10th, nothing was written in the body. And while I’m not sure what my initial thought was when starting this post, I find it fairly applicable to how I’m feeling today. So let’s roll with it, shall we?

We have now reached what we’re considering to be the third wave of Covid, thanks to the Delta variant. Admittedly, the fact that it’s been 18 months and I’m still writing about Covid doesn’t sit well with me. Vaccine boosters? Reinstating mask mandates? I don’t know all the data. I don’t have all the answers. But what I do know is the toll it is taking on healthcare workers continues to be very real.

Our unit is back to being a full Covid IMC. Our hospital numbers have gone from 2 to 32 in what feels like overnight. Back to the PAPR. Back to clumping cares and limiting time in patient rooms. Back to fielding multiple phone calls from family members who aren’t allowed to visit. Back to wondering how bad is this actually going to get.

Except it feels different. It feels different caring for the unvaccinated, for whatever reason of their choosing. Seeing the impact of Covid in full force, wondering what part of their stay could have been prevented. It feels different caring for the vaccinated. Seeing a whole other kind of fear and despair in their eyes, wondering why them after they did everything right. It feels different knowing that we’re missing RNs and CNAs who have left our unit due to burnout from the first wave.

And then there’s the guilt. Off day guilt of not picking up. Getting 4 texts a day begging for help on the unit, knowing the hospital is operating 20 nurses short and it’s become the norm to take 5 patients in general care, half of them not having assigned CNAs. Guilt of treating myself on off days. How can I justify self care? What has over a year of massages, pedicures, sushi takeout, face masks, and coffee runs actually done for me? Is blogging going to help clear my mind? Or is it forcing me to think about work on my off days? Am I a hypocrite for traveling, fully vaccinated and taking all precautions, to a fully vaccinated friend’s house in another state? Per CDC I’m okay to travel, but does anyone really know? Trusting science and having faith in other travelers only calms my anxieties so far.

I’ve resorted to filling out our hospital wellness’s “Covid Anxiety Packet” to see if writing out my feelings would provide any charity. To my surprise, having terms to identify how I’m feeling actually provided some comfort. Seeing my feelings on paper under definitions of “hypothetical worry” and “catastrophizing thought process” was almost validating. Same with a circle on a page that asked me to place things I could control inside the circle and things I couldn’t control outside of the circle. Oddly enough having it written out in black and white provided clarity.

I’m not really sure of the point of this post. Or who it might resonate with. But, as the reason I started this blog in the first place, writing this in sort of a brain-dump, word-vomit type fashion was helpful in itself. So, I guess, until next time?

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