Artwork by https://lindsaymound.com/
The volume of COVID related news and information is overwhelming. There is 24/7 coverage on TV, Twitter and social media. Important medical information is being shared in real-time across the globe on lessons learned caring for these critically ill patients. And the images and stories are gut wrenching and anxiety provoking.
As I wrote in my last piece, sometimes it is mentally easier just to allow the sheer volume and intensity of all these voices turn into a kind of softer white noise.
I have written in the past about a podcast called the Nocturnists, started a few years ago by Dr. Emily Silverman, a hospitalist in San Francisco. I had the privilege of sharing a story on the live-stage a few months ago (feels like another lifetime). That story, “Beyond the ABC’s” (link to player is also at bottom of page) about my night as a Sr. Resident on call for the MICU and needing to ask for help, was followed by a brief interview on the culture of residency training.
I find the topic of asking for help a little prescient, as physicians and health care workers culturally are not used to reaching out when in need. Something we all are going to go through in the coming months.
Emily and the Nocturnists have seen and felt the need for people during this pandemic to have an outlet to express as well as listen to the unique voices and share their experiences during these dystopian times. There are now over 150 health care workers, scientists, patients, and those involved in the medical supply chain who are doing just that; recording and sharing their stories. To help us all know we are not in this alone. To help break through the white noise.
The new series is called Stories from a Pandemic. This is a work in progress with plans for an interactive map with links to audio and video clips. I had started submitting video clips in anticipation of a week of ICU coverage. That week changed to one night as I had to put things on hold. But I have continued to share my thoughts and feel honored to be part of this project.
So, if you have some free time these days and want to hear real voices on the front lines to help break through all the noise, give the Nocturnists a listen. You will feel less alone.
I just read your story in the WP, and wanted to drop a note to you wish you well. You struck cord with me, as my 31 year old daughter in law is trudging out everyday as a pharmacist while battling stage 4 breast cancer. It’s a surreal world right now. Dizzying and absolutely mind blowing. I will keep you and your family in My thoughts as you and my Amanda go out and face cancer and Covid. We need you guys.
Thank you for writing your story.
(Amanda is under the care of Johns Hopkins).
Robyn, thank you for reaching out and sharing Amanda’s story. Amazing and brave of her to go out and help take care and protect others during this pandemic while coping and managing her own health issues. And Hopkins is definitely one of those places that rises above in how they advocate and care for their patients. I’m sure the doctors there are serving Amanda well. Wishing you and your family continuing healthy and safety!
When I saw your name as author of yesterday’s Washington Post article my heart skipped a beat. And after reading your piece I can only send you my sincerest wishes for good days ahead. Last July 8, you delivered the most shattering message a mother could hear: your son is probably not going to be able to survive his body’s assault on itself. But your kindness and compassion and understanding have been with me since that day. I will never be able to adequately thank you for the way in which you delivered the sad news. I knew it was true and that continuing efforts were of no use. In fact, Sean did die the following day, finally at peace after eight weeks in ICU.