Today I closed the inpatient program in my department. The patients were discharged, their rooms are being cleaned and the nurses were sent to other programs.
What was once a busy place with teenagers and music blaring, the television on and people making popcorn is now a shell of its former staff. Some doors still have youths’ names on the portals, and a list of their preferred pronouns, but the doors are locked and everyone is gone.
I didn’t get empty nest syndrome when my children left home, but I have it now. I feel as if I’ve lost a vital part of myself and I am not sure what is going to happen.
I am on hold.
I want to know, now that I’ve discharged everyone, what happens next in this place. No one can answer me, or my team. They say: “We’re still working that out.” It sounds a lot like: “Let me connect you with the person who can answer that question”.
That’s us. On hold.
On hold, walking around this lovely, empty space, once so full of life, wondering whose life will we serve now? Who are the next people who will come to this place, hoping for help? Will they want wake-up music or movies or popcorn? Will they use the Wii? Will I be their doctor? Will you be their nurse?
We know extra beds will be needed as the numbers of patients sick with COVID-19 grow and mental health patients will be moved to this hospital.
But it feels like the day you close the cottage for the season. You have a cup of tea, one last look all around and then you leave, making sure the doors are locked and the lights are off.
And you can’t wait to get back.
(Note: When will I make virus cookies for flu shot day?)