For the next few months, all my patients will be over 18. I haven’t even started this new job and already I miss the people I usually see: my exasperating, infuriating, inspiring and exhilarating teenage patients.

I miss watching the shows they love with them, eating popcorn, playing pool and baking cookies. I miss the looks on their faces when I try something that they think is inadvisable for “a person who is older and in a skirt”.

“You know, Dr. Beck, it scares people when you do that. Do you think it’s reasonable to go around scaring people?”

I miss answering: “There’s a question we all need to ask ourselves at times…”

I really miss the look I get in return for answering people back with their own words.

The inpatient unit where I usually work is being prepared for another purpose and the beautiful artwork and poetry has been removed from the walls and the bulletin boards. Nothing captures the idealism of youth like poetry and artwork. Nothing captures the despair of youth like artwork and poetry.

I will miss the poetry and artwork.

The best thing about being a psychiatrist for youth is that many of my patients have grown up happy and successful. They’ve become nurses and lawyers and writers and doctors. Some of them are now parents. They are the people they promised to be in their poems and artwork.

I know how hard each of my patients has worked to be well. I have been the person who held open the doors they had to walk through to reach their lives.

For the next few months, however, I look forward to meeting older people.

I hope some of them like popcorn and pool and cookies.

(This is the new corridor – no artwork and no poetry…for now..)

8 thoughts on “My COVID-19 Journal – Day 23

  1. esther templin says:

    This blog brought tears to my eyes. You are an angel Dr. Gail Beck.

    1. drgailbeck says:

      Thank you for reading this, Esther – you stay well down there in Florida.

  2. Cassandra says:

    The adults you will work with will be just as lucky as the teens who you usually work with. You will help them remember who they want to be, encourage them to make new artwork and poems and reconnect with themselves.
    And I betcha they will love playing pool, and eating popcorn and cookies with you.

    1. drgailbeck says:

      Thank you, Cassandra, for reading this and for your comment. It means a lot to me. Please stay safe and keep well.

  3. Christine says:

    I hope that you will be able to inspire the older patients to fill those walls just as had the teenagers, with images of hope, words of wisdom or fear or worry or whatever is in their hearts at the time they are there. I know how lucky those older people will be to have you there, to walk alongside them, make sure they are cared for, and feel heard. You are as always … an inspiration, and that will be felt by your new older patients.

    Sending love,

    1. drgailbeck says:

      We need everyone now to turn to the poetry we can all write, the songs we can all sing and the art that is in each of us. Thank you, Christine, for reading and commenting.

  4. Joanne Bezzubetz says:

    Hi Gail. You are so courageous. I am grieving for your loss. I am so sorry about our circumstances but so grateful to you and others for your compassion. J

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. drgailbeck says:

      Joanne, thank you for giving me an opportunity to do the work I love and thank you for reading this journal so diligently. It means a great deal to me.

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