This phase of the COVID-19 pandemic is transitioning, and so am I. In nine days, I will finish working on the temporary Surge Unit where I have spent these last ninety-seven days. It is not a moment too soon. I am tired. I have been working in the hospital from 8:00 a.m. until at least 5:00 p.m. Most days I work at home as well, on paperwork and charting. Many evenings, I have had to work at the hospital to care for patients or situations.
It is time for me to move to a different kind of work and a different kind of journal. I have written daily on weekdays for almost 100 days. These journal entries contain whatever is top of mind for those days, but they are not especially reflective and there is a need for me to look back on my posts and reflect on some that have illuminated important issues for me. I want to write in greater depth about those issues.
Other than concerns raised in the Journal itself, there have been two important writing tasks that have been propelling me these many months. I have been writing two books and I have essays percolating in my brain about topics introduced in a tweetchat I participate in every Tuesday evening.
Let me tell you first about the #hcldr blog and tweetchat. This is a link to the Healthcare Leadership Blog. The blog and tweetchat are for “people who share a passion for improving healthcare”. Over the course of the pandemic, the #hcldr tweetchat has felt like my one social gathering where I can think about the place in my life where my daily work and my consideration for how I want to provide care intersect. This community has been my intellectual support on my journey over the last ninety-seven days. I have learned so much from the chats about the topics we have covered that I want t explore them further in longer, more in-depth essays.
I am also writing two books. One is a parenting guide for parents of adolescents and young adults that I have been calling From Texting to Talking: Using Your Strengths to Communicate with Your Teen. The other is The Parents’ Guide to Marijuana. These are books I have wanted for my practice and cannot find. It’s time to get these done so they are available.
Finally, there are the topics that have arisen because of the Journal itself: the topics that were most read and most commented on, the topics I covered too briefly. The questions that I want to read about and think about include:
- Do we realize how much we still stigmatize those with mental illness?
- Are the current long term care homes really what we want – for ourselves, for our families, for our elders?
- Dying alone: why did it come to this?
- Can we manage infectious diseases with the respect they deserve without denying dignity and respect to those who have them?
- Was our old way of living – the one many want to return to – unsustainable?
To address these concerns, Day 100 will be the last of my COVID-19 Journal in its current form. I have been very encouraged by how many people have regularly read my Journal. I hope some of you will stay to watch my next projects, but I know that I am now committed to my writing and even one devoted reader will be enough audience to encourage me.
(This is an image from a Washington Post article about children’s art during the pandemic. Photo credit)