The Covid 19 pandemic has presented challenges on multiple levels to Evergreen staff. Some of this reflects the virus and much results from the prescribed response to the virus. The experience of pain as imparted to our patients and community is blended and difficult to separate. Although we didn’t start this fire, we feel the heat.
How can Evergreen defend unavailability of vaccines for our most susceptible population? Or the priorities of strategy for vaccine dissemination mandated at the State level, but left to us to execute? What is our answer for disadvantaged and vulnerable children unable to attend school? The isolation of seniors? How do we interface with the growing frustration of our community arising from lockdowns and restrictions? How can we assuage exaggerated fears stoked by constant media focus on Covid case numbers? What is our role in restoring perspective and hope?
There is another response to consider in addressing this challenge. It is our own. Contrary to what some may say, crisis does not build character. It reveals it. The first step is to acknowledge the nature of the brokenness and recognize our role where healing is possible.
It is in that very brokenness, whether of the person or the system that is our open door to help. It’s how the light gets in. If everything worked perfectly, there would be no need of us. It is when we, as a medical group, bring hope and healing to our hurting community that we become relevant. We earn that trust, that open door.
Health care is sacred space. Sometimes, what is needed is clear. We give penicillin for strep throat, Lasix for congestive heart failure, chemotherapy for cancer. But these are times our response is less precise. Science and technology take us only so far. Now is a need for human connection. Human presence and compassion heal the area medicine cannot touch.
There are no words to express the abyss between isolation and having one ally. Healing begins with the willingness to be that one.
It is in painful life circumstances that will not be modified, perhaps even death, that the physician must give of themselves. The discernment and willingness to share of one’s own spirit is what separates a physician from a provider, an artist from a mechanic. The challenge is to have something worthwhile to give - something true, something relevant, something that can bring peace to a troubled and broken spirit.
It is how our character is revealed.