Pandemic, Life and Love through the eye of an ER doc

Mayo 20 — 2020 | Bromont, Québec

A note from Geneviève

 

Hello World, 

My name is Geneviève. I am a Juliana Bicycles Free Agent and live in beautiful Bromont, Québec, Eastern Canada. I am also an emergency physician and have been for the past 10 years.

As you all know, the last little while has certainly been hectic in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. At work, it has been stressful, scary, and sad, but also uplifting and encouraging in some ways. Here are a few thoughts about my experience as a doctor, and also a little inspiration to hold on to during this unprecedented time.

Where are we heading? When will I be allowed to go out for dinner with my friends and family? When will it be possible to have a beer on a patio? Are we ever going to go visit our friends in Italy again? Are we going to have a bike trip in British Columbia? Is my holiday to Arizona something I can still look forward to? Are we going to be able to go where we want to bike, where we want to split board and when we want to? 

 

What is actually important?

Why do we do what we do? 

Now is a good time to reflect...

 

Even though I have been put through some tremendous stress at work in my life, the Covid-19 situation has been definitely one of kind - one we could not prepare perfectly for or even imagine. Being out of my comfort zone is routine as an ER doc. Resuscitating dying kids under their parent's eyes, cracking up open a chest to release blood from a heart sac, putting respiratory patients on ventilators... Things can get pretty serious in the emergency room.  But most of the time, my own life is not at stake. These days, the risk feels very present and real. Every step of the preparation to evaluate a potential Covid patient is crucial; I need to avoid infecting myself, my colleagues, other patients, and even my family. The consequences are tangible and the weight of the responsibilities, heavy... Personally, but socially, too.

So far, I have witnessed horror but also a tremendous amount of love and beauty. I have seen dying elders, alone, without their family, but luckily surrounded by empathetic nurses and care aids to compensate for this absence of support. I have seen deteriorating healthy adults saying goodnight to their wives before they get put on the ventilator, but being reassured by doctors and nurses that promised him (and really wished and believed it in their heart) he would wake up. I have held the hands of many patients that were suspected to have the awful disease and helped them to manage their panic attacks because they were scared to death.

Friends dropping PPE and protective glasses on my balcony. Engineer friends making us 3D printed visors. People absolutely wanting to give me some N95 masks to make sure I am protected.

I have been surrounded, since the start of the crisis, by brave, strong, battlefield ready, and very dedicated health professionals. People have put their strength together to make it through this unprecedented world crisis. I’ve seen the beauty and the courage of people that were hiding it before. For that reason, it has become somewhat of a beautiful time for people to show their quiet, hidden powers and how real this situation is. To me, despite all the tragedy that befalls humanity, the actions and sacrifices of the healthcare workers around me have been like rays of sunshine bursting through dark clouds. So powerful, encouraging, and beautiful.

Another aspect of this crisis: I have been struck by the amount of generosity, love, support, care, creativity, and good initiatives in the community. People are helping others through quarantine with groceries and errands. Women cleaning trash off the ditch in a public way, kids relearning to build mini camps, play cards, and play hopscotch. Friends dropping PPE and protective glasses on my balcony. Engineer friends making us 3D printed visors. People absolutely wanting to give me some N95 masks to make sure I am protected. Local shops donating welder visors to local hospitals. Eyewear and bike companies switching production to restore the needs due to the crisis. Restaurant feeding hospital staff for free. Friends and family sending love, prayers, and courage through texts and letters. The list goes on and on…

Overall, I have felt surprisingly encouraged by my community and how people have been reacting to the crisis.

BUT, as an adrenaline-driven person (if you haven’t noticed yet!) I am still dreaming and hoping I can go away on my seasonal trips and adventures, and shred my bike all over the world. Why? Because it makes me alive. It makes me who I am as a person, It makes me discover parts of the world in their most genuine ways and makes me meet the most beautiful mountain people in many countries. Selfishly, yes, I thrive for it and it makes me balanced and allows me to sustain a whole different level of stress in my daily job…

But, at this time of reflection, I’ve realized that I was perhaps sometimes running away from life pain and difficulties through my adventures. Luckily, this situation has helped me become more grounded. I have found more simple ways to cope with the new realities and stress level in my job. It has helped me realize how all of what we have and do should not be taken for granted and how thankful and grateful we must remain, every day, for where we are, who we are and where we live.  It has helped me realize that developing strength and patience to work through an obstacle is a gift and leads to a life even more filled with love and grace.

A little adventure break is also great for our loved mother earth.

Overall, there are so many positives to what is going on in the world.

 

More love!

Sincerely,

Gen

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