Tuesday night my dad called and said we needed to take my mother to the Emergency Room. She was so weak she couldn’t get up from a chair or stand on her feet. I hurried over to Hubbard Hill and gathered my parents in the car and headed for Elkhart General. When we arrived at the ER, I was worried. The waiting room was packed – only one chair left, and we were in a line waiting to get checked in. We waited 30 minutes to reach the front of the line and by this time, the line behind us was out the door. Fortunately for mom, they realized immediately that something was seriously wrong and took her right back to triage. There they discovered she had a very high fever, and we were ushered to one of the very few ER rooms left. The staff also immediately sent my dad home once they realized a 91 year old man was sitting in a room full of sick people waiting for results on his wife. (I stayed with my mother who, by the way, is much improved and expected perhaps in a day or two.)
I want to tell you that the staff at our city hospital have been terrific. They have been kind, patient and attentive to my mother while trying to manage an overcrowded ER. There were no beds on the nursing floors available for my mother until today (48 hours after our arrival.) In the meantime, they have cared for her while attending to other emergencies and more patients than there were beds. Last night the patients were sleeping on gurneys in the hallways. I have also noted that the medical staff in the ER take the concern about Covid very seriously. They wear N95 masks, double masks, masks coupled with face shields and sometimes masks covered with those space like helmets with the oxygen tubes down the back. I haven’t seen anyone with a mask under their nose or around their chin.
For many of us Covid seems a bit unreal when the sun is shining and there is hardly a mask in sight in our businesses around Elkhart. If you want to see the real toll of Covid in our town, you should stop by the ER and see the courage, compassion, dedication and weariness of our front line medical workers. We called them heroes early on in the pandemic. They are heroes still, even when we are too tired of the pandemic to notice they are still fighting this deadly microscopic enemy in one patient at a time.
Here’s a scripture for the medical staff at our hospitals:
Do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Is. 41: 10)
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