A close family member is a nurse at a long-term public health care facility. Before the pandemic hit, he was near burnout due to staff shortages and unrealistic workload. Requests for extra help, of course, fell on deaf ears.
In March, he managed to find the wherewithal to meet the extra expectations when lockdowns hit and the staff situation grew even worse. When his coworkers talked of leaving, or taking time off, he urged them to be courageous, do the work that was expected of them.
To suit up, show up, and do the job.
That was his mantra and it got him through the summer. But not unscathed. He crashed. He went on medically sanctioned leave.
Then, feeling refreshed and optimistic, he returned to work. At this point, the second wave had arrived.
His optimism lasted one day. Maybe two.
He’s still at work, coping as best as he can. He takes sick days, but since his allotment of paid time off has been used up, it’s costing him. In more ways than financial.
And yes, he has an appointment to see his doctor.
Now I want you to imagine that you are this nurse, barely holding onto your mental and physical health because of work-related stress, and you are reading a Christmas greeting from the top administrator of the regional public health unit.
This is the same public health unit that hired additional staff to help early in the week, and then withdrew that help, citing fiscal restraint. When asked why the about face, they acknowledged the extreme workload, and the fact that it is getting worse. However, they have no money for extra staff. They hope things will improve in 2022.
Back to the card.
The text is white on a festive black background. Seasonally appropriate lettering runs up the side and says, THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT YOU DO!
The message reads:
This past year, we came together like never before to overcome a challenge like none other. We were there for each other through thick and thin, building each other up through encouragement and empathy. We kept on providing the services our residents rely on.
We made real sacrifices to fight this virus and protect our community. We showed what Regional staff are made of, and proven why our work is so important.
That’s what it means to radiate pure awesome.
Thank you for all that you’ve done, and continue to do for our community.
Best wishes to you and your loved ones for a safe and happy holiday season.
Well, wasn’t that nice? That oughta be more than enough encouragement to bolster a flagging spirit, doncha think? To be fed a line of BS and to be told that you radiate pure awesome?
The card and the sentiment behind it is seasonally appropriate, but the message is unbelievably tone deaf.
I am furious, but it’s the impotent kind of anger.
Then I think, well, wait a sec, remember that saying? “Not my circus, not my monkeys.”
If there was ever a more effective code to live by, I cannot think of it. The saying is a great road map to navigating around the pitfalls of other people’s problems.
But what happens when someone IS your monkey? And he’s in a circus of nightmarish proportions. And you STILL find that the three-ring shitshow is beyond your realm of influence?
Post Script January 6, 2021
The CEO of Ontario’s St. Joseph’s Health System and Niagara Health vacationed in the Caribbean over the holidays despite government advisories to stay home as the number of COVID-19 cases soared across the province.
Dr. Tom Stewart, who sat on a number of health advisory boards, including a COVID-19 panel that advises Premier Doug Ford, resigned from those groups Tuesday after news of his trip to the Dominican Republic was made public.
The COVID-19 advisory panel Stewart sat on consists of scientific experts and health leaders who evaluate and report on emerging evidence relevant to the pandemic, to inform Ontario’s response.
In a statement, Stewart apologized for taking the trip.
“I regret this non-essential travel and I’m sorry,” Stewart’s statement said. “Everyone should be avoiding non-essential travel now, including me.”
Guess who’s radiating pure awesome now?
PPS January 7, 2021 – he was fired.