It’s hard to believe the last time we talked was the beginning of the covid 19 pandemic. It was March and I was posting ideas to keep you occupied while you were stuck at home. Back then, if you had asked me when I figured this madness would end, I would have told you to keep your Memorial Day plans. Never ever in a million years could I have imagined what actually happened.
Every business other than grocery and box stores closed. Schools closed. Churches closed. Limits on how much chicken I could buy. Masks in public. Unemployment rates sky high. Good people who have worked hard to support their families, unable to do so any longer.
And then there was work. I was one of the “lucky” ones because I still had a job to go to, but my ICU was our own version of hell.. a war zone. Plastic gowns hung from every wall, IV poles lined the hallways, our faces developed sores from the elastic straps of our masks, staff was always short. And our patients. Our patients who also developed sores all over their face and body from laying face-down on their ventilator, in hopes to improve their breathing. Our poor patients who clung on to their life for so long, often to no avail. The zoom calls we had with family members to discuss what happens at the end of life. Our patients who came to the emergency department because they “weren’t feeling well” and died alone in a cold hospital room.
I’ve been a physician assistant in the ICU for nearly 6 years and these past few months, by far, have been the worst I’ve ever and likely ever will experience. About a month ago, I had reached about all that I could take. I was tired. Not just the kind of tired that you feel when you haven’t slept well for a few days. I was completely and utterly mentally exhausted. I lived and breathed covid. I went to work and dealt with it endlessly. I saw so many people die far too young. I came home and watched the news to hear the latest updates. I dreamt about my patients. And then I woke up from a restless night just to do the same thing all over again.
Finally around Memorial Day weekend, I had a stretch of days off from work and I had to get away. I knew nothing was open anywhere but I needed to escape the walls of my home. I needed to breath in fresh air and see the ocean. I needed to go to a place where I didn’t have a single responsibility. So I did.
Hubby and I booked a ferry to our most favorite place in the world..Nantucket. Now, I’ve never been to the island during Memorial Day weekend but, from hubby’s recollection, it’s a mob scene. Since the 1970s, the Figawi boat race from Hyannis to Nantucket is the official start to the summer and people flock to the island to celebrate. This year, however, was eerily different. The streets were empty, the shops boarded up and the silence in town was deafening. You could hear the birds chirping and the church bells ringing and the ferry horn blowing but the laughter and cheer and noise from vacationers was absent.As my heart ached for the suffering local businesses, an empty Nantucket was selfishly what I needed. The emptiness allowed me to slow down and relax.We spent the days biking, walking along the beach and off-roading as we explored parts of the island we had never seen before.
We ate every meal in the back of our Jeep, wrapped up in blankets and overlooking the ocean. And after watching the sunset each night, we laid in bed reading until we fell into a deep sleep (which never happens in hotel rooms).I found so much peace and my mind rested amongst those sandy streets.