Tired doesn’t even begin to describe it, actually. Exhaustion. Weariness. A deep, gut-wrenching physical ache that fogs my brain and fills my body with despair. I can feel the ache arise somewhere in the vicinity of my stomach, worm its way past my heart, and drive deep into my forehead. I close my eyes and imagine the bliss of sleep.
I’m so tired.
I first heard about COVID-19 in January. My husband, a fellow physician, read to me about it from a news article. On the third day in a row as he read aloud about the epidemic, I asked him to stop. It was hard to appreciate his daily updates when all I wanted to do was throw up due to the severe morning sickness I was experiencing in my first trimester of pregnancy. After all, it was just in China, right? Too far away to worry about.
“The delivery of a human being is a truly precious miracle–however, labor can be a long and tedious process. Patients and caregivers alike, during this often difficult journey, will frequent the labor lounge of our labor-and-delivery ward and soak in these stunning views. Sunset was always my favorite, and gave me that final burst of energy while going into a long night of laboring with my patients.”
6:00 am. Husband feeds the baby, I wake up the three-year-old.
6:15 am. Feed the kids breakfast, pack lunches, get the kids in the minivan.
About the artist:
Jessica Faraci is a family physician who treasures her family, her patients, writing and creativity. She had identical twin girls while in residency.
About the artwork:
“Caring for newborns and giving phototherapy was just part of my job as a physician. But when it was my own little girl–suffering from jaundice as a result of twin transfusion and polycythemia (an excess of red blood cells)–phototherapy took on a whole new meaning. This is what intensive phototherapy in a neonatal isolette looks like. It was terrifying to see as a parent.”
I give her my sympathy: my self-control and dignity as I listen to her story of how her ear has been hurting for one day and she just can’t take the pain anymore.
I give him my patience: my knowledge and my experience as I put together the puzzle of his complex, nine-month hospital admission in a fifteen-minute acute visit.
I give her my compassion: as I politely but firmly tell her that I am not willing to prescribe chronic opiates for her fibromyalgia and depression.