by Ann Marie Swann '91
In some ways, this has felt like the longest year, but at the same time, it has been hard to tell. The passing of time was not marked by typical milestones: there was no graduation, no summer trips, no fall weekends traveling to soccer games or cross country meets. Holidays came and went with little or no fanfare.
Working as a hospitalist can be a bit of a grind: week-long stretches of 10-12 hour shifts, high stress, high acuity patients, emotional and physical exhaustion, no wiggle room to have a "bad" day given the stakes. COVID just piled on top of this baseline. For the first time in my career, I was worried that my work was bringing unprecedented health risks to my family as I was caring for COVID+ patients. But, you keep moving forward, put that stress on the back burner, otherwise it will quickly become overwhelming. Then came December, and the first FDA approved vaccines. The day I received my initial dose I felt such an intense sense of relief! Funny how you don't realize the weight you are carrying until some of that load is lifted.
As I continue to care for COVID patients in the hospital, I am acutely aware that this pandemic is not over yet. But, with the promise of improving vaccine supply, there is an end in sight. So hang on everyone! In the meantime, keep up the masking, social distancing, and hand washing. And get vaccinated when it is your turn. We are so close!
P.S. I still love my job.
During the past year, we invited alumni to share reflections as they faced Covid-19 early on through their professional occupations. A year later, they look back and reflect on lessons learned. Find and read Ann Marie's original 'Ephs on the frontlines' submission.