being a 'hero' has it's price
Mon Apr 26 2021
Have worked in long term care my whole career (7 years) fresh out of nursing school at age 25. I loved my job as an RN. Even when I worked nights for a year and a half (before the pandemic) I loved it. But this last year has been hell on earth. My home has been lucky enough to not have any resident cases (4 outbreaks due to staff testing positive) but hearing stories from other homes gave me nightmares for months. Almost like I have some form of survivors guilt. I'm still scared shitless even though all residents are vaccinated and healthy (2/3rds of staff, that's a different story). Spending a better part of a year knowing that the home could turn into a war zone at any minute with minimal staff wreaked me. Knowing that my fellow nursing school friends are in ICUs working in those same conditions now, breaks me. I've cried every day for the last month, sometimes more than 3 times in a single day. I never have any energy to do anything. I go outside for exercise every now and then but never brings me joy. I'm never rested after I sleep or have time off.
Even though I'm vaccinated the loneliness is killing me. Friends and family aren't so I still keep my distance. I'm sick and tired of zoom/phone call therapy sessions. I live alone and I'm touch starved. Grandfather passed away a month ago (not COVID), of which I'm the namesake, and I never got to say goodbye. After the first wave people stopped checking in on me even though I constantly ask them to. I'm touch-starved.
I have no empathy left. I'm drained of compassion. I'm apathetic. Complacent. Cognitive thought has lost all steam, critical thinking is a thing of the past. I feel like I'm more of a danger/liability at this point.
I no longer skip down the halls of my workplace or dance for my residents to put smiles on their faces. My favorite coworkers have left for other jobs and I have no more 'work-wives'. Third wave has me defeated and angered. White flag. Done.
Ya. I did my job in the last year. I kept people safe. I am proud of that. Sure, call me a "hero".
But the price I paid was everything that I am/was.
All that is left is a shell of who I used to be.
I miss him.
I curse the day I decided this career path.