Wow, this week. I feel very lucky to be doing okay in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. When I stocked up on food and water last weekend, I felt like I was being overcautious. Even when Mayor Bloomberg announced a subway shutdown for Sunday, a lot of people I knew didn’t think it would be a big deal, but yeah…
Working at the hospital this week has been humbling and, yes, inspiring—I was nervous on my way in Monday morning, but my mood quickly shifted. I just wanted to help where I was needed, whether that was serving meals to staff or seeing other people’s patients or whatever random task needed doing. Aside from having fewer staff members, we also took in a lot of patients that had been evacuated from other hospitals in the area, so things were extra-busy. It was also pretty amazing to see everyone dive in to keep it all afloat.
I don’t know exactly how this happened, but I found myself acting—and feeling— exceedingly cheerful. Sure, my mouth hurt from smiling by the end of each day, but it felt good to spread some positive energy to balance out the chaos as we were, like, running out of food and dealing with a situation outside that was much bigger than us.
On a different note, I do have to admit that serving staff meals was a great chance to scope out the eye candy at the hospital and say hello. It was kind of nice that when I went back up to the patient floors people were saying hi and being friendly. I had some really nice conversations with people I’d never have had a chance to talk to otherwise. We’re all so rushed during the day, it’s not always easy to get to know the people you work with, especially when you’re rotating to different parts of the hospital every few weeks.
Also, a major upside to the time in clinical was that it made everything seem a little more normal, business as usual instead of thinking about the devastation around the region. I heard some pretty crazy stories from patients and staff about how they’d been affected by the storm.
Halloween was interesting, since I spent most of it in Pediatrics. Lots of staff members were in costume. One of my favorite moments of the day was when I was charting on the 8th floor, and two MD’s dressed as Thing 1 and Thing 2 sat down—one on each side of me. None of us acknowledged that they were in big blue wigs.
The epic bus ride home was one of the more surreal experiences I’ve ever had, and not just because half the passengers were in costume. It was a long trip and absurdly crowded and, at one point, the driver parked and left. It was ten minutes before another driver got on. I found myself laughing because it was all just so ridiculous. Needless to say, I’m thankful to be able to take the subway in tomorrow.
If someone had told me when I started my internship back in February that I’d be part of a “Disaster Plan” crew, I’d have been freaking terrified! At the beginning of last November, I had a feeling I’d look back on the coming year as a transformative one—way to exceed my expectations, universe. It’s interesting that a major weather event like a hurricane should be the thing to bring into focus how far I’ve come in various aspects of my life, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. More important than that is how much I have to be grateful for—”thank you” is one of those phrases that probably needs to be said more often.