Life in the Emotional Support Unit
The podcast selected covers the work of social worker Paula Abramcyzk who shared her experience of working in ICU with Covid-19 patients. She informs the listeners that people working in ICU with Covid-19 victims are working around the clock and do not get much rest, but it is not the physical exertion that is straining rather than the mental and emotional effort (Goldman, 2021). With this pandemic more often than death is a very real outcome. Whenever a patient comes in contact with the virus, he do not know if he will leave the hospital alive. The patients are scared and so are their family members. If the patients recover, their joy knows no bounds but if the patient is unlucky, their family members leave with a broken heart. In moments like these, Paula tells the listeners that she and her colleagues have to be strong for the family and be their emotional support as not properly grieving can also cause damage to health. She says that many times she had to help parents of younger children, leave a goodbye message which always breaks her heart.
With the third wave of Covid-19, things have become a lot more challenging as the moment a patient gets put on a ventilator, the patient’s family knows that their loved one will not be coming back, which is not an easy sight to see. Paula says that she had to come to terms with the fact that she cannot control the outcome but she can give them the emotional support that they need.
This episode helps shed light on the concept of hospitalization discussed in chapter 4 (LUPTON, 2012). Every patient feels extreme anxiety and depression during their time being hospitalized but with this pandemic, these emotions have heightened and affected not only the patient but also the family and social workers that have to witness the whole process. Although a hospital promises salvation, in these times everyone prays and hopes that if they wind up catching the virus, they do not end up in a hospital as it would mean that they are standing on the finish line.
Being hospitalized has never felt more dreadful than it does now. This is not to say that being hospitalized in the past was not serious but to stress upon the fact that if a patient is hospitalized now due to Covid-19, they may not come back. This ugly truth has made the thought of being hospitalized feel like a death sentence. This situation makes everyone involved feel extremely vulnerable.
Goldman, D. B. (2021, May 15). White Coat Black Art with Dr. Brian Goldman. Retrieved june 24, 2021, from CBCLISTEN: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-75-white-coat-black-art/clip/15843217-life-emotional-support-unit
LUPTON, D. (2012). MEDICINE AS CULTURE. SAGE Publications.