Respiratory Department Pulls Together During ‘Snowpocalypse’
I think everyone has heard about the most recent snowstorm that hit the East Coast. Snowpocalypse, Snowmaggedon, Snownami, Snow Over It: Those were just a few named given to the epic blizzard. When we learned of a smaller snowstorm trailing the first big one, they named it, "Say it Ain't Snow." Washington, D.C., has already broken a record for all-time snowiest winter with accumulations up to 6 feet.
With all of the snow, there were so many questions here in Washington. Would the Metro still run? Could people get in and out of the city? Was there any milk and bread to be found anywhere
? (That is the traditional meal of snowstorms, right?) However, with so many uncertainties, there was one thing we all knew for sure. No one was leaving Children's National Medical Center, indefinitely.
When I got up to get ready for work that Friday night, I knew I wouldn't be coming home in the morning. There were already a few inches of snow on the ground. I stopped at CVS and bought toiletries for those who may have forgotten them or not expected to be stranded at work, and headed for the hospital.
Over the next three days, I spent a lot of time with my co-workers. Working, eating, sleeping (on cots), all in intimately close quarters. It was beyond difficult. While I believe we all remained in good spirits for the most part, we became physically and mentally fatigued as the days went by. No one was sleeping well. Everyone wanted to see their loved ones and check on their homes. I hope to never have to go through it again.
As difficult as it was, I'm proud to say that my department really pulled together and supported one another. I got to know my co-workers better and truly functioned as a team. We also had an excellent coordinator that was right there with us, making sure we had everything we needed.
So, a big thanks, congrats, hats off, good job, way to go, etc., to the entire respiratory department at Children's National Medical Center and to all health care providers everywhere that stuck it out through the storm, putting their patients above all else. Watching everyone cooperate to take care of patients and seeing the EMS and transport teams braving the elements to go out and bring patients in, really made me proud to be part of the health care profession.
The last morning of the storm there was a house fire in Washington. Three small children were found in the home. At one point, a firefighter performed CPR on two of the children at the same time. When they brought the children to our hospital, the smell of smoke engulfed the emergency room and trauma bays. It made me think twice about the jobs that first responders do. We all have our role, but going out into the unplowed roads, in 3 feet of snow, when we all just want to be at home curled up by the fire, is incredibly admirable. I wasn't warm and snuggly at home, but at least I was warm and safe in the hospital. So, also, a big thanks to all first responders!