On April 22, 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic, the last place I wanted to be was in a hospital. However, I did not have a choice.
Having had a syncope episode in the middle of the night and a second one right outside the dining room in Villa Notre Dame during breakfast, I was dressed in a Johnnie coat, a bathrobe, put into an ambulance and taken to Norwalk Hospital. I went kicking and screaming which translates crying.
My attitude changed greatly when I entered the large emergency room. All around me were doctors, nurses, and aides garbed in personal protective equipment. These were the frontline healthcare responders I pray for daily. I had penetrated the frontline of healthcare in this hospital.
After two EKG tests, I had emergency surgery and a pacemaker was implanted in my chest. The doctor discharged me the next day, but before that happened, many people from various countries cared for me. They were working twelve-plus hour shifts and were attentive, efficient, and kind while battling a deadly virus.
Because I traveled to different floors for tests and care, I had the privilege of seeing how the workers treated each other in this time of crisis. They were kind, gentle, and supportive. It warmed my heart to see them treat each other with the same care and kindness they treated me. While in the hospital for this short stay, I made it a point to thank each worker I met or passed in the hallway.
From the time I entered the hospital, instead of being afraid of the hospital setting where seven Covid-19 patients died that day, I had the honor of penetrating the frontline of healthcare workers and experiencing what they do firsthand. They are heroes to their patients in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. After a discharge to VND, our own frontline healthcare heroes, who are family to me, continued my care.
~Sister Eileen Denny, SSND