Final 4:39pm | APRIL 19, 2020
The Imposter of COVID-19.
I lay in bed on this beautiful Sunday morning telling myself I should be outside with my daughter.
I have so little time with her as it is.
I can hear her laughing as daddy builds the new water table I bought last week. I give gifts to show that I love￼ her.
But Heather doesn’t understand that.
All she sees is daddy playing with her in it. To a three year old this is love.
I can’t get out of bed.
I am too tired from mourning the life I once knew.
The life of a doctor before COVID-19.
Neighbors walk by, friends send texts, the media states over and over “thank you doctor, thank you for serving on the front line.”
But I now know ￼there is a vast difference between the “front line” and the “front-front line.”
My “front line” is quite simply this… ￼I sit day after day alone in my office and FaceTime my patients- desperately trying to manage issues that only one month ago required extensive face-to-face visits.
I FaceTime my patients and watch them cough and sweat and shake and cry and struggle while begging me “can’t you do anything to help?”
I cannot. ￼￼
And then ￼twice, perhaps three times a day, I dress myself in head to toe hazmat gear to care for patients whose clinical condition can no longer be managed over the phone.
Those times, I am so very afraid.
How do I still “put patients first” when their very presence￼ fills me with dread?
This is unmanageable.
My “front-front line” is quite simply this… I wait.
I wait for a few more of my colleagues to fall sick and/or (how can this even be real) die. So that once there are too few to serve, the hospital powers that be will telephone to say “Dr. Gamble it’s time. We need your help on the “front-front line.”
I am paralyzed.
I am powerless.
I am scared.
I do not want to die.
I don’t want my daughter growing up without remembering who I was.
Or maybe she would only have memories of a mother who wouldn’t hug her until she had showered “the virus” away.
If I am lucky, perhaps she will recall how we would lay in bed at night to read a few short stories and sing Disney songs until one of us fell asleep… If I die now, she will never remember my face. ￼
And yet (and yet), in the ugly and intubated face of my COVID-19 fear- I will help, I will not give up and I will never ever walk away. I will have courage for those patients who cannot. ￼
Heathers laughter drifts through my bedroom window, saying “Mommy come play with us.”
That little voice is so much more important than my COVID-19 fear.
So I kick off the covers and place both feet on the floor.
Before standing I man-up and reach over to check my phone.
There are no missed calls from the hospital and no desperate emails stating “it’s time.”
I am a doctor who is nothing more than human in the time of COVID-19.
About Dr. Sarah M. Gamble
Dr. Sarah Mildred Gamble obtained her Medical Degree in Osteopathic Medicine from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in 2004. She completed her residency training in Internal Medicine at the Westchester County Medical Center in Valhalla, New York.
She currently serves on the Board of the federal NFP organization, Friends in Africa through which she and a team of volunteers have traveled to Senegal and Kenya to provide free medical and dental care since 2003. She also assists The Stamford Hospital Foundation Board raising awareness and funds for the healthcare needs of our local underserved population and, volunteers her services twice a month at the AmeriCares Free Clinic located in South Norwalk, CT.
About Our Practice
Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) are trained Medical Doctors who practice an “integrated whole person” approach. Merging their knowledge of anatomy and physiology, DOs recognize that, because all of our bodies’ systems are interconnected, if illness or injury is present in one part of the body, it is likely impacting other parts of the body as well.
Learn More, visit: https://greenwichpuremedical.com/
Categories: National Headlines