Twas about this time last year that I came out of retirement to help out at our local COVID-19 testing clinic. I ended up working there for a total of 3 months. By that time, Australian COVID-19 numbers were tapering off and business at the clinic was slow.
I figured that was my curtain call and settled back to enjoy the retired life once more.
Sadly, it seems the Australian government has completely dropped the COVID-19 ball.
And so, here we are.
And where we are is one steaming COVID mess. The Australian Governments’ response during (what we now realise was) the eye of the storm was not proactive, nor was it effective. This is clear in the way things are now unfolding.
In the next few weeks, as case numbers climb, our health system will be placed under unprecedented stress.
The idea of a public health system reaching a point of systemic failure is unthinkable. And most assume it would never actually happen.
The public are always reassured that our hospitals will always be there to give them safe and appropriate care if it is required.
It is and will always cope they are told.
This is a lie.
Every system has a failure point.
Thanks to the incredible (and largely hidden) work performed by health care workers & the supporting teams, hospitals present a more robust and resilient system than most.
Moreover, it has the load-bearing capability of surgical steel and the workload elasticity of hot mozzarella cheese.
Yet, these supernatural properties come at high personal cost for those serving within its walls:
Question: why do we not hear more about PTSD in healthcare workers?
Answer: because they never actually get to the post part.
Now, over the next few months, we find ourselves at a place of a not insignificant possibility we will experience what failure of a health system actually looks like.
I pray this is not the case.
Along with many of my friends who are also retired, I am pulling my scrubs out of the back corner of my closets and heading back to help out the best I can.
Next week I will be starting work in one of our COVID vaccination centres. I really feel I should do more, but I just don’t think I have it in me to go back to do clinical bedside work.
My nurse switch long rusted in the OFF position.
I expect it will be busy but enjoyable work. I expect it will be rewarding. I expect it to be one million and infinity times easier than the work being done by my colleagues in Australian Emergency Departments, Intensive Care Units and Rural & Remote clinics.
Now if you will excuse me I have quite a few revisionary education packages to complete before I start.
Um….its the pointy end that goes in the arm right?
Featured image by Mika Baumeister