Dana Guyer is a Palliative Care physician at R.I. Hospital and the Lifespan Cancer Institute. She has found that working during the pandemic has been professionally challenging and stressful. Simple changes, like the full PPE-an N-95 mask and face shield- have negatively affected patient interactions, but there are bigger challenges as well, including the fact that patients are not allowed to have their caregivers with them. This isolates patients from their loved ones, which is both sad and makes having meaningful conversations much harder. It is heart-breaking when a patient’s relative says, “what do you mean I can’t come in”.
On a more significant note, the actual work of caring for patients with severe covid disease has been very difficult. As a palliative care physician, Dana has a comfort level and regular interaction with death and dying. But this year has been over the top! She has witnessed many patients dying from Covid, and it feels awful!
Dana believes she is doing important work, and in normal times loves her job, but the strain of being a healthcare worker during the pandemic has been overwhelming. At the end of each day, she’s tired both physically and emotionally, but she feels lucky to have great colleagues and friends, who support her during this difficult time.
For the most part, Dana’s children are back in school, and are able to play with each other, so they have not been distressed.
To keep balanced, Dana enjoys hiking with her family, connecting with friends, and painting her nails for a little sparkly self-care. She gets up early to exercise. The new administration has given her hope, and she feels that the state and local leaders have been clear and compassionate in their pandemic management.
Dana is looking forward to having friends over, and being able to have meaningful conversations with colleagues and friends face to face. She’d love to be able to get back to a sense of normalcy! All in all Dana’s family is healthy, and she’s extremely grateful for that!