Normally, each year around the Thanksgiving holiday, this space is used to express gratitude for hospital workers who have committed their careers and their lives to helping others – the very stuff hospitals are made of.
It’s an important, sincere message that is too often taken for granted amid the daily grind, and one that I have looked forward to writing for many years.
This year, it feels … for lack of a better word, “inadequate.”
Instead, during a year that will forever change our lives and our relationships with one another in ways we haven’t yet begun to understand, I’m left with questions.
How do you show appreciation for someone who works 18-hour nursing shifts and sleeps in her garage to protect her family?
How do you help more than 18,000 California families face an empty chair at the dinner table?
How do you find the strength to keep going, day after day, as the challenges keep mounting?
How do you explain that there’s only one protective mask available, when you need three?
How do you ask a nursing student, who may not be quite ready for real patients, to care for real patients, during a real crisis?
How do you tell a doctor that you need her to stay just a few more hours?
How do you find the silver linings in a year marked by such pain and loss?
There are no easy answers, but at a time when it’s easy to feel resentful for all the things we’re missing, it is a far better use of our energy and time to be grateful for all we have. At the top of this year’s list are the women and men of California’s hospitals.
May they always be a source of hope for those in need.