Lately, it feels like there’s not much to celebrate.
Record high Covid infections are swamping hospitals. Some of my favorite people on earth are being worked to the bone taking care of patients. At this point, I’ve lost two relatives to the pandemic. We also have vulnerable family members. I’m scared for them. Heck, I’m scared for me, too.
Sensible people are warning of a dark winter when Covid and the flu run rampant at the same time.
As I’m writing this, a week before the election, things look bleak. Again, feels like there’s not much to celebrate.
Then, of course, nurses pull through for me. They inspire me. And I hope this story will inspire you, too.
In hospitals across the country, when a Covid patient comes off of a vent and is discharged, there is cause for celebration. True story – many hospitals have theme songs they play when these patients are released from the hospital. Some I’ve heard of are Staying Alive by the Bee Gees, Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles and, my personal favorite, Eye of the Tiger… by Survivor.
Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” is the quintessential song of overcoming. And, on a certain floor, at a certain hospital here in Florida, there’s a nurse who celebrates. Every. Single. Time. I’m going to call her Carlie.
Carlie hears the “Dunt…dunt dunt dunt” over the hospital’s PA system and she goes into full on party mode. Not just party mode… but like, a kindergarten birthday bash with free cotton candy and “Oh my God is that a pony? YES! It’s a pony!!” Yeah, that kind of celebration. It’s the happiness that you feel in every inch of your being, in each fiber of your soul.
The first time this happened, back in the spring, Carlie’s co-workers thought it was great; Carlie dancing up and down the floor, singing along and jumping and twirling. It must have been a spectacle to behold! Everyone was laughing and smiling. The joy was absolutely contagious.
Then, Covid patients kept coming. The hospital was filling up. Carlie volunteered to work in the Covid unit. She worked a lot. She saw a lot. A lot of things she never expected to see. Carlie is like so, so many other healthcare professionals right now. Exhausted. Burnt out. Questioning that original desire to become a healing professional. And uncertain of what happens next. But, after lots of deliberation, she’s decided that she is a nurse to the bone. She would not be happy if she wasn’t in nursing.
And she continues to dance. Every time the song is played. Always with the same intensity and joy as she showed back in April. She stops. She smiles. She celebrates. Even if through tears. And every single person around must celebrate with her. They can not help it. Because for one moment, for one person, for one family… the joy is real, and we all get to share.
Carlie understands that life is to be celebrated. And why not celebrate with all the unbridled fervor of a child? Even when the times are tough. Even though its sweaty, and hard won. Even when it seems like there’s nothing much else to celebrate, we can all celebrate the gift of life itself.
Thank you Carlie – and all the healthcare pros, all the teachers, all the essential workers, thank you, too. Let’s continue to show up – to smile behind the masks, to air hug across the sidewalk, and never forget to boogie down when you can.