They are rolled down the hallway in a special gurney to the first stop on their journey to eternal rest. They are those who did not make it. Those who, despite our best efforts, lose the fight.
Before the pandemic broke out, one would see the gurney rolling down the hallway rarely. Maybe once every other month or longer.Since the pandemic broke out, each surge has changed the frequency one sees the gurney roll down the hall. Lately, the gurney has been seen quite often. Sometimes four times a day – rolling down that long and sterile hallway. A few days ago, there were three before noon – signs of a dramatic surge.
This surge started around July and it feels different. It is relentless, pernicious, and lethal. It feels like the virus is on a mission that involves extracting a daily quota of souls. Like a colleague said after a bad weekend, “Jesus took a few,” and the frequency one sees that special gurney rolling hints at and confirms the severity of this surge and that description.
Each day, Jesus takes a few, and the gurney keeps rolling. Yet, the empty spots they leave in the ER, patient rooms, and ICUs do not stay open for long. They fill up quickly, and the cycle continues. It is a cycle that sees some make it, and others who take that trip down the hallway…. in that special gurney to the first stop on their journey to eternal rest.
That is why it is baffling to hear some people outside the walls of this place (and even some within) still doubt, question, downplay, and misinform. That is why it is mind-blowing when some refuse to accept a remedy that could help us out of this predicament. That is why it sometimes feels like a Shakespearean tragicomedy.
So each day, Jesus takes a few, and the gurney keeps rolling. Each of us in here can only play a part in making things better, despite all the challenges. Some are playing outsize roles, and for them, we are all grateful; so very grateful. However, one wonders how much longer we all can hold up, especially those who go in and out of those rooms daily. How much longer can we stem the tide?
Then Jesus keeps taking a few, and the gurney keeps rolling. The sun will rise tomorrow, and I am sure a few more will depart.May they all rest in peace. While they do, may those of us who still have life always appreciate this gift and learn to make the most of it. Then these last 18 months should have taught us all is how fragile this life is. So hug your loved ones, kiss your partner passionately, smile for no reason, eat well, drink that wine, and above all, get vaccinated and stay safe!
Then, least you forget, that special gurney keeps rolling…
By Nana Dadzie Ghansah an anesthesiologist who practices in Lexington, Kentucky
Feature photo: Courtesy of John Ryan Flickr:Too morbid