Healing Reflections: "Emotional Rollercoaster" by Bloomer Environmental Services

Jan 3, 2021 | Hannah Schlotthauer, Administrative Assistant | @schlohan

“Emotional Rollercoaster”
Story by: Bloomer Environmental Services | Mayo Clinic Health System

Our anxiety and stress levels increased tremendously, it seemed like everything was constantly changing, it was overwhelming, “I felt like I was on a rollercoaster”

When we first had to start wearing the masks all the time, “I felt like I couldn’t breath and that I was suffocating” having to bed and move constantly it was hard a simple task like cleaning the toilet or moving a bed to clean was made worse.   The mask seemed to “hold on” to the bad smells making what were normal tasks extremely hard.

It was terrifying when we first had the first patient admitted, we didn’t know what to expect, were we safe, will our families be safe, how can we help these patients we are just housekeepers.   Many staff spoke to seeking medical help to get through there day to day because their anxiety increased so significantly, multiple stated they are now being treated with medication for anxiety.

They were amazed how COVID affected each patient differently.  When asked how COVID changed their interactions with patients.  They shared that once they were over the initial shock “its here” they were about to take extra time when in the room to visit with the patient.  They could see how lonely and scared patients were and they would extend their cleaning time in the room to assure that they were comfortable and just listen to the patient because they were concerned about the patient’s emotional needs.  They shared that patients would talk about how terrified they were of the unknowns and that patients would express that they didn’t know if they would live or die, but they were trying hard to live, they offered a listening ear.  Many stated they would walk out of the room with tears in their eyes.

The staff noted that the call ins in the department went way down during this time, they didn’t want to let each other down.  Things they noted that helped them get through the pandemic were how other departments not caring for these patients stepped in to help, that everyone tried to concentrate on the good and bring joy to work.  The extra appreciation form leadership and patients kept them going.   Knowing that the community supported them (chalk artwork on sidewalks) was so appreciated and brought smiles to their faces.  One person stated “We Are a Family” that is how we did it!   This has made us stronger.

They have a higher appreciation of things they took for granted in the past.  Looking forward to being able to take vacation finally and hopefully someday not being masked so we can see each other’s faces.


Art by: Ray Kaselau | Eau Claire, WI

At the age of twelve I built a model of the 1989 Batman Gotham City out of cardboard. That’s when I discovered my passion for creating immersive spaces and the joyful experiences art and design can offer. With a degree in Visual Communications, I have worked for over 15 years primarily as a graphic and concept designer. My work has contributed to many major retailers, fortune 100 companies, as well as, children’s museums, civic organizations, as well as the visual development phase of the Healing Reflections mural. As an artist and designer, it’s important to always learn new tools to continually improve one’s ability for creative problem-solving. I strongly believe as Joseph Campbell said, “Follow Your Bliss".

Inspiration for "Emotional Rollercoaster" EVS Story:  The moment the author described their experience as “I felt like I was on a rollercoaster”, the visuals fell into place as a whirl of images. The personal experiences expressed were very moving and I wanted to combine the emotions in an intertwined visual symbolic of the movement of a rollercoaster.


For more information about the Healing Reflections gallery or to get involved with the project, contact Sara Martinek.

To discuss the latest on Post-COVID Syndrome, head over to the Post-COVID Recovery discussion group.

Interested in more newsfeed posts like this? Go to the Post-COVID Recovery blog.

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