Healing Reflections: "Fractured" by Anonymous Nurse

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

Story by: Anonymous Nurse | Mayo Clinic Health System

Reflection from June 17, 2020:

To say one has grown throughout this journey is an understatement. Never in a million years would I have guessed that I would be spending my first year in a new role as a nurse manager during a pandemic, running a “COVID” unit. I can say that there were tears, there were laughs and there were long hours that took me away from my family. Yes, I kept myself going  but truly it was the people around me that kept me going…my leadership team who always came in with a “can do it” attitude and a smile, even when it was hard to do. The staff at the bedside who rolled with the changes, day to day and sometimes even minute to minute… and did not miss a beat. They always put the patients first and did what they needed to do to make sure the patients did not feel what we all felt around us. Lastly, the patients…the reason why we are all here doing what we do…they were in a place that they really did not want to be in, they had to be separated from family and friends but yet they took the time to thank the staff knowing that the staff were there for them and would take great care of them...the patients that showed such gratitude to our staff that it was heartwarming and reaffirming to know we are doing what we were always meant to do!


Reflection from January 4, 2021:

It’s a new year. 2020 is over, but the remnants are still here. I was secretly hoping that I would wake up January 1st and the news would be showing me that everything was back to the way it was pre-covid, where we all saw our smiles…not just in the eyes, where we all could celebrate the milestones together…not just virtually, where we could all go and see our loved one in the nursing home or hospital even if it was to sit in silence while they slept. Quite frankly, I knew better.  The reality is that we must choose to pick up these fragments of 2020 and weave them in a way that we can each strengthen our hope. Hope that this will somehow bring us closer together. Hope that we will not take for granted the opportunity to hug a loved one. Hope that we will heal in whatever way we need to heal. Hope that we will never forget the resiliency that is built within us. One would say that resiliency is flexibility, bouncing back from adversity. I would say resiliency is the strength we all have, the strength that we sometimes do not think we have, the strength that is built within us and comes out when we are pushed to an extreme. I witnessed strengths in the staff that amazed me, but what was more revealing was the strengths of the patients. Yes, we were all dealt a tough hand, some could say worse than others. The staff were working long hours, wearing PPE that was causing skin breakdown, and they were physically, emotionally and mentally drained. However, the patients strength surpassed anything I could have imagined. The patients who struggled with a new diagnosis, uncertainty of recovery, and with only the comfort of the nursing staff at the bedside. The patients, once again, have taught us when we needed it most.

My hope is that we recognize the strength within ourselves and within each other, that we give ourselves grace and offer it to others, that we look back and see something positive came from this…even if we cannot see it now because it is in fragments.


Art by: Janice Roberts  | Eau Claire, WI

When drawing, I love to create textures and experiment with different techniques or media combinations.  I frequently pair traditional inking methods with washes of coffee, dissolved colored pencil, or handmade walnut ink depending on the desired effect.  Darker values obtained with tightly packed pen strokes create more depth and interest versus a broad, solid stroke.

Georgia O’Keefe, Shatouporn (Toi) Gulig and Karen Gustafson influenced me to incorporate asymmetrical, curvilinear, and fluid characteristics in my work.  They also taught that altering viewpoints of ordinary subject matter creates work that borders on abstraction.

After studying at UW-Eau Claire, I taught a wide range of art courses at Eau Claire North High School before retiring to pursue art fulltime.  My artwork has been included in juried exhibits in Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, Wisconsin ArtsWest, Pablo Center at the Confluence, the Banbury Art Crawl, and by invitation at the Heyde Center in Chippewa Falls, the Eau Claire Public Library, and the Phipps Center in Hudson.

"Fractured" was inspired by the anonymous letter from a staff member at Mayo that spoke of how life at work and home was fractured by Covid-19.  In constructing this piece, I felt the blue masks would eternally be recognized world-wide as a painful reminder of the devastation and loss of life caused by the Covid pandemic.  The dramatic crack running through the piece is from a photo I took of a cracked mirror in the dance studio of the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center.  It represents the many facets of life, including the livelihood of artists and others, that were negatively impacted by Covid-19.


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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