Healing Reflections: "Wash Day" by Beth Gundlach, P.T.A.

Feb 15, 2021 | Hannah Schlotthauer, Administrative Assistant | @schlohan

"Wash Day"
Story by: Beth Gundlach, P.T.A. | Mayo Clinic Health System

Was I Ready?

Was I ready, was I ready to walk through my first COVID patient’s room door?

There had been the preparations, my first Global Crossing Huddle meetings, my first ZOOM work meeting, my N95 fitting, my limited education of the COVID process.

Was I ready?

We conversed as a team about goals, exercises, and outcomes.

Was I ready?

We talked of being a Team of three, seeing just COVID patients, we talked of spreading out COVID patients to limited exposure.

Was I ready?

The Day Came, the COVID patients were here, it was time.

Was I ready?

I placed my hair bonnet, my N-95, my shield, my gown, my gloves, and the tape around my wrist so my gloves wound not come away from my gown.

Was I ready?

My heart raced, my breathing was shallow, I was shaking some.

Was I ready?

I hemmed and hawed,

Was I ready?

I checked my handoff, I checked the chart, I checked the evaluation.

Was I ready?

Finally, with a big inhale, I knocked on the door and opened the door slowly.

I was Ready!!!!

I provided the best care I could do at that moment.

I was Ready!

The room was quiet, the shades were pulled, and the patient was still.

I was Ready!

I introduced myself, I smiled behind my mask, and I took his hand.

I was Ready!

All the traditional physical therapy skills were not appropriate at that moment in time.

I was Ready!

The patient was appreciative of my effort of opening the shade, turning on his favorite music, and bringing his drink that was left on the counter to him.

I was Ready!

We now have had many months working within this COVID world.

Emotions of every feeling, from feeling out of control, fear, eventual understanding, persevering all took its course.

In the end,

I was Ready!

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Art by: Kathleen Mason | Fall Creek, WI

I am so grateful for all the frontline workers and community members who have been instrumental in shielding us from COVID and doing their parts to limit the exposure and spread of this deadly pandemic.  It's been over a year and yet we are still feeling the effects of COVID on our lives.  But we are also starting to see the light on the horizon and this gives me HOPE.

This sense of HOPE is very evident to me in Beth's story and I was inspired by her resounding testament of "I was Ready!".

This vintage washboard has been transformed from a functional tool into my mixed media interpretation of that feeling of readiness,  I have chosen to call it "Wash Day", which seems fitting as a metaphor for work, but also the washing or scrubbing away the grime that was/is COVID and 2020.

Beth's words were printed on cotton fabric and the strips were woven into the piece,  Words matter and so it was very important to me that her words were included in my handy-work.

The bluebird is one of my favorites and I like to sketch and paint all kinds of winged creatures.  But more importantly, it is a symbol of happiness and a harbinger of Spring and the HOPE we have in the renewal of life.

"Time is the warp and matter the weft of the woven texture of beauty in space, and death is the hurling shuttle.” — Annie Dillard

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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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