Judith Eiseman: An amazing effort at Cooley Dickinson

Published: 1/6/2021 1:54:42 PM
Modified: 1/6/2021 1:54:32 PM

For 10 days, from my walk into the emergency room at Cooley Dickinson Hospital to the day I left, I saw only masked faces with cheerful voices, caring eyes, and hands carrying medicine, meals, IV poles, syringes, cleaning supplies, clean linens and hope.

What is it like to spend 10 days in the COVID unit at Cooley Dickinson? I could give you details, but what I really want to tell everyone in the Valley is that we have an amazing team effort going on here! The people the media call “caregivers,” “front-line workers,” and “heroes” were a model team of kind, alert, competent and thoughtful individuals intent upon doing their jobs well.

The emphasis here is on “team.” These are real people with a real commitment to doing their work while supporting each other, following rules and protocols, checking and recording everything they do, and making sure patients are as comfortable as possible. They taught me what they had learned about the disease, the treatment, and how to cope.

I never saw another patient, but as I began to feel better, some of these folks took a moment to chat a bit. We told each other about our families and general worries about the state of the world. Not too much sharing, just enough to underscore the “we’re in this together” comradeship.

One of my nurses had had the virus in the spring. The quiet woman who did the daily cleaning told me a little about her elderly mother and one of my doctors and I shared some common frustration with science coming in second to fear, politics and conspiracy theories. The dietitian called me daily to make sure that I was getting what I wanted for each meal — mostly less, because the portions were large! One nurse told me about how much more they all know now than they did when all of this first started.

The staff works hard in this ward and no doubt they’ve seen the best and worst patients have to offer — not only in terms of health, but I suspect in terms of personality. Whoever these masked folks are — I’ll never recognize them on the street — I’m deeply grateful to them for cheering me on, helping me get well, and being a corps of trained professionals doing their jobs every day with humanity, grace and as much humor as they can muster in these difficult times.

Judith Eiseman


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