I did a thing. I left my home, my family, my comfort zone for 3.5 weeks, and I went to a city I’ve always considered a friend, to (in my head) relieve some medical workers who needed a break so they could go home and see their kids for a bit… That was my reasoning. I would have wanted someone to do that for me, right?
And people in NYC cheered for me. They cheered for all of us in scrubs. They saw us on the street and called us all “heroes”, clapping and thanking us as we walked to work.
There were days and moments that were hard or emotional, when I wanted to go home, or I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, or I cried all day from seeing so many sick and dying patients alone in their ICU rooms… It challenged me and changed me. But I’d do it again.
I’m not a hero. I just showed up as a friend. That’s what we do in healthcare—we show up and help. The real heroes are the NY first responders, who never had a choice—they were in it from the beginning, and they continued to show up.
I’ll never forget my time at Bellevue Hospital…. not as a visitor, but as a PART of that amazingly strong, resilient, heroic city, New York, NY. Thanks for having me, NYC! – Maryellen Bishop