Marcy Fraser was an AIDS nurse at the height of that scourge. Today, she reaches out to her sister and brother nurses on the front lines of the COVID pandemic.
I see your faces on TV. I feel you. My first full-time job as a nurse was on a new AIDS ward at SF General in 1983. I had been a nurse for just two years.
We were overwhelmed with people dying from a disease we didn’t understand, had no treatment for and most of the world was terrified of. The deaths we witnessed were painful, distressing, labored. I know full well that is your reality.
I know you cry in your cars on the way home. Overwhelmed by grief and physical fatigue. I know your shifts are long and include intense encounters with colleagues, patients and family members. Most of your own family and friends have difficulty imagining your work day.
A few people ask you for details, but my guess is most don’t. It’s hard to explain the experience you’re having while you’re still having it. And there are your own feelings and fears.