By Jennifer Ortynski MD, CCFP
As I drop my now contaminated gloves into the already overflowing garbage, I hear a wavering voice float out from the room I was just in. I recognize the melody instantly.
You are my sunshine
It was my patient’s husband singing on a video call. I had just left the room inhabited by his wife: their daughter at her bedside holding up a phone for the couple to see each other. I carefully peel off my yellow gown to put in the laundry bin.
You make me happy when skies are grey
His wife lives in a long-term care facility; one currently afflicted with COVID. She has the virus. Following the doffing protocol, I take care not to contaminate myself as I remove my face shield and mask to replace them with a new set. I can still hear the quiet song.
You’ll never know dear how much I love you
She is non-responsive with shallow breaths. It is too high risk for her husband to visit. I have just finished telling the family that she is not going to make it.
So please don’t take my sunshine away
I catch the end of his song as I sanitize my hands again and start my walk to the next patient’s room. I cannot wipe the tears away as I shouldn’t be touching my face.