This is the second post in our series featuring the healthcare workers in our TCS family. You can read the first post here. Today we have interview responses from Family Medicine physician, Dr. Matt Bressie, and a story from Johanna Longacre, R.N.
Do you consider your profession as a medical provider an important part of your identity? How so? What aspects of God’s image do you find yourself displaying (don’t be shy!)?
MB: I don’t consider it “who I am” but more “what God has uniquely called me to do.” I try to display God’s love, patience, and grace for us in the way I work. I want people to see Christ in me and to feel His love in all I do, no matter who they are. Some days I am more successful at this than others, so I am glad He has grace for me too!
What are the aspects of your job right now that most feel like a chore or burden? When do you find yourself sending up those “I’m trying, God. I need you now!” kind of prayers?
MB: The uncertainty of how the outbreak will progress and the ever changing role is challenging for me. I am also concerned for my patients’ safety, especially my older and sicker patients. Not being able to bring patients into the clinic and doing telephone visits is also challenging, as it is more difficult to do a complete evaluation and is out of my comfort zone – I do the best I can.
Do you feel a significant change in your approach to your work in this time of pandemic? What’s different?
MB: Each day’s prayer starts with “help me serve you Lord, whatever you need from me today.” I am struck with the comfort of God’s Providence more than ever because I feel the loss of control (or the illusion of it) and loss of routine and typical practices. Day by day and even hour by hour our protocols are changing, and we are needing to adapt the way we care for our patients to the state of the infection.
What is one thing you most wish people (especially Christians at Trinity!) understood about you or your work? Can you share a thing or two about your life right now that keeps you up at night?
MB: The reality of it is striking. I know our clinic and the hospitals are very low on supplies of PPE (personal protective equipment like masks, gowns, etc.), and not having those puts us at considerable risk and hampers our ability to care for our patients. The thought of patients dying because we don’t have enough ventilators or hospital beds is hard to fathom, but a potential reality. We need prayer, and we need people to take social distancing seriously – the more we can flatten the curve on this thing, the lower the chances it will overwhelm the medical system. Christians in particular can be a good witness of this – it’s a way we can care for the most vulnerable among us, by doing our part to decrease the chances it will spread to them.
How can Trinity members best serve their friends and neighbors who work in healthcare?
MB: Pray, pray, pray. It is powerful and effective. If you have N95 masks at home for construction or other purposes and you don’t need them, donate them to the closest hospital.
Here’s Johanna’s related story:
We are getting a bit more desperate for masks at the hospital. The ER has completely run out without any incoming orders and they are the front line people. One of my coworkers began collecting our blue wrap so that she could start sewing masks this weekend but she needed the wire band at the nose that helps fit the mask to the face. She asked we remove them from the already worn masks and give them to her. By the end of the day most people had forgotten to do that so I decided to go “dumpster diving” and managed to pull about 100 masks out of various trash cans. Another nurse and I cut all the aluminum bands out of the masks and sanitized them to give to our other coworker. She had tears in her eyes when we delivered a full bucket of aluminum strips to her.
I was a bit embarrassed however when I noticed someone hovering over my shoulder as I was digging through some trash. When I looked up it was one of the doctors who was videotaping me. Just goes to show how desperate we are.