My first solo, socially distanced, half marathon down the empty streets of NYC. I left planning to do a short jog, take advantage of the nice weather and my day off, but for some reason I kept running… and running. I was running away from my stress, my anxiety, and my mental pain; the repercussions of what healthcare workers are experiencing on a daily basis in our city.
I ran past the USNS Comfort with tears in my eyes, the empty streets of Times Square filled only with echos of ambulance sirens, the Statue of Liberty without a single visitor, and the Brooklyn bridge, barren without pedestrians. I ran until my feet were burning and mind was numb.
Yet, this is a fraction of what we experience every day in our hospitals. The empty calm streets of NYC are a stark and disturbing contrast to our overflowing chaotic hospitals. I’m forever indebted to my courageous colleagues, my support system, and most importantly my patients whose pain and suffering will always remain ingrained in my memory. To those who’s loved ones are suffering or lost, my heart goes out to you a millions times over; this system has failed you on so many fronts. We are all in this together, and we will get through this together. Please stay at home for us, so we can work for you and your loved ones where it matters. ♥️
Seda Tolu, MD
PGY 3, Internal Medicine