This goes to the health workers who, in the face of chaos, made my mother’s death peaceful | Kim Davis

Mhis beautiful mum died at 12:30 a.m. Monday in a palliative care unit in Melbourne. His death was not a failure of the healthcare system, but rather the triumph of compassion and care over chaos, glinting like a flint in the normal Covid darkness of rising case numbers.

With hospitals at breaking point and ambulances rushing to the emergency room, healthcare workers showed up to do all they could for her, ensuring her death was peaceful.

My mother, an elderly retiree, has lived her whole life for others. Born in the early days of World War II, she was raised by parents for whom the Great Depression was a recent and painful wound. As a bookish young woman and the youngest of three daughters, she was denied the education that would have enabled her to fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor. Education was wasted on women who were bound by marriage. So she left school at 14 and trained as a telephonist, reluctantly giving up her job when she was pregnant with her first child.

She asked for so little in life. I’m sure if she had been able to speak in her final days, she would have been content to stay in a tiny room on the fourth floor of the hospital, causing as little trouble as possible to the busy nursing staff while thanking them profusely for s take care of her. But she remained silent, her voice ripping out with a sudden, catastrophic stroke.

Instead, there was some kind of miracle, which allowed mum to spend her last 12 hours with her face tilted towards the garden, the winter sun streaming through the window and illuminating her features with a light warm and golden. The strings were skillfully pulled by the palliative care team and a patient transport team was dispatched to move her through the vast hospital parking lot to the palliative care facility. She breathed her last wrapped in a jewel-colored pashmina as Judith Durham’s voice soared like a seabird over the sweet harmonies of the other three Seekers members, lulling her into her final slumber.

Then, while waiting in tears in the hallway for Mom’s body to be laid out, I spotted a small sign on the whiteboard: The whole world is understaffed. Be nice to those who show up. The panel reminded me that a healthcare system is not just the sum of its buildings, technology, infrastructure and waiting lists. It is a living, breathing thing, dependent on its own life force: the care and compassion of people who come and go with silent efficiency in wards, hallways, kitchens and emergency departments, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The beating heart of a health system is humanity at its very heart; professionals who genuinely care about others and who chose this career because they wanted to make a difference. They include paramedics, patient transport workers, nurses, doctors, orderlies, cleaners, caterers, pharmacists and even the staff just inside the door who interrogate symptoms and dispense P2 masks, taking the time to gently help my grieving father train the straps.

Whether a career in healthcare will be desirable for young people post-pandemic remains to be seen, and will likely come down to our willingness as a society to invest in a sector struggling with chronic underfunding and shortages. staff, even when we need them most.

This current climate of scientific denial and abuse and pointing the finger at healthcare personnel by members of the public, patients and their families must feel like a relentless millstone, eroding the resolve of these remarkable people every time they clock in for a shift. Naturally, the system is hemorrhaging; they leave en masse.

My mother lived a good life and died a good death. It was the medical professionals who made the last part possible, against all odds. Long after the Thank you, healthcare workers! 2020’s rainbow signs and fences have faded and the “Spoonvilles” have toppled over, composting in the park, they keep showing up. And what’s left is a debt of gratitude that I can never repay.

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