Updated: Dec 7, 2020
POEM WRITTEN BY APRIL BURKE, TO PERSONALLY THANK ALL FRONT-LINE MEDICAL
PROFESSIONALS FOR BEING THERE FOR HER AND OTHER COVID-19 PATIENTS...
UPDATE: APRIL'S AUNT LOST HER BATTLE TO COVID-19 RECENTLY, A TRIBUTE HAS BEEN INCLUDED AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS STORY: THIS POEM HAS BEEN DEDICATED TO HER AUNTIE TINA.
By April Burke
A tickle in my throat and then a cough somewhat dry,
A slight fever was rising, a tear in my eye.
Aches and chills and the fatigue was extreme,
Ailing with nausea, it felt like a bad dream.
I gave my best fight but it caught me off guard,
And around day 10 it got hold of me hard.
Before I knew it, I ached too much to walk,
My chest really hurt so I couldn’t even talk.
I didn’t realize, I was too weak to care,
But my body was drowning without any air.
Thankfully I was able to get to the E.R.,
I looked back at my loved one, alone in the car.
He couldn’t join me, that was the new protocol,
Off to the triage station, I practically crawled.
Admitted at last, the hospital journey began,
With IVs, oxygen, and a small bedpan.
Blood work, X-rays, but I did it, I fought,
Through the chills and pain and experimental shots.
I knew others were close, though out of sight,
They were also fighting the virus with all of their might.
I felt a connection as I was wheeled by their room,
A “thumbs up” given by one, yet another showed gloom.
An instant connection and a bond I would keep,
For my fellow fighting, coronavirus peeps.
The environment was different, like never before,
In the ICU or the COVID floor.
No visitors or flowers, just extreme fear,
And those that entered, were in so much gear.
The need for face shields along with masks,
Before they could perform any small task.
And isolation gowns, all sections tied tight,
Over their scrubs which were then, out of sight.
So hard to feel intimacy when being cared for,
Since it looked like a martian walking through the door.
But somehow they did it, they gave me the belief,
That they’ll provide me with much-needed relief.
It was a mystery, however, the color of their hair,
Was it black, brown, or blonde under all that they wear?
Their profiles a secret since their noses didn’t show,
Were their teeth straight or crooked? I just didn’t know.
Hands covered tightly with blue latex gloves,
But when they touched me, I still felt the love.
And through pain and discomfort and my silent cries,
What I could actually see were their BEAUTIFUL EYES.
It’s all I could see but they looked directly at me,
I saw if they had glasses, or were brown, blue, or green!
Concerning eyes that showed such care,
It no longer mattered what their body must wear.
Eyes that saw me and stayed by my bed,
Even when no words were actually said.
All of my worries, all of my fears,
I looked at their eyes and that disappeared.
At times they seemed worried since they told no lies,
Always truthful but loving. . .those beautiful eyes.
Code Red a door over, those eyes needed to be seen,
By another struggling victim of Covid 19.
And though their last breath, no loved ones were there,
Those beautiful eyes were, to show that they cared.
Holding their hand as God called them home,
With their beautiful eyes saying; “you’re not alone.”
Eyes now sad, a sudden teardrop,
Showing exhaustion, but still didn’t stop.
To another room, with all new gear,
Another patient needed a listening ear.
This one’s vitals were looking good,
Finally, numbers that look as they should.
Now the strength to go on, to finish their shift,
More discharges, not death would be the greatest gift.
Well, I was discharged, they helped save my life,
Now I can still be a mother and wife.
So to all of the nurses, staff, and MDs,
Working day and night to help people like me.
Putting themselves at risk as each day starts,
I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
I may never recognize you or things you said,
But your eyes, I’ll remember. . .clear in my head.
April Burke, Boston, Massachusetts - Teacher
IN LOVING MEMORY OF AUNTIE TINA:
In Loving Memory of my Aunt and Godmother who passed away after a courageous fight with COVID. When I finished this poem a few months ago, she hadn’t even contracted the virus yet. Ironically she was a dedicated RN all of her life. How fitting to tribute this poem to her.
Tina Alario DeMar RN 12/21/52-12/3/2020
“dance away in heaven Auntie Tina!” Love, April