Taking a Back Seat While Others Man the Front Lines

Some of you may have caught the front-page story in the Wall Street Journal  highlighting how overwhelmed New York City hospitals are. The prime example used to illustrate the dysfunction, disorder and dangerous staff conditions was Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx. That is the hospital at which our daughter first worked.

After graduating from nursing school, Lapinette #5  began her nursing career on the medical/surgical wards. After a few years, she moved to the ICU (intensive care unit). Two years ago, she went back to school to get an advanced doctoral degree as a nurse anesthetist. While her training requires clinical rotations in hospitals around the city along with classroom study, those rotations have been canceled due to COVID-19.

Her nursing license is current, the skills she painstakingly acquired during her years in the ICU are somewhat rusty but, like riding a bicycle, she could probably quickly get up to speed. Mayor de Blasio has written to her as well as to every other non-working nurse and she is getting phone calls from City Hall, pleading with her to go back to work.

Our daughter is hearing firsthand from her former co-workers about exactly what the newspaper article described. There is not enough protective gear to make even a pretense of keeping nurses and doctors safe from exposure to the virus. The physical and emotional toll on the staff is devastating.

Our daughter, the mother of two young boys, is torn. She and her family have most likely had the virus. Her son’s preschool teacher tested positive and seven days later our children and grandchildren began running fevers and feeling achy. Seven days after that, her amazing babysitter tested positive and both our daughter and son-in-law lost their sense of taste and smell, indicative of the COVID-19. Thank God, their cases were mild and they recuperated at home. They did not meet eligibility for testing, so, like thousands of other people, their cases have not been officially confirmed.

Now she faces a dilemma. She has been trying to get tested to verify that she has developed antibodies to the disease. (An example of the disarray is that while the city is frantically trying to find more medical workers, antibody tests are not easily available.) If that is the case, she is feeling a strong tug to head back to the ICU. That pull comes from two places. One is connected to the reason she went into nursing in the first place, a strong desire to help people. I think the other pull may even be stronger. Akin to how soldiers in a unit bond together and support each other, she wants to provide relief to her ex-co-workers who are in the trenches.

As her mother, I am proud of her desire to contribute. My husband and I raised her to be a giver rather than a taker and she is living the teachings she absorbed. But, as her mother, I desperately want to protect her and our grandchildren. I am censoring myself not to plead with her to stay home and I admit to being grateful that she wasn’t on active duty when this plague broke out. Even some of her fellow nurses are telling her not to come back—lack of safety precautions for them is even worse than we are reading. New York is failing to take care of those who take care of her.

Despite being strongly patriotic, none of our children enlisted in the U.S. military. There were good and valid reasons for their not having taken that path. Nevertheless, while we have always supported and appreciated our troops—even before 9-11—we haven’t laid awake at night worrying about our own child in a war zone. Now, with a son on the medical front line and a daughter considering stepping in, we are left praying for their safety and that of their comrades as we move into the back seat and respect their convictions and their need to make their own momentous decisions. 


27 thoughts on “Taking a Back Seat While Others Man the Front Lines”

  1. Claire Bradley-Johnston

    Praying for your children and the world. I saw an interesting video tonight on YouTube about how to make your own mask out of HEPA vacuum cleaner bags.
    This may sound crazy; however I started thinking “outside” the box myself too. I’m not in the medical field but an idea came to mind tonight. My dog had to use an Elizabethan collar once after surgery so she would not lick her wound. You can actually use this too by velcro-ing it around your temple as a shield. You might have to trim it to “chin” level, but it works. You hang it “down” rather than “up” like dogs do. Sounds wacky but better than getting this virus if you are on the front lines…

  2. Carl August Schleg

    Thx for Concern and PRAYERS, I go back to the ‘Front Line’ next week……

  3. Neweverymoment, Deb:
    We can all join in praying the Prayer of Protection that went to the moon with the astronauts ( by James Dillet Freeman) for your medical loved ones and all First Responders:
    “The light of God surround you,
    The love of God enfold you,
    The power of God protect you,
    The Presence of God watches over you.
    Wherever you are, God is.”

    Happy Passover and Happy Easter!
    P.S. We could all use Psalm 68:1, too!

  4. Tracy Mayberry

    Dear Susan,
    My prayers are for your peace. My husband and I have a son that served in the Marine Corps for almost 10 years and he went to Iraq twice. I just want to relate a couple of stories he told me after the fact :((
    One involved a road side bomb that imploded as the 7 ton (I think that was the size) truck he drove went by. Blew off the door right by him and filled the inside cab with shrapnel. He lost his rifel and the Psalms 91 card attached to his visor, as they fell out of the truck. To ELOHIM’S glory, not one of the 3 men inside were injured. Another incident, just a few days before he was to leave Iraq, involved their convoy coming under attack. My son hopped up into the touret (not sure of spelling) and returned fire with the big machine gun and later said to me, “Mom, you know the way the bullets sounded in Saving Private Ryan? That’s just what it really sounds like! Those bullets were whizzing by my head!”. I can only say that I ended up in the ER with a 103 temp, vomiting, cold chills and later realized I had made my own self sick with worry. Not long after that The LORD asked me I trusted HIM to take care of my son while he served or not. I learned then to rely heavily on the protection of our marvelous LORD!!! Of course you could teach me so much about EL that I do not know, but I hope this testimony about how HE watched over my son helps you to trust HIM more for your own children. Blessings to you!

    1. Tracy, thank you for sharing your story and we are thankful that your son was safe. Of course, others were not and it is one of the challenges of faith to recognize that both the good and the bad come from a loving God. It does help to know that there is a plan and it is a good one, even if it is sometimes painful.

  5. Thank you Susan ~
    Praying the Lord protects all the devoted Lapin family and all in healthcare from the top of their heads to the soles of their feet.
    “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.”

    1. Esther, we appreciate your prayers for ours and for everyone working to care for others and end this plague.

  6. Keeping your lovely Lapinette, and all of you in prayers during this crisis. This is a stressful topic .. and I hope I don’t upset anyone. Many people say the tests widely available are only able to identify a coronavirus, but nothing specific like COVID-19. Our loved ones are facing a truly brutal battle .. but so much doesn’t make sense.

    1. Kelly, there is so much info circulating and we simply don’t know what to trust and what not to trust. Wrong info isn’t necessarily deliberate – there is so much not known. The tests may or may not be accurate, masks may or may not be effective…

  7. Thanks for sharing. I have 5 grandchildren in medicine, all caring for Covid 19 patients. It feels so strange to be isolated in my safe bubble on the sidelines as they are on the frontlines. The roll reversal feels so unnatural. I am humbled by their service.

  8. Your children have always been amazing role models for other people. Your entire family is giving. Lapins, keep up the good work. Love, Miss Hirsch

  9. SUSAN ~
    Your daughter is a testimonial to the wonderful family you’re raising. I will pray that God responds to your concerns soon and that your two children in the war zone remain healthy and able to serve patients. The bureaucracy she is experiencing is happening all over the country. Sooo frustrating. God speed!

    1. Kristin, we appreciate your good wishes. We have been immeasurably blessed by all our children.

  10. Lori Heffernan

    One of many things I’ve learned during this season of my life where I find myself often in a clinic or hospital is that nurses and those others who work in the healthcare field are, in their chosen profession, fulfilling a “calling” just as much as those who are members of the clergy. May God be with your daughter (and you) as she makes her decision.

  11. We salute Lapinette #5! I don’t have a precious child on the frontlines, but I have dear friends that I studied with who are. I’ll pray fervently for your children caring for the American public, as fervently as I’m praying for my ER friends in NYC, and pray they all get the PPEs they need, and that the general public that appears healthy stays at home.

    1. Tinashe, that’s how we feel about the military. We have dear friends with children who serve. They too don’t get all the support they need.

  12. I was thinking about your son and wondering how he was doing. I didn’t realize that you had a daughter in the medical field also. Praying for all of your safety.
    P.S. I just downloaded the Passover Seder series. Thank you for putting this out.

    1. Kristy, the pandemic hasn’t hit our son’s city badly yet, but he had to find his own mask and protective gear. There is a lovely story behind how he got gear that which I hope to share. But it is insane that the medical staff (and police and firemen) need to ferret out their own supplies.

  13. April 2. From Canada. God Bless you. There is a silver lining although it took a pandemic for those in power and in key manufacturing positions like CEO’s to realize it. Globalism and the off-shoring of our vital industries, especially to a Communist nation like China is very simply – insane. Pres. T and many “normal” citizens in both the U.S.A. and Canada have known this for a long time as we got unemployment and China got wealthy, along with our CEO’s who were willfully blind as dollars signs caused their eyes to glaze over. Now, God willing we will see a stronger move to bring back in earnest, “Made In America” and “Made In Canada” again. God Bless.

    1. S., we can pray that enough people walk away from the mainstream media and the faith in the political class and start recognizing the points you are making among others.

    2. I wonder if this is from S. Leach that Sue Leach that I went to Linfield College with…
      signing my maiden name & married name Jessie Tuttle Nunn

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