In years to come as we talk to our grandchildren, I hope that we all can say,
I remember when SARS arrived, the worry, the concern that troubled day.
A fellow Infection Control Practitioner confided that “I feel so all alone,
We’re dealing with a disease, how it is spread, is really unknown.”
While listening to a teleconference, I ached as I heard a physician weep,
Describing the loss of a friend, the rising cases, the worry, no sleep.
We prepared for a Pandemic; we thought it would be the Flu,
But it was an emerging virus,never before seen, entirely new.
We looked to our close knit network, ICPs and physicians alike,
All working madly in an effort to win this unprecedented fight.
Even while those amongst us, some quarantined and one down,
Continued to search out answers, sometimes not easily found.
Never before in our experience have we been dealt with such a threat,
This is no “mock scenario” and there are no standards that can be met.
The staff say to me “We look to you as a weathervane to gauge our fear,
If you look in control, we become settled and appreciate you are near.
You come to the unit, walking calmly with clipboard and papers in arm,
We congregate around you to calm our fears and reduce the alarm.
Answering our questions honestly and listening to our concern,
You decipher the directives so we call can begin to learn,
To protect ourselves from harm we have to always comply,
But wearing the apparel is so uncomfortable, we cannot lie.
The goggles fog up; the masks are hot and really hurt our skin,
Our nose is red, our hands are dry but not complying is no longer just a sin,
A moment of fatigue, a minute of stress and too much hurry,
Could lead to infection, even death...such pressure, such worry.”
So we must all lean on each other and discuss what we will say,
Because remember, they are looking to us to direct and lead the way.
Methodically and carefully we will manage this disease,
We don’t have all the answers yet, but I believe we hold the keys.
So day after day, we will review what we instruct others to do,
Revising and reviewing directives, so improvements will ensue.
SARS has changed the face of medicine and how we care for the ill,
But if any group can do it, I know the Infection Control people will.
So we must stand together, support and help each other through,
So we can say to our grandchildren, it was a disease that we once knew.
This is my favourite poem, written during Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak in Canada.