Mo-lasses City… page 59

Day 117 – 07/07/2020

Can’t get going today. Got up at 6:30, walked around the block, then around the building, came back inside and went into neutral. Seems like it should be about 3 o’clock, but it isn’t even noon yet, and the things I’ve accomplished aren’t visible to the naked eye, other than a passable job of making the bed.

It’s been mostly in the regions of heart and brain, the work I’ve done so far. Took care of a business detail… and spent time texting with John when he “made rounds” to check on us. My system was jammed with thoughts and emotions after we talked… a lot to process. A portion of what he said, shared with his permission:

I worked both the 4th and the 5th and they were pure hell. I worked the (once again bursting at the seams) Covid unit on Saturday, followed by my own unit on Sunday. We’ve hit our new peak, so far, as of yesterday, with no end in sight. Glancing at the system-wide update this morning, I see that uniformly across the system we are higher than what we thought was the peak (April 27th).

The difference this time is that no one is calling us heroes anymore, there’s no dropping off of food at the hospital, and, most importantly, we are severely understaffed because of the attrition that has occurred since the pandemic started.

I didn’t care for the free food and adulation; the sentiment was nice but it made me uncomfortable because I know there’ll always be a backlash, and we’re reaping that now. Nurses are “shit,” we’re “spreading this hoax ‘cold’ to make money” and everyone, including us, is just tired of it all.

There were a record number of call-outs over the weekend; so severe that the CNO and CEO showed up Saturday morning to try and calm and reassure everyone. A joke. I don’t envy them, they’ve got a real problem on their hands and it’s not going to get easier. They’re out of money and can’t use that to entice us to work more/longer anymore.

He’s called to what he does and he won’t be one of the walk-offs. Also, don’t mistake his words for “poor me.” His challenge comes from the people making this crisis worse day by day.

On the upside, only one other guy showed up for PickleBall this morning, so Kim spent his time biking on the Burroughs Trail instead. Rode from here to the trail, to Hiway 10, to South Iowa, to McD’s for a breakfast sammy, then took all the zig-zag shortcuts home. He brought me the photo above, looking off into infinity, which feels right.

The trail is named for William S. Burroughs, who moved to Lawrence in 1981 and died here in 1997 at the age of 93. Little bit of free history for you this morning.

William S. Burroughs and James Grauerholz in the alley behind the Jazzhaus in Lawrence, Kansas (1996)

By Gary Mark Smith –, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Burroughs Trail photo credit: Kim Smith


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