Dr. Ali Hemdan is a pulmonary physician in Meriden. Since 2010 he has lived in Westport with his wife, Dr. Ingi Soliman, and their children. The other day, he wrote a very moving account of what it’s like on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
Thank you, Dr. Hemdan, for sharing this. Thank you too, for all you do for all of us.
I have seen the flesh of the face swell and open. Black, white, yellow and brown. Looks different but I am sure it feels the same, old anguish pain!
I saw the virus decimate the body. 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 years old. Risk felt different before the plague hit but once the organs fail, it is the same rapid dreadful unavoidable collapse.
I have spoken to the families. Husband, wife, daughter, son, nephew, niece, father, mother, grandson, granddaughter. Different lineage in the family tree. Roots, branches and leaves. But same heart aching panic for loved ones they can’t see.
I have worked with the team. Nurses, executives, doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, janitors, secretaries, security guards, first responders and nurses’ aides. Different roles but all putting their best face to cover the same cracking back under the weight of the responsibility cross we all cannot alone bear.
I have felt the same hope and saw it crumble
I have faked the same invincibility and saw it betray me leaving me exposed
I have shaken the same despair just to see it seeping through the cracking of my fleeting sense of safety in the midst of my family
I am not a hero
I am just a man
A few seconds of cosmic time ago I was just a child looking for comfort, looking for a haven
A long time ago I promised myself not to shy away from inconvenient truths or uncomfortable realities
Now I want no reality and I want no truth
Lie to me and tell me this is a bad dream
A sick finale to a horror movie written by a disturbed psychopath
Lie to me and I give you my word that I will not find holes in your lies or joke about your need for the spell
Bring out your magic wand
Bring out you your blessed sword
Bring out your crystal ball
Bring out your prayers and your healing sermons
Bring out your medicine man and his cure
Extend your hand and reach out to me
Open your soul and sing with me
Let us drum and string
Let us whistle and hum
Let us dance and jump
Let us unite in the darkness of the unknown
Let us be one even if it is for a little while
A fleeting moment of love toward one another
For once the danger doesn’t discriminate
The ultimate equalizer has come to hold the mirror so we can see ourselves
Naked, frightened and together alone.