I’m ashamed of myself. I don’t know your name—anything about your kids, what they did this weekend.
I went through my Facebook friends list and I don’t think any of you are on it. I try to always say hello when I pass you in the hall, but I do that with everyone—sometimes it’s returned.
I can’t do my job without you. Without you I’m frozen in time. The entire hospital will come to a standstill. Yet I don’t know half of your names and I should.
You are the ones that clean urine out of the sinks and human excrement off the floors. You mop liters of blood and vomit off walls and tiles, and IV poles and monitors. You scrub down Covid-covered bed frames, hepatitis- and HIV-soiled linens, and surround yourself with more guts and gore and hazardous waste on a daily basis than most of us would encounter in a lifetime.
You work nights and days, and weekends and all those moments when others might be sitting at home contemplating a day of blessings and sparklers and tinsel and turkey—and you do it mostly for survival and for those you love, I imagine.
Us doctors and nurses, we save the lives of some horribly injured and ill people on a daily basis. The carnage left in its wake is at times the stuff of our darkest nightmares. Now the world shines this light on us and the incredible first responders providing care in this dangerous of times.
But I see you—wiping, washing, disinfecting, polishing, mopping, and making sure that room is sterile and safe and clean and ready for the next father or mother or son or daughter.
You are my heroes, you are my salvation in this time of Covid.
You are housekeeping . . . please tell me your name.
Dr. Louis M. Profeta is an emergency physician practicing in Indianapolis and a member of the Indianapolis Forensic Services Board. He is a national award-winning writer, public speaker and one of LinkedIn's Top Voices and the author of the critically acclaimed book, The Patient in Room Nine Says He's God. Feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org is welcomed. For other publications and for speaking dates, go to louisprofeta.com. For college speaking inquiries, contact email@example.com.