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COVID-19: Guelph nurse shares raw, heartfelt poem about the past few weeks

Brittney Campagnolo wrote a poem about her experiences of the past few weeks. And it might make you cry.
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Brittney Campagnolo at work. Submitted photo

Guelph resident Brittney Campagnolo is a nurse at Cambridge Memorial Hospital and Sick Kids in Toronto. She has shared her thoughts and experiences of the past few weeks in a heartfelt, raw and honest poem. With her permission, her mother Janice Champion shared the poem with GuelphToday.

It’s 3am
Why am I awake?
Need to turn off my mind
But this dread I just can’t shake

I have an ICU shift today
How will it be?
Will there be enough masks?
I guess we shall see

I’ve been wearing the same mask
Now for 12 hours
They say I’m a super hero
But where are my powers?

I feel drained, raw and scared
A parent said my eyes were tired 
Do I pick my health or my patients?
If I pick mine will I be fired?

I have a family at home
What about them?
Will I get them sick? 
It's not an if but a when

Did I sanitize everything after my shift?
What if I missed a germ
Now it’s in my house
That’s my biggest concern

I would never forgive myself
If I brought home this bug
Maybe I should live somewhere else
All alone with nobody to hug

Should I quarantine myself 
And not see my kids for a long time?
Make the questions stop
I need a glass of wine 

People are dying alone
With nobody to hold their hand
Can you imagine that being your family member?
This is serious, I need you to understand

You need an N95
No surgical masks will be just fine
Actually a bandana will do
Please make up your mind

I’m usually the one
That is relaxed, cool and calm
But sometimes as a bedside nurse
There’s nobody to tell what’s going wrong 

When you have nobody to vent to
Your feelings get confused and lost,
Talk it out and let it free or
You’ll end up paying a big big cost

My mental health is cracking
No it’s permanently broken
I don’t even know this reflection
Of that person who has just spoken

Give your frontline workers
A virtual kiss and hug 
We are so so stressed
About catching this damn bug

Don’t judge us if we are grumpy
We’ve got a lot on our plate
We may not don our usual smiles
It’ll come back, just wait

The numbers keep climbing
My worry along with it
Why do I not feel like eating?
Because my stomach is replaced with a pit

We are waiting, waiting, waiting,
For the peak to hit 
The ventilators are being used up
Bit by bit

There are not enough tests
Only the really sick get a swab
I feel gutted for those affected
A silent tear turns into a full blown sob

Devastation in the hot spots
Like the US, Italy, and Spain
I just can’t fathom
The immense amount of pain

Please please don’t let us be next
For our lives we must fight
We must stay strong and knit together
Tighter, tighter, tight

I don’t want to be involved
In the decision of who lives or dies
Please don’t make us make the choice
Of who will lose their life

Some vent on social media
Some of us write poems 
Some use humor to deflect
Whatever you do, just stay home! 

I can’t imagine the stress
Of losing my only income 
I consider my myself fortunate to work
Which is unfortunately more than some

Communities have banded together
It’s so nice to see
Sewing, donations, and socially distant activities
Let’s see more of that please!

I desperately miss the new friends I was making
In the amazing world of axes
I can’t say enough beautiful things about them
In my life they have made an amazing impact

A BIG shoutout to my husband
Who has been holding down the fort
Chef, child minder and teacher 
With all this going on his temper is never short

My sister is a welcome presence
Gives us a much needed break
She’s awesome with the kids
Favorite activity has been the cupcakes they baked

I can’t wait to see my family and friends
What will we do when this is all done?
I will never take anything for granted again
I can’t wait to smile, starring at the summer sun 

They ask me what my skill set is
Will I have to float to a different floor?
Oh my gosh my poor ears
They are just so damned sore

Did I mention I’m exhausted? 
Even my bones are tired
Never did I imagine all this
When I was a baby nurse newly hired

I’m in an immense amount of pain 
With nobody to help me
Physio and RMTs are Nonessential 
How can that be?

Bathing in Icy Hot
Turning to pain pills 
I won’t be able to work soon
And neither will my valuable skills

Sometimes I wake up
And feel like I can conquer the day
Sometimes everything feels hopeless
And just want it to all go away 

I really need a break
But many people need me
My patients, my kids, my family 
I sometimes wish I had less responsibility

I haven’t drank, I have peed
For I have a mask stuck to my face
When I take it off for my break
I’m supposed to put it in this little paper case

My mind says let’s get in shape
It’s the perfect time lets go!
My poor broken body says
Are you kidding, I don’t fucking think so

Feels like I’m half-assing this mom thing
Homeschooling, what’s that? 
The kids are having another meltdown
Now they’re in timeout, come we need to chat

I should discuss end of life wishes
But then that would make it all too real
Angry, sad, frustrated, scared 
I don’t know what to feel

Nobody can fight this alone
We must all band together as one
Keep the course, trust each other
And this will all soon be done 

Each time I wake up
It’s takes a bit for reality to sink in
Those moments are peaceful and kind
And then it all comes crashing like a punch on the chin

I don’t want to live in this kind of world 
I didn’t sign up for this
I don’t want this for my kids
Yeah, yeah you the gist

I also flip
Into appreciation mode
Thankful it’s not the dead of winter 
And freezing cold 

Dearest Canadians
And fellow world humans,
Everyone is stressed and the unknown is scary
For we don’t know what is looming

Hold each other’s virtual hand
Hold it strong and tight
We need each other more than ever
To win this horrible fucking fight