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What a time to be alive!

By Ketnie Aristide, @missketnie

This year has been full of Gratitude, Strength and Compassion.

As I reflect on the year and all of the hardships that we health care providers endured so gracefully; it leaves me speechless. As of December 19, 2020, data from the COVID-19 dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University indicates that out of the 17,466,226 COVID-19 cases; 10,394,286 people recovered.

Now let this sink in. This means that as a healthcare system; our tenacity to face the fear of the unknown, our willpower to go above and beyond for our patients and our critical thinking has nursed over 10 million individuals back to health. Discharged back in the arms of their loved ones and family.

This year our capacity to go beyond the limits of our understanding and well-being was tested. We showed up to work when no one else would. We sacrificed time spent with our family, our vacation and personal time off because we knew that the lives of our patients depended on our care and judgment. We compromised our health and safety, our wellness and gave all that we had left in us day and night. We worked tirelessly and executed every task, procedures and skills with so much grace as if we were previously trained in preparation for the most impactful pandemic since the Spanish Flu and the most severe since the Black Death.

As a novice registered nurse; I never thought that 6 weeks out of training that I would be taking care of some of the most critically-ill patients ever in my career. I work alongside brilliant nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists and nurse assistants.

We became each other’s source of support. We leaned on each other for comfort.

Our colleagues became the family that we couldn’t go home to. We cried and laughed together. In our darkest times, we served as each other’s cook, caretaker, comic relief and even therapists.

As someone who comes from a family line of doctors, nurses and nurse assistants; working alongside my aunt and uncle who are both physicians in New York City has been incredible. The support and appreciation received from my family, close friends and even strangers is one of a kind.

As I carefully type these words, I can’t help but be thankful for this precious gift of life that often times get taken for granted. As a COVID-19 survivor, I know this may sound cheesy but I am grateful for my lungs’ capacity to expand fully. If you’re reading this, even though you weren’t diagnosed with the Corona Virus, you are a survivor.

You survived one of the most trying years of this century. A year of uncertainties, of broken hearts and destroyed lives. You spent months learning to cope with overnight changes happening at your hospital, within your community and household. You developed coping mechanisms, became a budget expert, mentored a new nurse, started a small business, bought a home and even got married. You are badass.

As the year comes to an end, I want you to do yourself a favor and leave behind all of your doubts and insecurities. Burry deep down the negativities and anything that stops you from being the best version of you.

Be kind to yourself and good to others. Forgive more, love deeper and laugh a ton for tomorrow is not promised!

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