I was adjusting my camera phone as I listened to my client’s birth story during her initial postpartum visit. I was hoping my anger, frustration, and anxiety were not obvious. She had recently had a C-section. This client is developmentally delayed, not in a way that’s obvious, but she is aware of her own disabilities. As I was listening, I realized how much her birth experience, discharge, and postpartum care were impacted by COVID-19.
She was discharged so quickly, without all the proper instructions. As she continued with her story, I felt these feelings arise. Frustration that I could not be there to check on her, educate her on basic things she needed. Frustration that as much as I tried to explain things to her, she could not fully grasp concepts. Anxiety that I could not see how she was mixing the breastmilk with the formula and check on the baby. Anxiety that I could not be there to check on mom’s well-being and give her proper instructions on how to use the blood pressure cuff that was mailed to her. Anger that she did not have a follow-up appointment set up. Anger at my own limitation through this phone. Anger that COVID-19 has amplified the health disparities for my clients.
Frustration, anxiety, and anger that I cannot be the nurse I used to be…and awareness that I must now figure out new ways to be there for my clients, through the lens of a phone.