Words of Encouragement from Local Schools
Dr. Jason Van Winkle reads words of encouragement from local schools for those on the front lines fighting COVID-19.
Melanie Cole: This is the Evergreen Health Podcast on COVID-19 dated April 7th, 2020. Welcome. This is Checkup Chat with Evergreen Health. I'm Melanie Cole and today we're reading words of encouragement from elementary school children for the evergreen health staff. Joining me to do this is Dr. Jason Van Winkle. He's an Infectious Disease Travel Medicine and Wound Care Physician with Evergreen Health, Dr. Van Winkle, what a pleasure and a joy to have you on to give us a little bit of hope and encouragement in these unprecedented times. Before we get to these letters, how are you all doing? How are you holding up?
Dr. Van Winkle: You know, I think we're actually doing surprisingly well. We've seen a little bit of the gamut of emotions as we've been working in this last month. I was actually on call for two different hospitals when we had our first case that we knew in our hospital and I have seen the staff have an amazing amount of resiliency over a month, and it's almost like these somewhat set into a new norm for right now. It's like we've endured this sprint and now we're in for the marathon.
Host: And as far as your staff, how are they feeling?
Dr. Van Winkle: So I'll speak for myself and I think that my staff mainly echoes what I'm feeling. You know, I feel for one that I'm really thankful that I get to serve my patients and my community. You know, I feel like we are really part of our community in this and I think our community is proud of us. And that feels really good as we work our best to help serve them.
Host: That's great. And thank you again for all the work that you're doing. So tell us about these letters and what's going on. What kind of letters have you received?
Dr. Van Winkle: Well, my wife, when all this started thought, man, how can we encourage the people at the hospital? And so she, through kind of social media at my kid's elementary school and through some other local places said, hey, if you can think about it, maybe drop off a letter in this box at our front door and we'll bring it by the hospital for the doctors. And so, I've got just piles of letters from elementary school aged kids. Some from middle school, a big stack of them have, you know, coffee cards in them and other ones just have writing and they're pretty special.
Host: How wonderful is that? That they're actually writing letters. Please read some of them for us Doctor Van Winkle.
Dr. Van Winkle: Okay. Let me, let me read a couple of these to you. So here's one on the front. It says stay strong. And it says, stay strong when things get hard and when people stop believing because you will always fight like a warrior and always believe in yourself because your perseverance can inspire people and that can save lives. Here's one, I like this one. The virus came without a warning and you got to work, and you deserve to be thanked. And my thanks might not be a big one, but I will offer you a thank you. Thank you. Explanation point. Some of them are really beautiful. I wish you could see them like they're hand painted and this one says thank you for helping everyone with COVID-19. Thank you for keeping us safe. And warning us on how to stay safe. I appreciate everything you do to help us. I hope you like this homemade card, X, O, X O.
And then here one that kind of just tells you a little bit into how the kids are processing all of this. But it is a pop out one. When you open it up, there is a heart that pops out that says thank you so much, but then it says thank you for helping other people and you try as much as possible to keep them alive, from and then it has her name. So sweet. And then here's one that actually my 10 year old daughter wrote and she used a bunch of stickers that have words and it says you are the best. Everything you do helps us a lot. If you get tired, just shake it off because what you're doing is amazing, fantastic, and one of the kind, it's a wonderful day when you are there to help us. And it says my daughter's name, so I like that one, of course.
Host: That is precious. Absolutely precious. Dr. Van Winkle, where are these cards?
Dr. Van Winkle: So they are just in a big old box sitting here next to me and I'm going to go around the hospital and pass them out.
Host: So before we wrap up, what would you personally like to tell the community and these children that made these cards for you? What would you like to tell them at this time when not only are they concerned for themselves, but absolutely concerned for you and thankful that you're there?
Dr. Van Winkle: First of all, say thank you for the cards. This really makes us happy and encourages us to the hospital. I want to say to them, hang in there. Stay strong. I know that this is a little different than you're used to, but we're going to do a great job of caring for everyone here. And we're encouraged to do that by your sweet words.
Host: Doctor Van Winkle. That really is lovely. And thank you again for everything that you're doing on the front lines. And please thank your staff as well. Evergreen Health invites you and your family to do your part in spreading the message. Be safe, stay home and help flatten the curve. Snap a selfie and post it on social media with the hashtags, Hashtag Evergreen Health. Hashtag flatten the curve. Hashtag stay home. And hashtag stay home saves lives. And you can visit the Coronavirus Hub for the most Up To Date information regarding COVID-19. This is Melanie Cole. Thank you so much for joining us.