Methodist Healthcare System | Keeping Well | Winter 2023

KEEPINGWELL —WINTER 2023 Caring for the caregivers: A backseat view of a frontline crisis By Cheri Love-Moceri There are only a handful of moments in life that, when reflected upon, we remember exactly where we were, and all the vivid, little details of the moment, as if time stood still long enough for our mind to sketch its picture. Tuesday, May 24, 2022, would sadly deliver one of those unforgettable moments. I think we all remember where we were when news broke that 19 children and two adults were killed in the senseless shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. And though the emotions of that horrific day can be easily recalled, I find myself more often reflecting on the day after...the day when communities from miles around rushed to the aid of a historically sleepy town to offer their skills, their hands, and their hearts. I was blessed to bear witness to that humanity swell up like a tidal wave when I was invited to travel with our EMS Relations Managers and their dogs as they ran towards the anxious, Chanel (above) and Lady (below) spread the love. broken spirits waiting for them in Uvalde. I accompanied Brandon Miller and Chanel, Frankie Trifilio and Lady, and Jason Miller and Fresca. As we drove to Uvalde, I was struck by the unexpected level of research done and the orchestration necessary to arrange for the dogs to visit the healthcare workers and first responders. Frankie had already connected with Uvalde’s Incident Command Post, Region 20 Incident Response Team, Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council, and multiple first-responder agencies. Our first stop was the hospital. Once inside, the team immediately began making connections to staff, letting the dogs serve as a friendly handshake to those they approached. We first visited the ER, followed by the surgical floor, and then the rehabilitation unit. In each location, the men would read the room and pinpoint an area or person that gave nonverbal cues of being in distress. Sometimes they would go up to the staff member and introduce their dog. Other times, they would strategically position themselves and wait for the doctor, nurse, or tech to slowly engage with the dogs in their own time, often sneaking in a gentle pet or quick scratch behind the ear, careful to not draw too much attention to themselves. Time and again, I watched 4 Chanel providing comfort to ICU staff. Time and again, I watched the dogs create a portal to safety, giving people permission to let their guard down, tears drop, smiles expand, and simply feel.” “