Female medical professional writing.

55 Word Stories

UMMC COVID-19 Support

55 Word Stories

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UMMC COVID-19 Stories

During this unexpectedly emotional and stressful time, members of medical communities like UMMC often neglect their own well-being as they focus on the immediate needs of others. By sharing stories, however, we can express our fears, challenges, triumphs and tragedies and reconnect to our colleagues, friends, and even ourselves. In this spirit, UMMC’s Office of Well-Being in collaboration with the Center of Bioethics and Medical Humanities is joining other institutions like Emory and University of Washington Medical School in offering a platform to enable any member of the UMMC community to share COVID-19 experiences and reflections (maximum 55 words).

This forum will help us understand, appreciate, or process something about this pandemic and the ways it has radically changed our everyday lives, particularly for those here at UMMC. We invite ALL members of the UMMC community to contribute their short reflections here. You may prefer to identify yourself or post anonymously.
The stories are posted below are 55 words or shorter and are published with permission. Be sure to count your words before submitting if you'd like to see your story published.

What is Most Important

Before mid-March, life was a blur. Hurry to get my kid to school, speed to work, run to meetings, dash to the parking lot (late) to get to practice, church, games, etc… Then the fear set in and it all stopped. Goal now is to hug my baby and savor the moments.

Anonymous, Manager

I am both...

Grateful for employment and hurt for those who lost jobs.

Thankful for health and bewildered by disregard for science.

Appreciative of love and disgusted by hatred and brutality.

A citizen and one who will never fully belong.

Smart enough to know this isn’t all COVID’s fault and naïve enough to hope for better.

Anonymous, Project Manager

The Undivine Comedy

You can treat disease, but not willful ignorance. Conspiracy theorists, toilet paper hoarders, lockdown protestors, and other definitions of The American Idiot plastered newsfeeds. But qualified medical professionals? Silenced by misinformation & denial. All those years devoted to practicing healthcare, reduced to mockery by those you’re trying to save. Is this a pandemic or purgatory?

Chelle Licci, Pharmacy Student - PY4



To search not the treasures of


Bishoy Samuel, Resident Physician

How it feels...

I feel defeated. Workloads are piling up, and friends lost their job yesterday. I feel grateful. I’m healthy, employed, and can still support my family. I’m tired. Each day, more of what’s not been completed the days before piles up a work and at home. I’m hopeful because we will beat this. #UMMCStrong

Anonymous, Director

Opposites in a Pandemic

I am okay with wearing a mask and with social distancing. I can roll with the punches through these changes. But not him. He is angry seeing those with masks. He is angry with the shutdown. He is angry with decisions of government and medical professionals. I am afraid this pandemic may end us.

Anonymous, Nurse

Quick Cry

Crying- a daily thing. Sometimes long; more often quick. Sometimes from a fading memory of our past life, a freedom that’s gone. Not freedom in the political sense, freedom from fear. My family doesn’t understand. I have underlying health conditions. I once learned that tears from grief are healing. If so, I’m making good progress.

Anonymous, Faculty

 Lost World

Walking to my office through the School of Medicine building, footsteps echo in the emptiness, no signs of human habitation. I am a character in a post-apocalyptic story roaming through the architectural remains of a prior civilization. I long for the return of vital signs and vital sounds to our world.

Ralph Didlake, Academic Administration

On the Lighter Side Because Humor=Medicine

It’s OK with me if the workplace handshake goes the way of the dodo, but what I will not accept is the loss of workplace birthday celebrations or holiday potlucks. Because imagining a work world without the possibility of cake... or holiday desserts… I mean c’mon… is inconceivable! #BringBackCake! I hope this made you smile.

Vickie Skinner, Director

Keep the Faith

When the troubles of life dim our outlook on the future, sometimes it's easy to lose heart and lose hope. We must never forget that God is the God of promises. Stay encouraged and keep your trust in Him.


Finding Courage Through Fear

Covid-19 brings fear to my mind. Health care workers courageously care for the sick.Everyday I pray as I put my scrubs on , that I find the courage to look beyond the fear, and find hope and healing. At home I fear again, but courage will come when the sun rises

Michelle Sheth, Physician

 5 things I learnt from COVID-19

Nothing stays the same for ever and the only constant thing in life is change. Never say Never! Covid-19 in 90 days changed the world forever. Always be ready. The Boys Scout anthem is as true today as ever. Begin preparing for the next battle now! Our world is fallen, no matter how developed!

Tobe Momah, Physician

Thanks for Stepping Up?

We were asked to step up, be what UMMC has always been and we did! We stepped out of comfort zones, as we were asked. Overcame fears for self, coworkers and loved ones. Now a new fear - will we lose jobs, will our pay be cut – this is the thanks for stepping up?



Our colony is disturbed, The grist split

By the tiniest of beings. 

Our smiles are masked, Critical meetings scuttled

By the tiniest of beings.

We fix our heart's hurt, Shore each other up

With the tiniest of things.

The elbow bumps, The yielding of space, Our care for each other.

The tiniest of things.

Kathleen Glover, Physician

a deep connection

During this season I have witnessed our wonderful providers volunteer selflessly to take additional duties so that other faculty (moms of small children) could balance life's responsibilities (school/childcare). Sweet words of appreciation have flowed among group texts. This served as a reminder of the deep fondness for dear friends and colleagues during a difficult period.

Anonymous, Administrator

 Missing Out

My first grand baby is seven weeks old. I’ve held her twice since COVID started. I took for granted that I would be there for the first everything’s. I’ve missed a lot. Even so, I’m incredibly proud to work for UMMC. I work with the best of the best. They are all heroes.

Kim Maddox, Communications Specialist

Everyone is Affected

In pediatrics we naively thought we would be affected less by COVID than others but that’s not true. We may have a lower census, but our patients are very much affected. They are scared and their comforts have been taken away. No playroom, no hugs shared, no smiles seen under masks—I miss them all.

Anonymous, Physician


Hard to understand how a gift can include much tragedy and loss, but I consider this experience a gift to know the value of time and intention. Help me not to forget...


I Threw My Pen Away

Don’t touch the door knob. The gas pump! The groceries are contaminated, clean them. Don’t touch your face. Don’t stand near me. Don’t touch your friend. Don’t touch my pen. Don’t cough. Don’t breathe; I heard a cough. Don’t touch your face. I touched my face. Again.

Anonymous, Admin

Outsider Looking In

An outsider looking in; sat in on a COVID-19 Senior Leader meeting. I listening to leaders work through challenges and was completely overwhelmed with emotion and pride at their commitment/creativity/teamwork. They weren’t just solving problems for UMMC. They were solving problems for all of Mississippi. Their battle cry-“We Will Not let Mississippi Down”! #SOPROUD #UMMCSTRONG

Rebecca Keefer, Staff


Suddenly full time employee, homeschooling single mom of two, nowhere to go and nothing to distract. Where is the focus? Now where it is supposed to be; quality time for work and home, revamp of perceptions of importance, and overcoming obstacles. Crisis? Or essential life reevaluation for moving forward?

Cassandra Bailey, Sterile Processing


The meaning of alone time has changed. I'm a bit antisocial. People bug me. I like being alone, or I thought I did. No option to see and hug my dear friends, I’m so much more aware that I need people. Not just need – I want people around me. Maybe I’m not antisocial after all.

Anonymous, Helper

In God we "Still" Trust

Life and Death are unstoppable. We either live or die for a reason. Trusting, God is in control comforted my heart. I realized that running away from suffering is not a solution and there is no shortcut to overcome that. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent. (exodus 14:14)

Anonymous, Researcher III

Whats next

I am an Pulmonary RN. Covid is a nightmare for our patients. I felt lots of anxiety at first, wondering what's next? If it were not for the physicians I work with the anxiety would cripple me. However, working for calm, capable MD's and faith help me NOT fear what's next.

Bethany May, RN-BSN

Stop and Smell the Roses

Coming to work in the midst of this COVID-19 palaver, my spirit was down. As I passed through SON walkway, I stopped in admiration of a bird clothed in beautiful plumage. Few steps further, I saw a little troll on the window just dancing away. I was amused. These little creatures sure brightened my day!

Anonymous, Registered Nurse

When will it end

Initial worry, anxiety, fear. Will I or a loved one catch it, die? As time progresses, fear turns into frustration turns into despair. The future is nebulous. The world will never be the same. I just want the old world back.


Anonymous, Administrative Assistant II

Distancing in a Time of Pandemic

Co-parenting is never easy, but COVID-19 has brought a new level of stress and misery to the situation. After an initial quarantine apart for nearly a month, I have now agreed to only see my son every other weekend. Going from 50/50 custody to less than 20/80 is a heavy burden and an unexpected loss.

Anonymous, Analyst

This Too Shall Pass

Wearing a mask is a necessity. For one hearing-impaired person like me that read lips in a crowded situation, I feel more alone in a much busier world. In the words of my loving grandmother, every hardship makes you stronger. Keep your head up, and remember, "This Too Shall Pass".

Amy Easterling, Epic Analyst

New Norm

Work from home. Don’t work from home. Shuttle changes=come prepared to walk. Online school. Zoom abuse. Tissue/Paper towel shortage. Clorox/Lysol/Pine-Sol/Sanitizer/Wipes=extinct. Online shopping. Estimated shipping dates are wrong. Customer service=AWOL. Malls closed. Retail therapy=not what it used to be. Curbside. Delivery. Social Distancing. Masks everywhere. Coughing=weird looks from strangers. This is now the new norm.

Anonymous, Data Abstractor


I was blind!

I thought I was gifted with sight, but COVID-19 taught me I was blind. I am losing my best friend to COVID, but gaining insight of myself. Before COVID, I didn’t notice the sun nor the singing bird or a cry; I am grateful that now I do, AND I CARE!

Raymundo Hernandez, Manager

Damage Not Done

I’m looking up, gasping for breath. Shielded, PPE-covered faces all around me. Their eyes exhausted, worried, but determined…. Only this never happened. Doctors take an oath to “do no harm.” All I have to do is work from home. We’ll never know how bad it could have been—for us or for them. 

Anonymous, Research

The Dawn of a New Day

The whole world is at a standstill! Chaos in every corner! How much longer shall we endure the grief, the pain, the agony of this hour? Then, I remember, ‘tis the darkest hour of the night that breaks forth into the dawn of a new day. So I cheer up, this too shall pass.

Joy Akanji, Nurse Manager

Cultivating Comfort in the time of COVID19

“When’s dinner?” Eerie nostalgic voices, not desperate but determined. Children back home from college, work, for safe-keeping, satisfying adult self-portraits casting child-like shadows and activating instinctual, mothering comfort scripts. But powerless to comfort my professional family, healthcare Heros, from my fortified sanctuary. Only words on a screen—my admiration and gratitude. 

Tanja Bisesi, Wellness Officer and Faculty

COVID-19 Molasses

Walking through days, and then weeks, and soon months of COVID-19 is physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausting. Why? I can’t put my finger on it. But every day feels like slogging through molasses. And so I nap. And I bake bread. And I dream of the day when I walk freely again. 

Anonymous, Professor

Hardship and Humor

As an Oncologist, I see sadness and loss every day. One particularly hard day, I rounded on multiple patients dying from cancer who could not be surrounded by all of their family. I am relying on humorous moments such as having my 3-year old and 6-year old help cut Daddy’s hair to brighten these days!

Kelly Wilkinson, Physician


Fear of what’s to come, the unknowns, the uncertainty. Who and what will I lose? Who, what and where will I be on the other side of this? Is there another side? Followed by the warmth of gratitude and beautiful sights surrounding me-altruism, fearlessness, compassion, togetherness, love. The ebb and flow of inspiration and despair.

Kim Barrier, Nurse

What Matters

Ding. Outlook calendar reminders. I’m a planner; notifications are usually welcome. They’re now relics of a past life. Some are faculty reminders; many are favorite kids’ events; others are appointments. All are cancelled. All matter less now. Family members are frontline providers. They matter. Flatten the curve; then we get back to other matters.

Kayla Abraham, MA, OTR/L

Reflection and New Lens for the Future

Dazed, then it hit me. What have I missed that matters in life? • Talking 10 minutes more to mom, kids, grands, my sister-in-law, & husband • Looking at the sky at night and morning since joy comes in the morning • Saying thank you for a job, food, and shelter • Speaking and smiling to everyone I meet.

Penny Rogers


Initial models said millions to die. Fear. Lockdowns. Businesses shuttered, furloughs, pay cuts, jobs lost, bankruptcies. Great Depression? Children can't play with friends, can’t go to parks. Birthday parties canceled. No Little League. No prom. No graduation. No church. New data, most cases mild, unrecognized. Fatality risk similar to flu. Overreacted. Oops. Damage done.


Fear of Infecting

Twice I went to bed certain that when I woke, I would be fully symptomatic. Both times, I dreamed of being tested, verified, and despite my best efforts, coming into contact with all vulnerable people I know and love, and thinking of the many favorite patients that I unwittingly exposed to the virus.



Alone Time

Thirty-minute phone calls replace two-hour Sunday dinners. Miss you, Mom, Miss you, Dad. Air kisses from my lawn to their car. No church, no yoga, no concerts. No Saturday nights out. Like the man from Twilight Zone, now that I have all the time in the world, I’m not sure I want it.

Tara Brock


Not being able to go home and see my elderly grandmother is so heartbreaking, but knowing I am helping to keep her healthy brings me relief.


Confessions of a Teleworker

I got up after 5 hours on my computer, put on my mask, crept to Chick-Fil-A's drive-thru for a cookies and cream shake (Vitamin D - don't judge), then saw two police cars screaming by as I left the line. Followed briskly from a distance, then lost them. That's my external affair for the day. I'm COVID-free and staying (home) that way.


Light Amidst the Darkness

First – I only saw the darkness COVID-19 brought with it. Anxiety, fear, suffering, isolation, death. Once I accepted the situation for what it is and channeled my energy towards helping others - I saw the growing light… of kindness, support, leadership, community, solidarity. We will emerge out of this – brighter and stronger than ever before!

Rinki Desai, Speech-Language Pathologist

Chik-fil-A Almost Every Day

Finding a way to the next right thing is showing gratitude in times of uncertainty and chaos; truly an attempt-worth feat. The alternative is to lie, if not to let something more important and precious die. Together: patient, doctor, nurse, cafeteria server - we will forever see each other all though more gratitude-filled eyes.

Richard M. Wardrop III, Faculty


Telecommuting. More meetings packed into one day, don’t need time to walk across campus. Some people use cameras, others don’t, so sort of connected with colleagues. Alone, quiet, no hallway conversations, no handshakes, no hugs. There is a face on a screen, but I am alone. We are social creatures something is not right.