She hung up the phone and stared at the screen, her eyes red, swollen. There before her were message upon message, email upon email - her work queue. Others around her tried not to notice. But it was clear that something was wrong. Some had tried a box of caramels, others a Kleenex. Finally, the screen became blurred as her eyes became flooded. She whispered, "I'll be okay," as she tried not to be noticed. "Really, it's just been a bad day. I'd rather not talk about it."
Was it a phone call? A patient, frustrated with the schedule? Was it the realization that one more schedule was being changed at the last minute? An impossible amount of work still to go? Maybe something at home or about a friend?
Perhaps it was all of these.
Every day, every hour, there are health care workers across this land and around the world feeling the strain. They are swimming upstream constantly. Things aren't getting easier. They must do more with less. They are the quiet, small ones - the ones who never complain - the real workers that care.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, "Labor Day ... is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."
In a way, that's too bad.
Labor Day should really be about the workers, not the collective output of those workers. Too often we don't acknowledge the value of these caring individuals over their "social and economic achievements."
Enjoy your time off today because, really, this day is about you.