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LETTER: ‘We see you’ says ICU nurse to Kelowna General Hospital protesters

‘You have no idea what goes on within these walls. You don’t see us’
Roughly 1,000 people gathered and protested COVID-19 health measures outside of the hospital on Sept. 1, 2021. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)

The Capital News has chosen to run this letter from a Kelowna General Hospital nurse anonymously after verifying their identity. The writer requested anonymity due to fear of repercussions from their employer.

To the editor:

To the 1,000 or so protesting outside Kelowna General Hospital on Wednesday — we see you.

How could we not? The screaming, yelling, honking. It’s hard to miss.

You were seeking more attention, and you got it. Congratulations. You live in a free society, and you got noticed. We saw you.

To the people yelling, swearing, and fingering hospital staff on the skywalk — we see you.

To the people shouting at staff that we were ‘part of the problem’ — we see you.

To the four vehicles circling the block repeatedly honking your horns to make it seem like there were more supportive vehicles than there actually were — we see you.

To the people blocking the sidewalks and roads impeding patients/staff/visitors from getting to the hospital — we see you.

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I came out of my nursing shift in the ICU for five minutes and linked arms with my colleagues while turning our collective backs to you. But I saw other things too.

To the 361,000 other Okanagan residents who weren’t there — we see you too.

To the mystery donor(s) who funded lunch for many of the hospital staff through the KGH auxiliary — we see you too.

To the unit who sent a card and gift to the ICU staff on Wednesday — we see you too.

To the anonymous donor of coffee to the ICU night shift — we see you too.

To the many kind words shared in person and online —we see you too.

To the local businesses struggling through COVID who are once again cutting their bottom line to extend offers to health care workers — we see you too.

In a career of ICU nursing, I have seen SARS, H1N1, Ebola, and many more. COVID has been a game-changer. Our ICU is completely full and overflowing with COVID patients. Many of them continue to die.

You have no idea what goes on within these walls. You don’t see us.

I’m not debating the merits of why you were protesting. Choosing to protest at your hospital because of a government policy you don’t like is a soldier bombing the Red Cross because they’re upset at their military leaders — completely misdirected, thoughtless, and attention-seeking behaviour.

But guess what. We all set our alarm clocks to get up the next morning and come into work and do it again. You didn’t hurt us. You didn’t break us. You didn’t change us. You just demonstrated to the community who you are and what you’re made of, as unflattering as that is. Thanks for making that crystal clear. Don’t worry. We see you.

Anonymous ICU nurse

Kelowna, B.C.