In Your Own Words: Emily Miller, M.D., MS, FAAP

KMA is sharing the first-person accounts of physicians from across the state as they prepare for and battle the COVID-19 pandemic. These stories will also be published at kyma.org/covid19. If you are interested in submitting an account, please email Emily Schott, schott@kyma.org

KMA spoke to Emily Miller, M.D., MS, FAAP Neonatal Fellow with the UofL Department of Pediatrics regarding her experience.

I mentally prepare for my first hospital shift since the pandemic started. My hands skip over the neatly hung professional clothes and quickly pull scrubs from a pile. I tie my hair back into a ponytail. This feels so foreign. I try to calm the anxiety as I kiss everyone goodbye. I drink my coffee quickly; I don’t want to risk taking it into the hospital. I mute WFPL’s morning report – I feel like the weight of it will break me this morning. I recall the last few week’s events in silence.

As a Neonatal Medicine fellow just three months from graduation, my family of six was gearing up for big life changes – new job, new city, new house – when my husband and I suddenly found ourselves homeschooling our older two children and our income cut in half due to my husband’s abrupt furlough. With daycare also closed, I found myself hoarding moments with my children, time that had been precisely rationed for sports practices, Girl Scout meetings, and birthday parties. But now the moments are abundant – early morning coffee on the back porch with my rosy-cheeked eleven-month-old; a front-yard bouquet of flowers from my rambunctious three-year-old; watching my anxious six-year-old ride her bike without training wheels for the first time.

I take one last, deep breath. I won’t take my mask off for the next twenty-eight hours as I rush premature infants away from their intubated mothers. Some families will be separated for weeks due to quarantine restrictions. I pray there will be no deaths. Tomorrow I will be exhausted, but content. I am unspeakably grateful to be part of this battle. I am terrified for the day I lose a colleague in the fight. I am overwhelmed with the magnitude of it all. And I am ready and willing pull out another pair of scrubs and do it all again the next day.