April 20, 2020
EP. 212 — EMT In The Epicenter
The emergency calls are at an all time high but she says “the darkness makes the light seem brighter”. Geth helps lighten the mood by talking about the haunted spots in her Long Island hometown and they bond over their shared psych med prescriptions.
212 — EMT In The Epicenter
[00:00:05] CHRIS: Hello to all my smooth welders. It’s Beautiful Anonymous. One hour. One phone call. No names, no holds barred.
[00:00:18] THEME MUSIC: I’d rather go one-on-one. I think it’ll be more fun and I’ll get to know you and you’ll get to know me.
[00:00:28] CHRIS: [music transition] Hello, everybody. Chris Gethard here as always, hoping that anyone listening to this is safe, healthy, taking care of the people you love. All those good things very sincerely mean it. Thank you for checking in with Beautiful Anonymous. I really hope this show provides you the ability just to hear someone else for an hour. You know, all of us feel cooped up. You don’t get to hear from people. I really hope we’ve been providing that service for you. I mean it. I really mean it. A lot of the calls we’re prioritizing right now I will tell you, are let’s get stuff that’s not related to the crisis, the quarantine, the COVID. Give people an hour of escapism. However, we’re also getting some calls that are just ground level personal looks into what’s happening. This is one of those. So it’s a beautiful call. Our caller tonight is an EMT in Long Island, which I’m sure we’ve all heard originally was my neighborhood in Queens, which we talk about. But now they’re saying that the curve’s starting to flatten in Queens, but it’s moving out to Long Island. Long Island’s still in the thick of it. So this is someone who’s I mean, riding around in an ambulance in perhaps the area of the country that is dealing with it the most right now. So couple of things I want to say about it. One. Anytime there’s stuff with medical stuff, I wanna say this show, we don’t research, we don’t fact check it. We’re not journalists. We let people tell their own stories in their own words. But it’s really I mean, at times it’s grim, at times it’s frustrating, at times it’s very inspiring. She tells her story beautifully. Also, there are some diversions in there that I think are well worth your time. We had a lot of laughs talking about Wellbutrin, about satanic houses, about getting hit on, about all kinds of things in there. So again, as always, when you talk to another human being for an hour, they come in with the story they want to tell and we discuss it. And you can’t help but realize along the way that people are well-rounded. There’s laughs to be found. There’s moments of levity, there’s moments of distraction and I think this is a good one to listen to, especially if you want to hear what’s going on from somebody who’s right there, right in the face of it, everyday, away from the sensationalism, away from the clickbait-y headlines. This is what it really is.
[00:02:50] PHONE ROBOT: Thank you for calling Beautiful Anonymous. A beeping noise will indicate when you are on the show with the host. [Beep]
[00:02:57] CALLER: Hello?
[00:02:59] CHRIS: Hello?
[00:03:00] CALLER: Hello! This is Chris Gethard, isn’t it?
[00:03:04] CHRIS: It is. It is. Yes. Hello.
[00:03:06] CALLER: How are you? Very interesting to hear – you have a very soothing voice and it’s very interesting to hear that over the phone and not just through the speaker of my computer.
[00:03:17] CHRIS: That’s nice. That’s nice to hear, because I think I’ve mentioned before many times on the show that I revile the sound of my voice. Can’t stand it.
[00:03:28] CALLER: Doesn’t everybody, though?
[00:03:29] CHRIS: Yeah, I think so. I think so. To answer your question, I would say I’m doing good, healthy, in a safe environment. Pretty bored. You know, like we all are. How are you?
[00:03:47] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah. I’m good. I’m as I know you just got the blip. I’m getting ready to go to work in about an hour. I’m working at six o’clock. I start my shift on the ambulance. I’m an EMT in Long Island right now. So it’s been very hectic. I picked up yeah, I picked up some overtime and my…right now, my boyfriend’s walking out. My family, my little brother has asthma and my dad is immuno-compromised so I actually had to move out. And thankfully my boyfriend’s family is very nice and has let me come stay with them so I don’t risk bringing anything home to my own family. But he is also essential. So he’s walking out to work right now and then I’m getting ready to go soon. So, it’s weird ’cause I don’t actually relate to everyone saying, you know, they’re bored and they’re going stir crazy, cabin fever because I’m still out in the world every day.
[00:04:53] CHRIS: That’s wild. And I don’t know how you feel about hearing this over and over again. But I just want to say a huge thank you. Just legitimately in a very real way. Thank you for being on the frontlines of all this.
[00:05:10] CALLER: Yeah. You know, it’s weird. I’ve always…I’ve heard people say, you know talk to like military members that I know and their mixed feelings on people saying thank you for your service to them. And like the feeling of like, well, you know, it’s my job, it’s my duty and I appreciate the support, but all the mixed feelings. And now relating to that, it’s definitely interesting because it’s you know, people say, like, oh you guys are heroes. It’s like, well, this I feel like it’s exactly what you know, I went into this work for to have that calling to step up to the plate when it’s needed. But it’s, yeah it’s a lot of mixed feelings that go with that.
[00:05:59] CHRIS: Yeah, yeah. I’ve seen things that are really inspiring like you know, you see the people at the you know, everybody stopping their day to clap at 7 p.m. and then you see, I’ve seen other things you know, make the rounds online where you see a doctor holding up a sign that says ‘please stop calling me a hero and focus more on getting me masks. I’m putting my life on the line in a way I don’t like.’ And you’re like, oh, OK. Yeah, sobering.
[00:06:32] CALLER: Yeah. No, I – absolutely. Because it’s…the hospitals that I work the amount of what I’ve seen, you know right? The community people lining up on sidewalks to cheer and then you’re like, ‘wow that’s really sweet.’ But then those people lining up on the sidewalks to cheer are wearing you know, gloves and face masks because they’re coming outside to cheer. And it’s also like ‘ugh if you just stayed inside those surgical masks could have been, you could have just donated them to the hospital because, you know, I’m using one surgical mask per shift and one 95 for two, three weeks at a time. And I thank you for the support but also, you know, things could be perhaps done a little more logically.’ But, you know, I don’t fault – I don’t fault people for wanting to say thank you. It’s just there’s no right answers right now, but it’s a lot going on and people are just trying their best.
[00:07:31] CHRIS: Very well intentioned, yet frustrating I would imagine. How long – how many masks would you usually go through for a shift? How long would you usually use one of those N95s?
[00:07:43] CALLER: Yeah. So before this, we’ve always had 95’s on our trucks and it’s kind of weird because I feel like a month ago I would have to be explaining what the differences are, but I feel like everyone is pretty familiar with it now. We’ve always had like a PPE kit stored on the truck in case you walk into any situation where you need it. And they had never been broken into before, for me at least. But now every person in our company is given their own 95 to keep, to look after. And again whereas before, I’d never worn a 95 and I’d only wear a surgical mask if I had a patient – if I had a cough or sneeze or something, I get bad allergies, so I sneeze a lot – so I’ll put on a mask. Honestly, oftentimes more of just a peace of mind thing. So you know some coughing or sneezing, I usually know it’s just my allergies, but I’ll put it on. Or, you know, if someone else I know has a respiratory infection, I would put it on. Now we’re doing it at the start of your shift you get a surgical mask and I wear that all day. And then sometimes I wear the 95 all day or sometimes I take it off just to give myself a little break. But you wear the 95 underneath and the surgical mask on top and you kind of actually do that because then like if someone coughs at you, the surgical mask is almost like protecting the surface of the 95, throws a barrier on top. That’s a very important difference, because I’ve seen a lot of people who wear both but wear the 95 with the surgical mask underneath and that is no bueno because neither of the things can do their job then, there’s no tight seal on the 95 and the surgical mask isn’t protecting it. That’s my little PSA for everybody. If you have both, wear the surgical mask on top. So that’s what we do. We get one surgical mask per shift and if it gets soiled, like if we pick someone up who’s coughing all over us before we’re able to get a mask on them, then I would switch the surgical mask. I think I’ve worn up to three in one shift, but usually it’s just one for the whole shift.
[00:09:54] CHRIS: Wow. That sounds –
[00:10:00] CALLER: Which ideally right – ideally it’d be a different one for each patient.
[00:10:04] CHRIS: Yeah. I mean, like just hearing that you have literally never had to crack it open before. I had no idea. First of all, is every shift, just COVID, COVID, COVID right now?
[00:10:20] CALLER: Yes. So the company I work for does a mix. We are not actually 9-1-1 dispatchers. We’re a private company. So we do a mix of emergency calls, often from like facilities, nursing homes, group homes, that sort of thing, or just people in the neighborhood who are familiar with our organization. And we do hospital discharges as well or transfers between hospitals. And since all of this has started, it’s very – it’s changed from my job being very discharge heavy and a lot of you know, emergencies would be heart attacks or different kinds of infections and a lot of discharges of you know, a lot of old ladies who have broken their hip and were going to rehab. To all of a sudden then, we were for a couple of weeks when this started – for a week I’d say – it was dead because no one was going to the hospital if they didn’t need to be. And no one was being discharged. And it was just the occasional COVID call to now it’s my shifts are usually 13 hours. I’ve been working at least three hours overtime every day now. So usually 16, 17 hour shifts. And they’re just entirely COVID nonstop, either picking someone up who’s in respiratory distress or bringing someone home after they’ve recovered.
[00:11:47] CHRIS: I’ve mentioned on the show a number of times that I live in Jackson Heights and I bet there’s people out there right now listening who have, it’s rung a bell because everybody’s calling it the epicenter of the epicenter. I live two blocks from Elmhurst Hospital and my wife and I, we left the neighborhood. This was before they told everybody, don’t leave. It causes more problems. We would have listened to that obviously, this was before it happened. But we left before Elmhurst was even in the news because we would hear ambulance sirens. And then you’d realize this has faded into background noise because they’re going for 30, 40 minutes straight and then you realize, oh that’s not one ambulance, they’re just rolling in so often the noise never stops.
[00:12:36] CALLER: All day long. I actually – my company, I work in the city, Long Island, kind of everywhere just depending on the shift, I get sent to a different spot. So I’ve been in Elmhurst a couple of times. And the way I described it when I came home is it looked…and this isn’t speaking bad about the hospital, it’s just speaking to the volume of people there, that the only thing I could compare it to was a movie about Pearl Harbor. Like just people everywhere literally could not, not enough room to walk because there were so many patients. And one day when I was there, I actually worked a couple hours overtime because we were bringing so many people out of the E.R. and sending them to other New York City hospitals because Elmhurst had literally hit capacity and they didn’t have any beds left. So they couldn’t accept any new patients. And what was funny was the next day I heard or I read, I read something online, a comment, someone saying that I live right by Elmhurst Hospital and wow we must have peaked because every day prior to this, I’ve heard ambulances going nonstop and I haven’t heard any today. So I guess that’s a good sign. And I kind of had to break the news and say, I’m sorry, it’s actually not a good sign. It’s literally because they hit capacity. So they had to tell ambulance companies, don’t bring any more patients here because we don’t have any more room for them. So, you know, that’s something I’d never even imagine could’ve happened before this.
[00:14:11] CHRIS: It’s really – I don’t want to make it about me, but living in Jackson Heights was terrifying. It was terrifying in the days before I left. And I was lucky enough that a family member had an empty house upstate, but it was scary to the point where I feel like actual tinges of survivor’s guilt where I’m like man, I got to leave and my neighbors didn’t. Fuck like, it was scary. It was scary. And I’ll tell you, you’re being very diplomatic. And I know working in health care, you know, everybody’s allies. I will say the following, but I want to be clear. I’m saying it with great sympathy. I’m not joking and I’m not criticizing and I’m not making fun. Elmhurst. You’re being so kind. Elmhurst is a little rough. It’s a little rough, but it’s not –
[00:15:04] CALLER: Oh, yeah.
[00:15:07] CHRIS: It’s. I want to be clear. And you know this as well as I do. This is not the fault of anybody there. Every borough in New York City has many hospitals. And there’s certain hospitals that it’s very clear…they’re not the most well-funded –
[00:15:20] CALLER: There’s always some that are better than others.
[00:15:22] CHRIS: Yeah, they’re not the most well-funded. They tend to be the ones where maybe the homeless population gets brought to. I know a lot of patients from Rikers get brought there like a lot of the most put upon people wind up at Rikers. And this is not a hospital that…it is not a place where, like, you go down to the lobby and there’s a Starbucks. It’s not one of those. And I’m not making fun. I spent a night there. There was a night –
[00:15:49] CALLER: Oh no, I yeah.
[00:15:51] CHRIS: Rough. Like there was a night where I thought I was having a heart attack and I went there. And it was…it was an eye opening experience because I’m a very privileged person who hasn’t seen that before.
[00:16:03] CALLER: Absolutely. I know the hospitals…there’s hospitals in Brooklyn and Queens that I know you know, I’ve told family, like, if there’s an emergency and that’s the closest one, tell the ambulance crew to take you to this other one instead because you don’t want to go there.
[00:16:16] CHRIS: Yeah.
[00:16:17] CALLER: Which is, I mean, I have an aunt who lives in Brooklyn, and for all intents and purposes, an aunt, you know, a woman close to my family who her son called me. He was very concerned because she’d been fainting, which I quickly realized was because her oxygen levels were so low that whenever she tried to stand up to go to the bathroom, she was fainting. But she wouldn’t go to the hospital because the area around her at the hospitals are notoriously terrible to begin with. And now they’re so overwhelmed that she felt like going to one of those hospitals is going to be a death sentence. So it ended up being that I was actually getting off my shift on the ambulance about that time. And my boyfriend is a saint. It was about 2:00 in the morning and I called him. He had just gotten off his night shift and he drove me. We went to Brooklyn to pick her up, to bring her to a hospital in Nassau County that we knew would be better because the ones – if she had called 9-1-1, the ones that they would have taken her to would have, they’re just, they’re not going to, you know, not to say anything with the staff. But as you said, they’re under-funded, they’re under resourced. And now she’s thankfully got great care at the hospital that she went to. But she just got home and she’s feeling the same thing too. The survivor’s guilt of she’s like, I’m so happy I’m good but, you know, someone in their building just died. And she’s like maybe if they knew someone that could bring them somewhere a little further, they would have been OK.
[00:18:00] CHRIS: Yeah. And it’s also –
[00:18:01] CALLER: I think a lot of this is exposing a lot of like social issues that we all knew were there but are just really more in the forefront now.
[00:18:10] CHRIS: You’re absolutely right. Because I was just going to say these hospitals, let’s face facts not to paint with too broad a brush, but they tend to be in poor neighborhoods, Black neighborhoods. Elmhurst is in an immigrant neighborhood. It’s not uncommon. It’s messed up. And one of the things that I think is not making the news as much as it should about my neighborhood is my guess part of why it’s such an epidemic is all of the so-called essential workers who are your delivery people, restaurant workers. Tons of them in Elmhurst, Jackson Heights because it’s an immigrant neighborhood. So still packed trains because these people are essential. And of course I get it, but they also must feel very expendable. And it’s like you said, exposing that, exposing the social issues of that. You must feel the same way sometimes.
[00:19:05] CALLER: Yeah. That’s a really interesting point. I hadn’t even thought of that the like, you know, you – yeah you obviously know that neighborhoods, especially in New York right near suburbs, are the most divided, segregated. That’s the word I was looking for, segregated area of the country. So you know that that division exists racially, immigrant you know, socioeconomically. But even like you said, the jobs. Just what jobs they have is putting them at a higher risk right now. That’s something I hadn’t even thought about. And that’s absolutely right because there are people, even friends I have who are…who were EMT’s. You know, we get paid poorly. I would literally be making more money on unemployment than I do working full time right now. So I have a lot of friends who like wanted to quit because they live at home with their parents and they know they’ll be okay. But a lot of people don’t have that luxury. They gotta keep going to work. And they know that, right? ‘I shouldn’t be taking the subway. I shouldn’t be taking whatever.’ And they know well you know, as much as we can say, ‘oh it’s your civic duty to stay inside.’ Not everyone has that luxury. And that’s again, that’s something that there’s no easy answer to that. There’s no just, oh, hand out masks. And that’s going to fix that. It’s such a wider issue. I don’t know. I was hoping something more will come out of this. But, who knows. I don’t want to get into politics, but.
[00:20:54] CHRIS: You know it’s weird, it’s weird cause it is such a political time and you know, this show people call in and talk about their lives, so every call at least touches on COVID right now. But I don’t think it’s even political at this point to say, this thing strains the entire infrastructure of our health care system first and then our entire economy. I don’t think it’s political. It has shown that systemically this thing is built on a house of cards. I don’t even think that’s systemic. I think it’s just like look around. And then like you said, the people who can’t afford to not make money. I’m sure those are a lot of the people winding up in ambulances like yours. It’s rough.
[00:21:39] CALLER: And it’s so funny that my family tends to be very tuned into the news and international filmings on everything. So when this stuff started, I remember in early January, when news reports were breaking about the outbreak in China, having a conversation with my family about oh, this will be really interesting to see whether, you know, this is a test of China’s system of the whole. You know, they…can they test it if there’s a trade embargo against them and they’re the whole Communist system of whether it would cripple and collapse under the strain of coronavirus and I don’t want to say China, you know, we don’t even know the extent of the damage there because there’s an issue with the numbers being falsely reported and all that. But. Everyone was talking about how, ‘oh, my God, this is gonna you know, China is going to collapse under this and it will prove that they’ve been doing things wrong.’ And then, you know, it happens here. And I don’t think anyone was – even people who are highly critical of the system always – I don’t think anyone realized the extent to which we were unprepared for this.
[00:22:58] CHRIS: [music transition] Let’s pause there, because you have to with this stuff, right? You have to take a breath and go, if we really just keep going down the rabbit hole, it gets too overwhelming. So more than any other sometimes to make jokes. We need to stretch. Take a break. No, we really do right now. We’ll be right back.
[00:23:20] CHRIS: [music transition] Hope you enjoyed that break. Back to the phone call.
[00:23:26] CALLER: Even people who are highly critical of the system always, I don’t think anyone realized the extent to which we were unprepared for this.
[00:23:35] CHRIS: Yeah.
[00:23:37] CALLER: Yeah. Which is scary. But I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful. Well, we’ll see.
[00:23:46] CHRIS: Yeah. I’ll tell you it’s first of all, I have to say. You’re on Long Island. You were born and raised there, huh?
[00:23:55] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:23:55] CHRIS: I can tell because your accent –
[00:23:58] CALLER: I was gonna say, I don’t have too strong a Long Island accent, do I?
[00:24:01] CHRIS: No. You have about as much of a Long Island accent as I have a Jersey one which is like it comes out at times when I’m like emotional or like really getting a little manic. But I have to say it like sounds like our area where we grew up in a way that I love right now. Like, it’s giving me comfort. But I wanted to say you’ll get this as an EMT in Long Island. My son was born at Long Island Jewish in New Hyde Park.
[00:24:28] CALLER: That’s a wonderful hospital.
[00:24:29] CHRIS: Beautiful. Like we researched it. Where should he be born? It was beautiful. We have a friend who’s a nurse there –
[00:24:34] CALLER: In the Katz Womens’ Center there?
[00:24:36] CHRIS: That’s where he was born. See, I knew you would know your shit. I knew it. I love talking to my New York area people, my tri-staters. It’s fun to connect. He was at the Katz Women’s Center. They did a fantastic job. Thank you to all the nurses there. Really great experience. Well, we have a friend who’s a nurse there who I’ve known. I’ve been friends with her husband for 15 years and her for, you know, almost as long. And she was the first actual friend of ours to come visit Cal, obviously. And I texted her a few weeks ago to say ‘hey I’m just thinking of you, hope you’re doing ok.’ She said, ‘I’m doing all right. They’re starting to transfer nurses who are not trained in emergencies over to that side.’ I don’t know. She’s a pediatric nurse. She’s like, I don’t know if I want to go. And she goes, ‘I got to say. You wouldn’t believe what it looks like compared to when Cal was born. And if you walked into this hospital, it would not look like the same place to you.’ Which dropped my jaw.
[00:25:35] CALLER: Yup. I mean, I have friends who work there, too, who said the same. I have a friend who works at St. Francis, which is it’s called St. Francis, the Heart Hospital on Long Island. And I always joke that I think people forget that St. Francis is a full scale hospital just because they are heart specialists, but they are like a normal hospital otherwise. I figured they wouldn’t be getting hard-hit, like they’re over 90 percent of their patients right now are COVID and they’ve converted – they’re in the process of converting their parking garage into a tent hospital. Like everyone, it’s just yeah, it’s all hands on deck, you know?
[00:26:14] CHRIS: And it’s tough because it’s like it’s hitting this phase where I know I’m not the only one where I’m like, ‘I have to think about other stuff.’ But you can’t. You can’t. That’s fucked up. You can’t just go, ‘I’m going to take the day off from CNN and go read a comic book.’ You can’t do that. And then to hear you saying that you’d be getting more money on unemployment. I just got to express it. That fills me with fucking rage. That is not okay. It’s not okay. Not during this pandemic. And the fact that you’re not getting hazard pay right now, that they’re not taking care of you guys first? Unforgivable.
[00:26:52] CALLER: No but the stimulus check with, you know, the stimulus – the Trump check – with the stimulus package that just passed there, giving just a bonus six hundred dollars a week to people on unemployment and that is how much I make, less than six hundred dollars a week working full-time normally. So I would be making double my pay on unemployment, but. It’s hard because I’m not in it for the money, you know? It pays bad normally, I’m not in it for the money. I’m in it because I love what I do and I love patients and I love medicine. But it’s…it’s definitely frustrating. You know, like. Yeah, you know. My sister-in-law is pregnant, the first grandchild in my family’s gonna be born in a month and I won’t be able to meet that kid for at least a couple of months. You know, as long as this continues, because I can’t risk getting that kid sick.
[00:27:49] CHRIS: Oooh I’m sitting here shaking my head. [Caller laughing] I am. You know when a Jersey guy gets angry, what it looks like. You can see it. You know, when a Jersey person, we all know each other. These Long Islander’s, the Staten Islander’s –
[00:28:00] CALLER: I’m picturing the vein in your forehead.
[00:28:01] CHRIS: I’m ripping my own hair out. I’m pulling my own hair because you could just quit. You could just quit right now. Be making more money. See this new member of your family, not be putting your life on the line and they’re giving you no reason. Meanwhile, everything you hear is money, money, money, economy, economy, economy. I don’t care what your politics are anymore. Got to get over this idea that money’s the most important thing because it makes it completely unfair. And it’s part of why you’re sitting here praying they have masks when your shift starts. It makes me nuts.
[00:28:43] CALLER: I have to say too, my laughing at you saying your accent comes out more when you’re manic?
[00:28:52] CHRIS: Yeah.
[00:28:54] CALLER: I definitely think drink, angry mania. I think that will make it mad. I know I’m constantly trying to slow down my talking right now. I made the mistake of…thought it would be a good idea to go off my Wellbutrin for a little bit, which was not a good idea, and I restarted it today, but my boyfriend kind of pointed out to me like you are talking very fast all the time, like, take a breath, slow down. So I got my guy. But yeah, I am coming through a little stronger right now.
[00:29:26] CHRIS: I tell you, when my Wellbutrin runs out. There are times where if I’m really busy, I’ll go – ’cause I’ve been on it so long – that I know it’s in my system. I’ll go, ‘you know what, I don’t have time to run to the pharmacy. I’ll pick it up in a couple of days and miss it.’ This time? Nope. I realize I’m running low, I’m on Skype with Barb that day going Barb, hook me up. We got some stuff to talk about and I’m gonna go pick it up at the pharmacy either later today or tomorrow. And it’s the first time I’m entering a place of business in about a month to get my sweet Wellbutrin. Now’s not the time to go off the Wellbutrin.
[00:30:02] CALLER: Exactly. My prescription ran out and I was like, ‘I don’t have time to get it.’ And then yesterday I was working with my partner, we work together every Tuesday and we love each other. You know, my boyfriend packs extra snacks in my lunch to bring to her because we’re good friends and I wanted to kill her every second of the shift, because I was just so irritated. As soon as I started the shift I was like ugh everything she’s doing is driving me insane! I immediately texted my psych was like, ‘I think we’ve got to have a little video chat tomorrow morning, gotta renew that prescription.’
[00:30:44] CHRIS: Get me my Welbutrin generic, let’s do it. And if you get some Lamictal to wash it down I’ll take that too. Thank you very much.
[00:30:52] CALLER: Same! Lamictal and the Welbutrin. That’s the spot right there.
[00:30:58] CHRIS: Look at that. It’s – some people, they order a cocktail. They may want a gin and tonic. Me? Give me the Butrin and Lamictal every day of the week. Is gin and tonic a cocktail? I haven’t drank in so long, I don’t even know if that’s accurate. Anyway, I’m glad we found a little moment. I love…here’s how dark things are right now that, you know, I always feel, I’m always proud of this show because I feel like even when it goes dark, we tend to find one or two moments of levity. But what you’re going through right now is so fucked up that our levity is, ‘hey, let’s cling to anti-depressants.’ That’s been the funniest part of this episode. That’s been the most heartwarming is let’s drown in antidepressants. Now, I had maybe a bit of a macabre question for you, if it’s OK, because I have you here and this show –
[00:31:46] CALLER: Yeah, go for it. I am an open book, I answer all questions.
[00:31:48] CHRIS: I know, you’re a Long Islander. That’s how you guys do it.
[00:31:51] CALLER: I’m a Long Islander with bipolar disorder, so there’s no holding back.
[00:31:56] CHRIS: [laughing] Forget about it. Now, one of the things that I think clearly did a lot more harm than good was this rumor of like ‘it’s just a really bad flu.’ I remember saying to my wife at one point, she was getting really nervous. I go, ‘yeah, but Hallie if we catch it, we’re young. It’s gonna be a bad flu. We’ll hunker down. We’ll be fine. Kids don’t get it. We’ll be fine.’ That clearly has proven untrue. And now I’m wondering, because there was that piece I think there was that piece in the Times where some doctors snuck out some video footage of Elmhurst and they embedded a reporter there. And you start to hear, oh, these ventilators. This means there’s like entire floors of hospitals where everyone is in an induced coma on a machine. And you start to realize now you’ve seen it up close. And I don’t want to be too grim, but for some people, it’s a flu. Some people don’t even show symptoms. The sense I get is for that the people, when it does really hit hard, that it sounds like it’s actually fucked up to the degree that they’re not even telling us what it really even looks like to avoid panic. Is that true or false? Is that me assuming too much?
[00:33:06] CALLER: Well, here’s the thing. I am not too in tune in what the public is actually hearing. I will say that I completely admit I was one of those people that at the beginning of this, I was like ‘it’s another flu, you know, what’s the big deal?’ And I get any pandemic, it’s like ‘alright, yeah. You take precautions. But this isn’t that scary.’ And I think part of it was denial. I had a trip to Puerto Rico coming up and I really tried to convince myself that I didn’t need to cancel that trip so I was like it’s fine! But needless to say, that trip was canceled. But. I’m sorry, I just swallowed my pill.
[00:33:50] CHRIS: Oh, that’s what – yeah. You sounded a little farther away from the phone. And it’s ’cause you popped a Butrin.
[00:33:57] CALLER: My Butrin. My antihistamine for those allergies. Don’t want to be sneezing and scaring my patients.
[00:34:04] CHRIS: No, no way.
[00:34:04] CALLER: But, yeah, it’s – it’s tough because it’s like if you look at the statistics, it is only – we don’t even know the true number of what the mortality rate is because we don’t know the true rate of infection right now, because there’s so relatively speaking, so few people have been tested. But it’s not, you know, something like…it’s tough because something like, you know, Ebola. It’s you know, not a death sentence, obviously people survived, but it had a much higher mortality rate. But the thing…the thing with this that I’ll say, it’s a low mortality rate in the sense of, no, it’s not a death sentence if you get it. Most people are asymptomatic. But I think that if you kind of lie and that this stressing that, oh, most people are asymptomatic, a lot of people take that as like a comfort thing of saying like, oh, well, if I get it, you know, there’s a good chance that I’ll be fine. That whoever else will be fine, you know, there’s been people who are old and high risk and everything who get it and only have mild symptoms, so people take that as a comfort thing. But to me, that’s actually the biggest problem with it, is that, you know, with Ebola, you have people bleeding out of their eyeballs. So you look at that person and you know they’re sick and you know you don’t want to touch them. But with COVID – so I can say this and you’re gonna have so many doctors and like people responding like, ‘that’s not how it works.’ But in my opinion, one of the scary things with this is that people hear that like, `oh, it’s asymptomatic, it’s fine. It’s not that big a deal because so many people the symptoms are mild.’ But that’s why it’s spreading so much, because we can’t isolate people if we don’t know that they’re sick. So you could have mild symptoms. And, you know, people are saying, well, if you cough, people freak out. And as if that’s so ridiculous, but it’s not because, everyone – here comes, my mind is moving so fast and speaking in sentence fragments – it’s like, it’s both breeding fear and breeding false security, just depending on which way you as an individual takes it that this whole, ‘most people have it mild. Most people just have flu like symptoms’ like well then, because of that we don’t know who is actually sick and who is spreading it. So it makes it harder to contain. So I don’t know really. There’s lots of people who are experts on this who will tell you the real solutions. We really need to ramp up testing and that will help us. But part of me, it’s tough. Part of me also feels like we’re so far into it, like what even will widespread testing do at this point? It’s everywhere. So I don’t know. It’s funny hearing what you say, even different people I work with. It seems like everyone is hearing different things from the news and takes different things from it. So I don’t know what the news or the government or that anyone should be telling people because I think no matter what they say, people are gonna interpret it differently. There’s the people who are going to be over fearful. There’s people who are gonna be too callous and too – or, you know, not afraid enough and. Yeah. They need to be giving facts, but the problem is we don’t know enough. We don’t know what the true facts are. We don’t know what the true mortality rate is. We don’t know what the true long-term effects of it are. So it’s hard to be truthful with people when we don’t really know what the truth is.
[00:38:06] CHRIS: Yeah, and you’ve seen it when it’s not mild, and I’m sure you must be thinking, everyone stop fucking around. When it’s bad, it’s bad. Now, I want to ask you an off topic question, because I feel like we were saying how you don’t often get to take your mind off things and maybe I can take your mind off things for a few minutes. Then I do have a million more questions about your job and what you’re experiencing right now. Now you’re from Long Island. I’m from New Jersey. This means we share something in our culture. When you were in high school, did you like to drive around looking at haunted stuff and abandoned stuff?
[00:38:41] CALLER: Haunted and abandoned stuff. OK. So I know that that is obviously a part of Long Island culture. Like everyone grows up, you start drinking in like the abandoned office building on the edge of town. I don’t really. I was an overachiever in high school who was the president of every single club and on local varsity sports and the school spirit team and the debate team and everything. So I did not partake in the drive around looking at abandoned stuff. But I think your segue is going to be that’s what it feels like now and it does, the streets feel very abandoned driving around.
[00:39:26] CHRIS: Well, what I was going to say was I was going to ask you if you’ve ever been to the infamous Satan worship house of North Massapequa, because I’ve been and it’s a pretty good time.
[00:39:36] CALLER: I have not. I don’t know about this one. Of course, I’ve seen the Amityville Horror house, of course. But the Satan worship house?
[00:39:43] CHRIS: They’re not too far away from each other. The Satan worship house is a house where supposedly if you drive past the front, when you loop around the block, if there were two people in your car, there will be two candles in the window. If there’s three people in your car, three candles in the window. And it’s just, they’re watching you. It’s because they’re watching you. And the sidewalk is painted black. It looks like darkling ducks (?) house. It’s wild.
[00:40:05] CALLER: OK, I have to Google this. I’ll have some time tonight. Maybe I’ll be able to go for a drive. Take the ambulance for a joy ride.
[00:40:13] CHRIS: Yeah. Go ahead and take your mind off being an EMT during the heart of COVID by driving past the house full of Satan worshipers. That’s where we’re at. Why don’t you go have a giggle and a break and go taunt Satan worshipers who watch you? Now, when you’re…let’s see. I don’t even know where to go, man. I don’t even know where to go! When you’re –
[00:40:40] CALLER: How’s your kid? What latest milestone has he achieved?
[00:40:44] CHRIS: Took his first steps last week. So proud of him.
[00:40:48] CALLER: Congratulations!
[00:40:50] CHRIS: Thanks. Now, this kid though, this kid. He’s like every – I’m his dad, so I think this. But everybody who meets this kid is like he’s the cutest child. Like people back when the subways were a thing, we could participate and people would stop my wife. They’d stop Hallie on the subways. And they’d go, ‘that’s a beautiful baby’. Like stop her. And you know this from being familiar with Jackson Heights. There is not a safer place to raise a newborn than Jackson Heights, because I have found out and I have so much love because, you know, Jackson Heights, so many different ethnicities mixing together, so beautiful. Nobody loves a newborn baby more than a Hispanic grandmother. There’s no one. I tell you, we’d be at that Roosevelt Ave. subway station and you got to take the elevator because we got the stroller and every single time we were in that subway station, an older Hispanic lady would stop us and go, ‘God bless you. God bless you.’ And I realized at some point, if I’m ever walking down the street with this kid and I trip and fall and he goes up in the air, I live in Jackson Heights, and that means a Colombian lady will catch him before he falls because they care about and love babies so much in my neighborhood, and I know I might get in trouble for saying a stereotype, but I think that that is a beautiful, gorgeous stereotype that was proven so true in my eyes. Thank you to my neighbors in Jackson Heights. It was beautiful. It was so beautiful and hilarious to realize. We were once in a restaurant. There’s a restaurant on Northern Boulevard called the Queensborough that’s like sort of showing that Jackson Heights has some gentrified thing, gentrification going on, it’s like a brunch spot. But everybody in the neighborhood goes and we went in there. One day we were in there for brunch and a lady from across the restaurant yelled, an older Hispanic lady stood up and yelled, ‘That’s a beautiful white baby!’ And I like didn’t – I didn’t know how to react because I almost was like does this make me look racist that this was yelled about my child?
[00:43:14] CHRIS: [music transition] Yeah, she’s right. If I had stood up and held up a child and said, ‘look at my beautiful white baby’. Can you imagine? Can you imagine? Oh, my God. Just the thought of it is making me panic and sweat a little bit, but it was awfully nice that someone else yelled it in a restaurant once I got over the initial fear that someone would say you have a beautiful child, but man, was that scary. Okay, listen, I’ve broken the momentum. We’ll be right back.
[00:43:44] CHRIS: [music transition] Anytime you get to talk to somebody who’s in the middle of something like this, and takes the time to talk with me means the world. Let’s finish it off.
[00:43:51] CHRIS: Does this make me look racist? That this was yelled about my child? So point being, this kid he’s walking, he’s starting to walk –
[00:43:59] CALLER: Yeah, if you had said, ‘look at my beautiful white child’, that would be a very different connotation.
[00:44:06] CHRIS: I should be dragged out into the streets for that. But if a celebrating, Hispanic grandmother yells, ‘You have a beautiful white baby.’ I don’t know how to react to this. My point being, my wife has called it out. She’s like this kid, he rampages around. He breaks stuff. And then when you try to yell at him, he turns around with this smile that glows with the intensity of the sun. It’s beautiful. And my wife said –
[00:44:34] CALLER: But now him walking, that’s trouble for you, huh?
[00:44:35] CHRIS: Trouble. And Hallie said, she goes, this kid’s gonna grow up. And you know what he’s gonna be? He’s gonna be the kid who like toilet papers the neighbor’s house and gets caught. And we force him to go over there and apologize. And he comes back with fresh baked cookies because he’s gonna charm everybody. We’re bracing ourselves for him to be Dennis the goddamn menace.
[00:44:59] CALLER: See, this is funny because that’s oh, my God. It kills me to know, and that is exactly what my boyfriend is. I always joke with him like, if we knew each other when we were younger, we would not have gotten along because he was a menace that tormented his neighborhood. But he’s got like little dimples and he would just, he was the golden child.
[00:45:17] CHRIS: Cal’s got dimples. Everybody sees, you know what they say? Everybody – First of all, I want to say too, Anita Flores, who’s one of the producers on the show, typed into our shared chat document. ‘Ha ha ha. Fact. LOL, as a Hispanic woman, I have proof of this stereotype’. So that makes me feel better. Here’s what every Hispanic grandma in my neighborhood would say. ‘Oh, God bless you. His dimples. Oh, my God. Those long eyelashes.’ This guy, your boyfriend. So you have a boyfriend. He’s a charmer, huh? He’s a charmer. How did you guys meet?
[00:45:50] CALLER: Oh, it’s a really good story. I’m so happy to share this with the Beautiful Anonymous community. I last year – anyone who hears this, who knows me will know this is me 100 percent. Last year I was working in the city, not happy. Ended up kind of on a whim, seeking a fellowship where I worked in Uganda for six months.
[00:46:13] CHRIS: Just on a whim?
[00:46:15] CALLER: Well, yeah. I applied on a whim. You know, I got it and there was months of preparation, but I applied like an hour before the application was due and quit my job the next day before I even heard back from them. But I spent six months living in Uganda and the day I got back, my family was like, you know let’s celebrate homecoming. What do you want to eat? Chinese food. Because I hadn’t had Chinese food in a long time, like Long Island girl, needed my Chinese food. So we went to this restaurant that my family has been going to for – my parents have been going since they were dating in the eighties. We know the owners. We go and whole family there celebrating all the significant others and my friends. So there’s 10 of us and there is a family at a table across the restaurant and there’s a cute boy there. And I’m kind of smiling because I’m like, hey, I’m back in America. I’m happy, I’m smiling at everyone. And we’re kind of like making eye contact across the restaurant. You know how you do with strangers, like you kind of give each other those eyes and then that’s generally the end of it. But they get up and leave and a couple minutes later, the hostess who also happens to be the owner who knows my family, walks over with a note in her hand and hands it to me and I unfold it and it’s his name and his phone number. And turns out what had happened is he had left and had been saying to his sister, like, oh, that girl is kind of cute. I should have done something but she was with her family. So he called up the restaurant and had a five minute long argument with the owner on the phone about trying to convince her to bring me a note, because she was saying, I know her family, her brothers will beat you up. You don’t want to do that.
[00:48:05] CHRIS: [laughing] True or false? True or false?
[00:48:07] CALLER: Yeah. Managed to convince her and brought me the note. And that was last March. So it’s been a little over a year since then.
[00:48:17] CHRIS: Now that’s smooth. That’s pretty smooth.
[00:48:21] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:48:21] CHRIS: To call back and be like, ‘can you just drop my number? Just go ahead and here’s my number. Take it down, drop it with that pretty lady because I dropped the ball. I should have said something there.’ That’s pretty charming.
[00:48:31] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah, he is. He knows how to turn it on. You know, those dimples and everything. You learn how to be smooth.
[00:48:40] CHRIS: Now, you said he’s essential as well. Is he working in medicine as well?
[00:48:44] CALLER: No, he is a welder, actually. So he works in a workshop, but they make essential tools and machinery. So. But he works nights because their response to this was they split the times. That half the people come in in the day, half come in at night. So it works out because I work late most nights. So we both get in about two o’clock in the morning, you know, or sometimes me later. And just a shift in schedule for both of us right now.
[00:49:22] CHRIS: I like that story.
[00:49:24] CALLER: Yeah, but so I very much I tell everyone I believe in the string theory. You know, the chaos theory or the butterfly effect, whatever you want to call it, that every little part of your life leads up to moments later that – I was dissatisfied with life for a million different reasons, and I decided to go on this Uganda fellowship because I wasn’t happy with my job and I had all these different things going on and that I was supposed to do a sort of abroad medical volunteer trip in college. But I didn’t end up going because my depression and all of because of, you know, like traumatic experiences in college, all these things that had led up to me making this decision to go away. And then that’s when I came back that this was my homecoming dinner is where I met him. I always say now that I’m like all those things that bothered me for so long, that of my bad experiences, my depression and all of the negative things, all in my mind accumulated into a positive thing, because that’s what led to us meeting.
[00:50:31] CHRIS: Well, for those of us who do have the depression, that’s one of the really – you know, it’s funny ’cause I think about, I was in so much pain. But then you tell a story like that. And I’ve told people this before where I’m like, you know. You also get to have that realization and people who don’t go through it. You know, we have, we endure a lot of stuff and we hide it because it’s stigmatized and blah, blah, blah. I think that young people now it will not be as stigmatized, but then you get to have those moments where you go, OK. This is why I kept fighting because of this. And that’s so good, you know?
[00:51:15] CALLER: I know it’s cliche, but the darkness makes the light seem brighter I have found definitely has truth in my life.
[00:51:24] CHRIS: I know that I, my version of that, which I don’t know if I’ve ever talked about publicly before, was my mom once wrote me this letter a couple of years ago when my career got going. It was handwritten, showed up in the mail, so I was like, this is weird. We got e-mails. What’s going on? And it was a very lovely letter that I’ll keep forever. And one of the things she said, she goes, look, I want you to know that sometimes now that you’ve told me about how hard it was for you as a kid at times. Sometimes I felt guilty wondering what should I have been doing different? And she goes, but now I see who you’ve turned into. And I got to say, I don’t think I would change things even if I could go back and do it because you are who you are and you’ve used it to help people. So I don’t think I would change it. And as you can imagine, I cried forever. Because I got to have that. Most people don’t get to have that. With their people in their lives. I got to have that. That’s what, that’s the type of thing you get as a reward since you keep fighting through all the mental bullshit. Now, you mentioned that – oh, sorry. You go for it. Say it.
[00:52:50] CALLER: The background on my phone, my screen, my wallpaper is a quote that says, ‘I love the person I’ve become because I fought to become her.’ And I saw it somewhere stupid like on Instagram or something but I love that quote. That’s a good little reminder to have on my phone background.
[00:53:06] CHRIS: Here’s my reminder. When I did my HBO taping of my special about depression, my mom gave me a gift which was a paperweight. And inside it had a butterfly. And the quote underneath it said, ‘just when the caterpillar was about to give up, he turned into a butterfly.’ And once again, cried forever. Very Hallmark card, but I cried forever.
[00:53:28] CALLER: Awww you’re a butterfly!
[00:53:30] CHRIS: My mommy thinks I’m a butterfly. [laughing] Let me ask you this. You mentioned you’re working these 16 hour shifts. How many days a week are you working?
[00:53:39] CALLER: It depends. So at my company, full time is either three 13 hour shifts or four 10 hour shifts. I currently am assigned to two 13 hour shifts because I had another job previously and I worked between the two and then I just pick up. So right now I work Tuesdays, Fridays a 13 hour shift that usually turns into like 16 hours, and then I usually pick up an additional 13 hour shift sometime during the week, whatever’s open. And then tonight what I’m doing is actually a mini shift. It’s the rapid response. So we don’t do any discharges or any transfers. We just stand. We’re like on standby for emergencies. So it’s only a six hour shift. So in a given week, I end up working minimum is 26 hours, is what I’m assigned to. But then I usually end up doing between 50 and 60?
[00:54:41] CHRIS: 50 and 60! Now that’s – so you don’t have much time off. What do you do with your time off?
[00:54:48] CALLER: I paint. I’ve gotten back into – see, that was the problem. I stopped the Wellbutrin for a couple of weeks and I started painting a lot more. I was like ooohh, I like that I’m painting a lot, but it was a lot. You know, it’s a lot of paintings that I know I started and I might not ever finish. So that’s not great. But I paint. I read a lot. I’m a nerd. So I am constantly just reading articles all day long, learning whatever I can. My boyfriend and I just planted a garden in the backyard. So I am attempting at being a gardener, but usually I don’t exactly have a green thumb. Every plant I’ve ever had has died. So mainly that’s his project and I get to assist.
[00:55:33] CHRIS: Very calming, soothing activities. I’m glad to hear that. Next question. And we only have eight minutes left. This one has really moved. And I thank you for all of your candor. Let me ask you this next question.
[00:55:45] CALLER: Go ahead.
[00:55:46] CHRIS: People like me, who aren’t in the thick of it like you are, people listening. What can they be doing to help you? I know I donated to a go fund me to send meals to Elmhurst Hospital. That felt cool, I guess. I wish I could do more. What are the things we can be doing from home that help people like you right now?
[00:56:05] CALLER: Yeah. Oh, God. People keep asking me this. I never have good answers, I should have been prepared. So everyone has to look up to their local… you know, look up what exists for you locally. So I know in parts of New York and parts of California, I’ve seen at different places there are go fund me’s that are going to pay local restaurants who are seeing like reduced business to make food for hospital workers. So that’s awesome. Killing two birds with one stone, helping out the restaurant industry and the health care workers. There, you know, there is organizations that are buying masks for people. Turns out people are like making masks and sending them to the hospitals is really sweet, I’m not going to disapprove anyone doing that. The issue is a lot of those masks are not actually medical grade. They don’t…cotton masks don’t actually like filter as much particulate out as like a surgical mask would. So in my opinion, everyone, all average people need to have their own sort of reusable cotton mask so that they stop buying the surgical masks that need to be in the hospital. And then, you know, there’s a lot. I’m most concerned about helping out the health care workers to be honest because even though yeah, there is so much like we need it. It’s such a systemic you know, it’s a supply chain issue. Is the stuff being distributed right? And I think that’s bigger than any one person, perhaps. So I encourage everyone, you know, donate to your local food bank. There’s a lot of people in need right now. And yeah, a lot of people out of work. Donate to food banks. Support your local restaurants. Support your local small businesses, whatever you can do to support your community. And please stay home.
[00:58:05] CHRIS: You are truly selfless. I ask you what I can do to help you and you say go out and help others. That’s a miracle. You’re a truly selfless person in a way I wish I was. Now, I want to ask this one. Here’s a tough one. So one of the things we’ve all heard is that when you come down with this thing, when you call 9-1-1, one of the things you’re told is if it’s not severe, ride it out because we can’t – unless you need to be in a hospital – we can’t send you an ambulance. So, this tells me that you’re picking up the people who have hit that point who are going this is officially a crisis.
[00:58:51] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:58:53] CHRIS: I can’t imagine the things that you’re doing as far as the equipment you have to use. What are you saying to these people as they get into your ambulance? Because emotionally, mentally, they must be – the idea that you go, okay. I’ve hit a point where I have to head into a hospital and I’ve heard what’s going on in the hospitals right now. They must be so scared.
[00:59:13] CALLER: Yes. Yes. So I’m…here’s the thing where I don’t know if most people know the difference between an EMT and a paramedic. A paramedic is higher level training that you can do most of the stuff like an RN can do. You know, you can intubate someone. You can put an IV in them, you can dispense all sorts of medications. For EMT’s it’s less basic life support. So medically speaking, there’s not actually all that much we can do for you. You know, I can do CPR. There are certain medications I can give out. I can you know, we have oxygen and breathing therapies, but in most situations, there is not all too much we can do for you other than drive as fast as we can to get you to an ER. So before COVID I always said this, that about half the job of being an EMT you know, in my opinion is being there for people, you know, and holding their hand and saying it’s going to be OK. I think a lot of people tend to kind of get caught up in the adrenaline of certain calls and, you know, or even in cases of something, not that serious. And, you know, people sometimes are focused on the actual injury or the paperwork or whatever it is. I think a lot of times the best thing you can do is kind of just like put the paperwork down and hold someone’s hand and just like not be afraid of touching them and talking to them and just talking them through it. And, you know, focus on keep breathing and deep slow, deep breaths. It’s going to be OK. Just focus on the breathing and you know, a lot of kind of stereotypical calming techniques, but just being there for someone and being willing to put out your hand and just, you know, be another human that’s there to comfort them when they’re alone.
[01:01:18] CHRIS: I will say this. And another Hallmark card moment. We’ve had a couple on this call, but I’ll tell you this, at the very top I said thank you. And I said, I also know it’s a frustrating thing. And you explained you see the people with the masks cheering for you. It’s very nice. But also just give us the masks and go home. So here’s something I’ll say towards the end of our call. Now that I’ve heard you and hearing what you just said, I will say this. Having talked to you for this hour. Hearing how gracious you are, how selfless you’ve been. How much you’re willing to work for people beyond yourself, I will say this. God forbid anything ever happened to me or someone I love, I’m glad to know you’re out there because you’re the exact type of person I would want holding my hand.
[01:02:12] CALLER: Oh, I’m going to cry.
[01:02:16] CHRIS: Well, you’ve probably done enough of that in recent weeks, so we can just talk about the Satan worship house again if you’d rather –
[01:02:22] CALLER: You know what? Not too many things get to me. Not too many things get to me, but a couple of things. Yesterday, a couple of children driving by stopped our ambulance and a couple of three-year-olds said thank you in their cute little voices and I lost it. Not too many things get to me, that did and this did. Thank you. That means a lot.
[01:02:42] CHRIS: Yeah. We’ve got a minute left. I don’t know what you want to say. My closing thought is, good God. Can we get the people in the thick of it a little more money? Can we please, can we please? Can we please? I’ll put that out there because it’s not as classy for you to say ‘my closing thoughts are pay me.’ I will say, it broke my heart.
[01:03:07] CALLER: My closing thought is a funny anecdote that last week, I’m sure you’ve seen these videos of like local fire departments going to hospitals and the firemen all stand out and cheer for the people, you know, at shift change? That happened at one of my local hospitals last week. And I had, I thought I was gonna have a heart attack going into the building because I just saw firetrucks with sirens and I thought the hospital was burning down. So I was freaking out like that’s the last thing we need right now. The hospital burning down. And you can imagine my relief when I realized, no, they are just there to clap for us. So there are, you know, like you said, it’s finding the humor in like the small dark moments that get you through.
[01:03:52] CHRIS: So you have this moment where you’re like, ‘there’s not even room to walk in there. Please don’t let there be a fire. Oh, they’re cheering for us.’ There’s a silver lining.
[01:04:00] CALLER: Yeah, I was like turn around I guess we got to go to different hospital. Oh, no, no. They’re just here to be nice.
[01:04:08] CHRIS: Well, honest to God. This was eye-opening to hear you say all this in your own words right now. Actually, it makes me feel so much better and so much like I’m not just clicking headlines that are very sensational. Can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. I know you got so many other things you could be doing rather than dwelling on this stuff. And it just really means a lot I’m sure to a lot of us listening that you would take one of the hours where you’re not doing that to do this instead. So thank you.
[01:04:38] CALLER: It was the perfect timing. Exactly an hour between my boyfriend leaving and me having to leave. Literally I’m gonna, once we hang up I’m gonna put on my shoes and head out the door.
[01:04:48] CHRIS: Well, stay safe. Stay healthy. And thanks for holding everybody’s hands tonight. And we need people like you. I’m glad I got to hear from you. Thank you so much.
[01:04:59] CALLER: Yeah. Thank you for lifting my spirits. Have a good night.
[01:05:06] CHRIS: [music transition] I have to say again to our caller. It means the world that you called. It means the world that you’re out there doing what you’re doing. Thank you a thousand times over for everything. Everything that you put forth in this call and that you’re doing for the world at large means a lot. And I hope people out there especially listen to that part and said, don’t buy up the masks. Support your local food banks. Find the go fund me to support the people in the hospitals, the nurses, the doctors, selfless caller. I said, how can we help you? She answered, here’s how you can help everybody else. Thank you, caller. Thank you Jared O’Connell. Thank you, Anita Flores. Thank you, Shellshag. Thank you to all Hispanic grandmas in my neighborhood who look out for my baby. Hey, if you like the show go to Apple podcasts rate, review, subscribe. Really helps when you do. If you want the entire back catalog of Beautiful Anonymous? Not just the last six months? Go to Stitcher Premium. Go to stitcherpremium.com/stories. They’re all sitting there. You can get all the details. Thanks so much for listening. And maybe I’ll talk to you next time.
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