FORT KENT –On Monday afternoon, Raven Reynolds, a psychiatric technician at Northern Maine Medical Center (NMMC), assisted by a nine-year-old child hospitalized on the Child-Adolescent Psychiatric Unit (CAPU), were both busy painting an inspirational message to the outside world. The message painted on a window in the Children’s Unit is a simple one: Better Days are Coming!
The COVID-19 pandemic, with its unprecedented impact on the world, has presented us all with challenges of historic proportions, such as we could never have imagined. Every aspect of our lives has been affected and the uncertainties of the pandemic are creating an aura of fear and anxiety. But, it is at times exactly like these that we must call upon our inner strength and rise together to the challenges that we are facing. We must assist each other to recognize our fears and work together to do what is necessary to overcome the adversities that cannot be ignored.
Raven Reynolds said that she had recently seen the rainbows painted in the windows of homes in neighboring New Brunswick. With the closing of schools and the increased need to shelter at home, creativity abounds. Children have been in their homes painting rainbows in their windows to provide cheer and hope, and to serve as a reminder for everyone to practice social distancing. Reynolds said she has seen the movement spreading across the border, into the U.S., and it inspired her to join the movement and pass the inspiration on to others. She said that painting of the windows originally started as a way to send joy across the courtyard to patients in the opposite wing of the hospital. She said the CAPU staff and patients often paint in the windows at various times of the year, especially at major holidays. The original window messages were intended for the patients on the Swing Unit, to encourage and inspire the patients undergoing rehabilitation; sometimes they are hospitalized for several days or weeks at a time, and cannot always be home for holiday celebrations.
At Northern Maine Medical Center, we are so proud of our employees for their work and efforts in response to the pandemic, yet our work is just beginning. Likewise, we are also impressed with the outpouring of community action and support for one another at so many levels. Not a day goes by without someone reaching out with examples of caring and concern for one another’s well-being throughout our communities.
As a business community member and a healthcare provider, Northern Maine Medical Center has had to make some difficult decisions to ensure the safety of our patients, our communities and our employees -and there will be so many more changes that will need to be implemented before we can overcome this pandemic. With that said, we know that some of the restrictions are creating hardships, however, we want you to know that we are not taking these decisions lightly, and we are making decisions in lockstep with the Center for Disease Control.
We are extending the challenge to all of you to paint a rainbow in your window and keep the spirit alive while we weather the storm; we will be watching for the rainbows.
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