JP on his daily commute. Courtesy Selfie by JP
JP Lindsey is one of the many people working in the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.

We’re taking a look at people on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. The people who are putting themselves on the line every day to save lives and to keep society moving under conditions we can only call the new normal. 

Today, we checked in with Village Lions club president, JP Lindsey. JP works at the Brooklyn Hospital Center and has been commuting every day from Jersey City to Fort Greene on empty trains. 

Born in Chicago, but identifying as a Milwaukean, the 31 year old Lindsey moved to the Tri-state area in 2015 to work as an Occupational Therapist. 

Do you have a story to tell? Please DM us so we can help tell it. Please stay at home, wash your hands frequently, practice social distancing. And if you need someone to connect with or just talk, we are here for you.

On Monday, I walked into ICU rounds at 8am. People are tired. You can see the fatigue. The indentations and red marks from masks and goggles are on their faces, if they took the mask off at all … People had been pulled from other departments, and it may not always have been the smoothest transition, but the focus and drive was the same … let’s go to work and save people.”

– JP Lindsey

Over to JP:

What do you do?

I’m an Occupational Therapist (OT). My specialty is working with critically ill patients.  I truly love helping people achieve major milestones of getting out of bed for the first time, putting on their socks, or brushing their teeth (among many other things) no matter what machine or wires they are connected to. 

Where do you do it?

Present: The Brooklyn Hospital Center. (Village Lions)

Former: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (Pitt City now The Pittsburgh Forge)

What is the impact of the corona virus at your work?

COVID-19 has challenged the US healthcare system in a way that hasn’t ever been seen in the history of what we would consider modern medicine. 

As an OT, we have an obligation to our patients to improve their independence with daily living skills. Just because they have a new illness doesn’t mean that we should stop treatment. Maybe the way we do therapy changes, but this isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last. 

Occupational Therapy places significant emphasis on Occupational Deprivation and Occupational Justice. As we socially distance and isolate ourselves we have millions of people that are not engaging in activities that they find value and meaning in. And the people that are always hit hardest by these changes tend to be communities facing financial hardship. Just because I have to put on more protective equipment at a risk to myself doesn’t mean that the patients don’t need me. Everyone is hurting in their own way, from those in the intensive care unit to those stuck at home who can’t play rugby. 

I think that COVID has the potential to bring about tremendous change to the healthcare industry and the way that we behave as a profession, provided that we choose to learn from our mistakes and successes as an international community. 

What is one memorable scene that you can share?

The Brooklyn Hospital Center was recently featured on the front page of The New York Times (See: ‘We’re in Disaster Mode’: Courage Inside a Brooklyn Hospital Confronting Coronavirus NYTs, March 26, 2020). On Monday, I walked into ICU rounds at 8am. People are tired. You can see the fatigue. The indentations and red marks from masks and goggles are on their faces, if they took the mask off at all. 99% of patients in those units had COVID or were suspected to have COVID in expanded units across the hospital. But what struck me more than anything was that despite a NYT photographer and journalist in the room, everyone behaved as business as usual. We have staff members of every type calling in sick every day, but that room, at that moment, was working as a team. People had been pulled from other departments, and it may not always have been the smoothest transition, but the focus and drive was the same … let’s go to work and save lives. 

As we socially distance … millions of people are not engaging in activities that bring value and meaning. The people hit hardest by these changes tend to be facing financial hardship. Just because I have to put on more protective equipment at a risk to myself doesn’t mean that the patients don’t need me. Everyone is hurting in their own way, from those in the ICU to those stuck at home who can’t play rugby.

– JP Lindsey

What should everyone know based on your experience?

Most healthcare workers do a lot and ask for very little. It’s not just a job for most of us, it’s a calling. Help us help you. 

Be kind, even in your hour of need. Whether you are a patient or a family member, or someone on the outside looking in. 

I’ve had to send my wife and dog away so I minimize my risk to them and yet I will continue to go to work until I get sick. I will continue to go into work long after this is all over. My non-hospital friends are appropriately avoiding me. I don’t tell my patients this, or even most of my coworkers. Everyone has a difficult story, otherwise they wouldn’t be at the hospital! We are some of the strongest people you may meet, but we need love and friends and laughter just like anyone else. 

“Listen to your health care staff please but always advocate for yourself. You know your body, but most of you don’t know medicine. It’s a two way street. 

And as always, stay home.”

– JP Lindsey

Be patient, when you can. With this many patients and with fewer resources, we are stretched thin. We will do our best but sometimes we know it’s not enough. But we will try. Just remember that we can’t even recall the number of times we’ve heard, “I can’t do what you do”. So let us do it. Our way. We are the experts. We have great days and over the top hard days. When you want a cup of ice water remember that a patient in the room next to you could have just passed away. It’s all about perspective, kindness, and patience. 

Listen to your health care staff please but always advocate for yourself. You know your body, but most of you don’t know medicine. It’s a two way street. 

And as always, stay home. 

We also accept all take out and delivery 😉

Tell us about your commute every day:

Commuting is completely surreal. I’m hopping on trains that normally carry hundreds of thousands or millions of passengers a day and yet here I am, by myself, during rush hour. 

Because I’m a therapist I don’t really have “personal space” since physical contact is part of how we work, so crowded trains don’t really bother me unless I’m coming back from a tough practice or MADE session. I even miss some of the human contact of just sitting next to someone. 

The really odd thing now is that a vibrancy of NYC seems to be missing. You’d see your odd people (@subwaycreatures), occasional celebrities … just people of every age and walk of life. There’s definitely no Show Time!  Now, if you see anyone, they all just have their heads down. There’s no chuckling at something amusing or laughter between friends or chatting with strangers or giving of directions to tourists. I hate to say it, but it’s almost made me miss Show Time!

JP Lindsey is one of the many people working in the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.

JP Lindsey is one of the many people working in the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. Here he commutes on an empty train to Brooklyn Hospital Center

Do you have a story to tell? Please DM us so we can help tell it. Please stay at home, wash your hands frequently, practice social distancing. And if you need someone to connect with or just talk, we are here for you.

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