Svetlana Reznikova-Steinway, an emergency-room physician who lives in Phoenix, has spent the better part of a year pulling double-duty in an overwhelmed intensive care unit. Early in the pandemic, she and her husband, a urologist, developed a system for after work, stripping off their scrubs in their garage to protect their 12-year-old daughter and 10-year-old twin sons from the virus. She has gotten used to intubating critically ill Covid-19 patients. She has learned how to delicately use patients’ phones to FaceTime family members so that everyone can say their goodbyes.
“It’s been horrific,” Dr. Reznikova-Steinway, 43, said. “My colleagues and I have come across a lot of death, a lot of horror and a lot of suffering — it’s pretty hard to describe the weight, the awfulness and the mental and physical toll.”
In June, Dr. Reznikova-Steinway and her husband will join a group of about a dozen doctors, nurses and their spouses — all of whom will be fully vaccinated — on an eight-night journey to Alaska organized by Boutique Travel Advisors, a luxury travel agency. The itinerary will keep them largely outdoors; they’ll bike, hike and kayak amid the mountains and fjords of the Kenai Peninsula.
Beyond needing a vacation, Dr. Reznikova-Steinway said she is hoping to “debrief” with the other health care professionals, many of whom have also been working in emergency rooms around the country.
“There’s no safety net in medicine to discuss how one feels and to be able to share the pain you’ve experienced and seen,” Dr. Reznikova-Steinway said. “But hopefully we can also take some time to laugh and maybe almost pretend like we’re in a different world for a
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