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       "If shoes could talk, I think mine would have so much to share. I wear my shoes at my job as a respiratory therapist at the hospital in Buffalo, Minnesota. These shoes take me to all corners of the facility. To the Med/Surg floor helping patients who require oxygen and medications to ease their labored breathing. To the Birth Center where there is new life entering the world that sometimes requires a little extra help transitioning to life outside the womb. These shoes take me to the Special Care Unit where patients facing life-threatening conditions are treated with advanced techniques, and to the Emergency Department where swift intervention can save a life.


       The past year has tested me in ways I did not know possible. The COVID-19 virus ravaged the lungs of our patients. As a clinician used to intervening and providing relief and healing, there was little we could do for our patients except to support their breathing with oxygen as the virus ran its course. Our sickest patients ended up on advanced treatments like high flow oxygen, BiPAP machines, and ventilators. Despite our most valiant efforts, there were many who succumbed to this terrible virus. As caregivers, it took a toll on us mentally.


       We have all heard the saying about “walking a mile in someone’s shoes before passing judgment“ and that is very sage advice. But what I have learned is that walking next to someone offers more support. A kind word or a kind deed can lift a soul. Sometimes you have to live it to learn it and then move on and grow. And lastly, the right pair of shoes can help you conquer the world."


-Susan Rainer

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