Take a minute and look at that number…read it out loud.
Five hundred ninety four, one hundred and fifty deaths, in ONE year.
My grandma was ONE
My great-uncle was ONE
COUNTLESS patients…..to many to count…
I remember sitting in St. Paul, MN when the news was breaking, when my friends in the operating room at Olmsted Medical Center in Rochester, MN were being put on leave or being asked to work in other units unfamiliar to them. I remember as individuals raced to the stores to buy paper goods and all the food they could. In an instant people around us, those we knew, loved, and cared for suddenly meant more. Those that had differing opinions, well little did we know this was the beginning of the end for many friendships, the beginning of pointing fingers rather than offering effective solutions, the beginning with no end in sight.
People we thought we once knew, we could trust had our best interest NO MATTER WHAT, turned their backs on each other, on the world, and began to make a virus a political statement. As I watched intently not only the local news as I tried to figure out what the best course of action was for my children who are both severely immune compromised, and what I needed to do to secure an income it became clear to me that I had only one option – STEP UP and SERVE. We watched in awe as the Governors and elected officials made tough decisions across the nation and other countries around the world also made tough decisions in an attempt to stop the spread of SARS-Covid-19. However, it wasn’t enough; it wasn’t enough because to many damn people wanted to argue. People wanted to make a political statement. Individuals wanted to make a statement about themselves and not care about the community in which they were born and raised or currently living. Human respect, courtesy for others went out the window. Again, it was at this moment that I knew I was being called to action. It was a decision that I prayed about, as I was subjecting myself to the worst of the worst by going to New York City; yet someone needed to. After all, as nurses we take an oath – an oath to show up where we are needed no matter what the situation entails and this is exactly what I did and have done for the past year.
I remember having to go to Target to get luggage as I was headed to NYC for an undetermined amount of time and was going to need all the essentials as everything in NYC was shut down. Today, looking back at that shopping trip I was the only one in the luggage aisle. I was the only one not fighting over toilet paper, paper towels, bleach, hand sanitizer, etc. I just needed luggage and to get the heck out of the store. It was absolute chaos….I made it, but it was a trip to Target I won’t forget. Getting on the Airbus that would take me from Minneapolis to Charlotte and from Charlotte to New York City was sobering; on each flight there were only 8-12 individuals.
Fast forward a year later and I find myself back in New York, still taking care of covid patients. Working long hours, getting little sleep due to burnout, struggling to push through each day. I think many nurses would agree that currently we are putting one foot in front of the other; we are emotionally burned out, physically burned out, and even worse we are exhausted.
The support that we all once had has all but stopped even though out hospitals are still slammed full of trached and vented patients due to covid. Our hospitals are understaffed as nurses are quitting because they just cannot deal with the stress and disrespect from administration any longer.
I encourage you to find a way to support a nurse. Many of us are still traveling including myself. I currently find myself back in New York and will be heading to Rhode Island soon. Please continue to show appreciation and give thanks to the nursed and Healthcare