Transferred

My heart is jumping with joy as I write this post; simply because it is the rainbow amidst all the chaos! While working in the intensive care unit one becomes very knowledgeable about particular patients as we tend to care for the same individuals over and over. My first assignment in the ICU was surreal as I care for a man that I actually cared for in the green pod. As I walked into the room my heart sank that night. My heart sank as I saw his chest rising and falling; not because he was doing it but because a ventilator placed to the left of the bed was doing all the work. The vital sign monitor was beeping due to a low heart rate, eight IV pumps were infusing, and of course, most importantly my patient, my dear friend, brother in Christ lay in bed with tubes everywhere.

I was incredibly moved with emotion; why I am not sure? I have seen these exact sights before…this time was different though. There was no family allowed, there were no friends allowed instead, we as medical staff immediately became this mans family. We held the swollen hands, we wiped away the tears when they coughed from the suctioning, we were there for them through everything. This is nursing…

My dear friend I am happy to report has moved out of the ICU! This was a long process, a painful process, and honestly a process that most of us did not think would ever happen. It is small major events like this that remind each of us during this time of crisis that we are making a difference, we are doing what we were called to do.

Brooklyn apartment building: each staircase and landing representing milestones of our patients…they are running a marathon not a sprint and every so often they plateau (landing), or they go backwards. If you look closely you see the sun radiating off the windows; emitting hope amidst a time of uncertainty and chaos.

I should note that the previous story I shared with you from my journal is “old,” old by date but so very raw and fresh in my mind. I simply have not had the time or energy to keep up with online posts; with that I have daily jotted down words or phrases for each day to assist with creating my online blog here for each of you.

I pray that as each of you reads this you wherever you may be you stop and realize that this gentleman could have easily died many times. This gentleman is a husband, father, uncle, son, brother, and most importantly loved by many. This gentleman is not a political pawn, he is not a vote for 2020, he is not an example of what we should or shouldn’t do, he is one of us that has feelings and deserves to be treated as such.

Please, take some time and think about all of those that have passed. Say a prayer. Think about those of us who are still serving actively on the front lines…

Prayers and Love

Liz

Buried

Where does one begin? I have sat down and attempted to update you all many times and I either am purely exhausted, overcome with emotion, or simply running off to the next shift. So, here it is 5:44 a.m. in NYC and I am determined to get you all somewhat updated.

Most of you will recognize the name Florence Nightingale, the mother of nursing who believed that a patient needed love and care to regain their health; part of that is making sure that the client has a clean environment to be in during this healing process. Just think for a moment can your rest let alone heal when the garbage is overflowing, there are needle caps on the floor, wrappers on the bed, lights left on, oh and don’t forget the door left open? HECK NO! Not only did these theorists play a role in my life but I want to take an opportunity to shout out another person who shaped me into the nurse I am today, making sure that my patients have the cleanest rooms NO MATTER WHAT! I cannot count how many times I have been asked or told, “you do realize we housekeeping to take out the trash.” I’m sorry, NO I am not sorry, none of us are above taking a garbage bag out of a patients room or putting a clean bag in the hallway ones when EVERYSINGLE patient is on isolation!

So this individual that I want to give a shoutout to is my previous boss, Diane Foss. Diane really instilled in me the importance of a clean room and more than that; she had standards for our unit. You could walk the hallways on my floor at Methodist hospital at Mayo Clinic and they were 99% of the time impeccable; ok she did usually have to push in chairs and lower key boards in the north and south halls EVERY SINGLE morning BUT the residents used those and just kept moving. She always encouraged that at the end of each shift, make sure your garbage is taken out, your linen is taken out, counters are clean, if your toilets are dirty use the brush and clean them!

The entire month of April at Mt. Sinai was beyond frustrating, these humans, who call themselves nurses do not understand what keeping a clean environment means. It hurts my heart; for those of you that know me, yes I go behind all of them and pick up their trash because it drives me absolutely crazy! Our patients may be ventilated, paralyzed, and sedated, but let me tell you……as Diane always said and as I always told my students if something goes wrong (which these days there is a code hourly) you need space, the ability to trace lines quickly, and know what you have and what you don’t.

With that being said, thank you Diane; thank you for instilling a sense of pride and ownership. There were many times that discussions were had about remembering to take out the trash at the end of the shift, take out linen bags when half full, etc., it is because of you Diane, and those conversations that stations 6-2 employees were always applauded as outstanding and why today I want to dedicate this post to you!

Don’t worry, I know I am WAY behind in updates. More posts are coming!

Blessings,

Liz

The Beat Goes On….

The ❤ heart of New York right now is centered around Healthcare workers, essential workers, and really just keeping people safe. Each day the beat is a little different; for my nurse friends the days and nights range from a steady or “NSR,” to incredibly fast paced aka a little “SVT,” or on most occasions its rapid and ever changing, “rapid A-Fib.”

As many of you know I have done all types of nursing and love working in a fast paced environment 🙃…well life here inside the hospitals is exactly that! Since being here I was moved from Med-Surg to Emergency Room Staff and now this week have started working in the Intensive Care Unit. I had 24 hours notice of switching from days to nights as there is a dire need for nurses to work in the ICU, let alone get them to work night shifts. I obliged, as I have said from day one, “I came because I had a calling, I stepped up and here I am, I go where I am needed.”

At any given moment Med-Surg nurses may have 10 patients, yes 10:1…is it ideal, of course not. Let me tell you one thing though, these nurses that work on the floor are amazing. You want to see an example of teamwork, come on over! In the Emergency Department it isn’t uncommon to have 6 or 7 patients; remember these are 90% of the time patients that are having chest pain, difficulty breathing, and some literally gasping for air. Covid-19 is no joke! So imagine you’re one person and trying to get all 6 or 7 oxygen on oxygen, IVs started, labs drawn, EKG, Xray, etc. it is a bit chaotic. Now, I am located in the ICU where the game gets interesting…

The game of Life, that game that we all played as kids is almost coming to life, just different options. Options are life and Death, unfortunately how these patients are arriving at their final resting place is tragic; tragic for the nursing staff, families, and most importantly the patient. Many times patients can pass peacefully, this disease strips our patients of the ability to breathe. They gasp, they struggle, they are in agony and it is painful to see and attempt to help when you know there is nothing to help them.

As we each go about our day today, tomorrow, and in the weeks and months ahead; remember this beat, remember the tune that it went to. I challenge each of you to dig deep and not only find your beat and your tune amidst the current chaos, find your message.

Do you bring a message of hope to those around you? Do you lend a helping hand even when it may be uncomfortable? Just stop and think what tune you would want to deliver if you were a nurse and even more important as a family member what message or tune is going to be helpful?

Stay safe, stay warm, smile, help a stranger (from 6 feet away), give extra hugs, and say a prayer for all front line workers; we would all be lying if we said were not struggling.

One Down…

Well I am happy to say I survived week one here in New York City! The last week here was exhausting both mentally and physically; between working 12-16 hours a day, the non-stop running and rushing about inside of the hospital, and trying to figure out how to get to work each day. As I awoke this morning from my amazing little boutique room, I could see the sun peeking through amidst the tall buildings and glistening off the fire escape. I love waking up to this view every morning on Broadway. It is very calm most mornings; allowing time for reflection.

Many of us, especially those of us who are parents are feeling very frustrated at this point and beginning to feel burned out being shut in; I challenge you to really enjoy this time. Take some time to look at the clouds, what shapes do you see? In fact yesterday my sister Kelly took a super neat picture of clouds that looked like pillows, would she have done that had she been rushing around as normal? If you are going to work each day take a step back and slow down, appreciate your co-workers, show them you appreciate them because you never know when may not see them again. Life here in New York has always been different than in the midwest and it has really rattled me.

Staff here move at lightning speed; I know, many of you are thinking that I consistently move at lightning speed however this pandemic has really caused me to slow down and really give my patients extra TLC. I have really attempted to embrace my new co-workers and my surroundings and what I see makes my heart huort. These nurses are in such a hurry ALL the time…..amidst all of this they cannot seem to slow down and realize that these patients are laying here struggling to breathe on their own, they lay with us for hours or days ALONE, sometimes even dying alone in the ED. Can you imagine? Think about that? Is life worth running that fast all the time or can we stop and give someone a smile that we normally may not? I consistently hear, “we don’t have the Minnesota Nice in us, you need to figure it out,” well guess what, I will not stop showing compassion. Yes, it is busy, chaotic at times, given that I will NEVER waiver on the compassion I give to my patients and co-workers.This past week was nothing short of eye opening; between learning how New Yorkers talk to each other, seeing the wide range in the patient population, seeing the homeless population is incredibly sad, and most importantly seeing how the Corona virus is truly devastating this state. Often times we see the same individual who may not have a home upwards of three to five times a day, the streets are empty, there are no traffic jams, stores are closed, and people on the sidewalk legitimately walk 6 feet apart!

I must say I am impressed with how New Yorkers have embraced the social deficiency; walk six feet apart, wearing gloves and masks to grocery stores, and in generally wearing masks.Continue to do your part!!!

Liz

Sunshine

I made it here Sunday afternoon and it has been non-stop! Today, Wednesday there is finally SUNSHINE! It is so refreshing to see the sun amidst the absolute chaos and sadness.

I have been blessed to have met a fellow Prime Nurse and daily we take the train, eat together, walk, and just try to be normal outside the walls of Beth Israel.

The staff is so very appreciative of our help; although nobody here understands “Minnesota Nice.” I’ve been asked a few times, “why the hell do you smile and say hello to everyone?” I also learned the hard way….do NOT make eye contact with anyone on the train, if you smell something funky on the train find another car….there is a reason you’re the only one on there with the other individual! Now, that being said, if you ever feel unsafe, you go to the stinky car because nobody gonna bother you!

The ship arrived yesterday and it is simply amazing….I’ve never seen anything like it. The military are all around. There are thousands of tents set up in Central Park, Javits Center, and other places I do not know the names of.

On that note…I did an interview with the Associated Press last night and now I have to be photographed. My apologies for rambling. I have so much in my journal that I will get posted as soon as I have a day off.

Please, continue to stay at home. Wash your hands, and most importantly, leave shoes outside! Sounds silly, this virus lives on shoes for up to 5 days….. e careful!

Much love!!

The Preparation

So many things to do, people to see, stuff to buy and pack…as I lay here tonight I think what is most important, what things NEED to occur before I leave?

I decided a couple days ago that I would surprise Adelaide with a little birthday party 1 month early since I will be gone for her 6th birthday; needless to say she was ecstatic and we partied for two days….it overflowed per her request to the next morning that they all eat fancy cupcakes….and so they did! I’ve tried to be that “yes” mom this week and at the same time work on life skills.

Not only did we celebrate the birthday girl, the Easter Bunny came….they got way more this year as I won’t be around to do their summer shopping for them…oh and now they are home each day so no school uniform, just regular clothes. The four of these kiddos make my heart smile, they appreciate all that is done for them…so we showered them with love and got them all set up for summer!

Prepping to leave for myself has been a slow process; emotions run high, reality seems to set in each time I look at or touch the suitcases. How do you pack for 3 months? What do I need in a state where everything is shutdown and two day shipping with Amazon isn’t a “thing” anymore? It has been a learning experience….again, after all of this is done…we each will have learned numerous lessons!

As I prepare to leave tomorrow, I ask for your prayers; prayers for myself, the flight crew, all of the nurses I will be working with, and even more importantly my children and Nick who are left to hold down the fort here!

Stay safe, practice social distancing, be patient, kind, and humble!

The Journey Begins

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

Thanks for joining me! As many of you know I am preparing to leave the comforts of home, my children, Nick, friends, and family to head to New York.

You’re probably thinking that I am a bit crazy or have simply lost my mind at this point. All jokes aside, I have not lost my mind; rather I am taking another step forward in my journey. This journey called life looks different for each of us; some of us are handing out meals, have our children decorating windows to liven up the neighborhood, while others of us will be suiting up, literally and saving lives. The most important thing to remember amidst all of this is that we each play an important role!

While I am gone I realize as a mom, sister, girlfriend, and friend I am going to miss important events, milestones etc. One big milestone is Adelaide turning 6 and another is Easter! Keep your eye out for my next update on. how I am preparing my kids for a journey via phone calls, post cards, and facetime and of course packing for 3 months away from home!

Thank you for all of your support, prayers, well-wishes, and blessings.

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