Short and sweet update…as many of you know I was deployed to El Paso, Texas with less than 15 hours to pack and arrive. Today, due to hot spots popping up all over, at approximately 8pm tonight over 200 of us were moved to another area in Texas (400+miles) away.
Yes, we have just arrived about 30 minutes ago and many are still getting room assignments! We all will be dressed in uniform in roughly 3.5 hours and preparing to board busses to our assigned medical facilities.
Please say some prayers for not only myself but the THOUSANDS of other nurses that are here, deployed, ready to serve with open hearts. Prepare us to show up with smiles, open minds, and mission minded hearts despite all that is going on. We are missing our families and friends, many of us in school, and at this point very sleep deprived!
I got selected yesterday afternoon and had 15 hours to get everything I needed printed, filed, bought, washed, and packed…Happy Birthday to me! I can tell you I am very excited to be heading into any area of our country where there are ZERO beds…patients are in the hallways, dropping like flies, and it is simply not good! You probably are wondering why I am excited; I am excited to make a difference in the lives of others.
Well, here I am at Gate 35and ready to board and depart by 0739 EST. I got selected yesterday and am headed to El Paso, Texas most commonly termed “boot country.” At only two miles from the border of Mexico I am quite excited!
I am being deployed as part of a crisis response team by the Federal Government. We will all be staying as a large group, one large hotel, being transported to and from. Being a crisis contract, we have to be on standby at all times! Needless to say, each of us has our work cut out for us! Not to mention the extreme dry heat!
I will have two weeks of homework completed by the time I land in Texas this afternoon so that I don’t have to worry about anything other than reviewing daily and listening to lecture on repeat. School is going well, although it is not easy and I am humbled by how much I do not know. It is incredibly fun to take my love for learning to a whole new level as I begin to make new connections and have “light bulb” 💡 moments!
I think Gate 35 for American should have my name behind it at this point! Everytime I fly out of Newark….it is from this gate!
Life has been like a roller coaster for all of us this year, has it not? At one point we are ringing in the new year and making goals and 90 days later the nation is shutting down and we are all learning together how to function amidst a pandemic. There was an immediate call put out for Nurses, EMS, Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, and other allied health workers across the nation to head to New York City; I jumped at the opportunity.
As many of you know life in New York City was nothing shy of a roller coaster; I saw more, my colleagues saw more than any of us ever imagined. In the thick of it all there was significant respect us as healthcare workers; as things have “calmed down from a news perspective,” the respect has diminished across the nation. Respect for humanity is at an all time low and it hurts. It hurts personally and you probably wonder why?
Think back to the stories I shared with you previously….in the thick of it all, at the peak of Covid-19 in New York City! What many of you don’t understand is that our nation and our healthcare system is STILL, yes STILL feeling the effects of the first wave and even worse families are just beginning to grieve their first loss and now onto their second, third or even fourth. My family (our family) has now personally been affected by covid-19 and I will tell you that I have never been more terrified in my life than those two weeks; being half a nation away and knowing that there was absolutely nothing I could do except pick up the phone and call the staff broke my heart.
One thing you must understand is that I wept with my patients, I held their hands, and prayed with them as they took their last breaths; I was (as were my fellow team members) these individuals family members in their final days and weeks. So to know that my mom was struggling to breathe, alone at home, then alone in the hospital was more than a punch in the stomach. As my mom slowly improved and found her way back home the fear and the anxiety has not eased; simply because there is so much many of you don’t know, don’t understand simply because the NEWS (ALL CHANNELS) do not report!
Covid-19 destroys the human body from the inside out from top to bottom and is not, I REPEAT not like influenza. Influenza affects the lungs, aka your breathing which most of us know; Covid -19 affects your heart, lungs, skin, brain, kidneys, it simply affects your ability to function in almost any and every capacity depending in the severity.
Respect, where do I begin…where does IT begin? We as adults all know or should know what basic respect is. There are going to be times in life when giving respect isn’t easy though we know it is the RIGHT thing to do. The right thing to do is often times the most difficult, again we carry on.
Travel nurses do not have it as easy as everyone ASSUMES we do. We are sent in to situations in the toughest of times; hospitals are desperate for nurses, nursing strikes, and now, nurses are needed amidst national shortage and a pandemic. We leave our friends, our families, our homes, everything familiar to us to go help others in need; yet when we are at these facilities we as travelers are treated like sh*t!
One would think we would be appreciated because we are lightening a load, easing the burden they have been feeling; instead they give us double the patient load, the most critical, needy, emotional, train wreck patients because, “you’re a traveler, you make lots of money, suck it up.”
I would love if you take an opportunity to read this, to post one thing you have realized you are more thankful for since this struck our nation. I look forward to reading each of your thoughts!
As I sat on this gorgeous patio basking in the sun enjoying lunch I was taken back by this structure that was right in front; it was the only thing one sees when sitting outside here at Harlem Hospital aside from the blue skies. As I sat, I wondered why the hospital would leave such an eye sore amidst this beautiful new addition to the hospital? I’ll be honest, I left still contemplating this but felt God had put this on my heart for a reason.
This building, very ugly in nature, full of holes, damaged and broken bricks, but most of all empty spoke to me in ways I had never imagined. I think many of us who have worked on the frontline whether we admit it or not have some suppressed feelings; feelings of emptiness, damaged hearts, and a sense of immense loss.
Daily on the news we see brief snapshots of those who have lost their life to covid-19; we see their face, we hear their story, and we learn about their legacy. As I sit here this morning (4 days after the picture was taken) I am reminded of how quickly life changes; not only for us as humans and individuals, but also as a nation.
I would bet that many of you right now may be feeling unsettled, lost, confused, and clearly just befuddled with what is happening in our communities and throughout the nation. This sense of emptiness is depicted so well by the building above; so many windows for opportunity, change, improvement….yet here we sit crumbling as a nation.
Do not let the media fool you, we still have many covid patients in the hospital here in New York; much like everywhere else our numbers are beginning to rise. Our numbers are rising slowly, but they are rising. How many body bags need to be zipped up?.How many more lives need to be lost for people to quit complaining about wearing a mask.
Wearing a mask is one thing…I invite you to come work the hospital where we wear two masks, face shield, two pairs of gloves, and a gown…oh and the gowns are plastic so when we exit we look like we have taken a shower in our scrubs.
I challenge you during this time of change, this time of tension in our nation to do the RIGHT thing. Don’t worry about what everyone else does, worry about YOU and how YOU can make an impact!