*Warning: If you think Covid19 is a hoax, you use the term, “lamestream media”, or you think this virus is a plot to influence an election, stop reading now. The remainder of this column will only upset you and reinforce any notion you have that I am a deluded fool.
You’ ve been warned.
I’ll tell you a secret. After being married to a nurse for years, and being around many hospital workers, I have learned something.
Medical folk ain’t quite right.
Every single day, they put others’ well being above their own.
When most people are cocooning and withdrawing from the world, nurses, doctors, lab staff, respiratory therapists, and every other human that works to heal and ensure our health keep on going.
And many have family with high-risk factors so haven’t seen or touched their parents, or children, or spouses in months in order to avoid exposing loved ones to the virus.
There are workers who’ve had family members born or pass away, but because they are considered a possible carrier of infection weren’t able to say hellos or goodbyes.
I have a friend who has just graduated as a Doctor Nurse. She has a Ph.D. in nursing.
Throughout her studies, she has continued to work full time as an intensive care nurse at a very large university hospital. There’s not enough PPE. Early on, Petey and I found a box of N95 masks from his own nursing days. We gave them to her.
In intensive care, where the normal ratio is one or two patients per nurse, the new ratio is four patients for each nurse, due to drastic nursing shortages and also hiring freezes, because money is in even shorter supply than protective gear.
Until there is a steady supply of reliable tests, the true number of Covid19 positive patients won’t be known. But what is known is that there are countless untested patients admitted with unmistakable symptoms of the virus.
And before the news was talking about meat processing outbreaks, they were getting multiple admissions a day from the plants—many don’t speak English, had no contact information, and were too sick or frightened to give a medical history to staff.
Right now, my friend is not working with current coronavirus patients. She had worked four straight weeks without a break when her nurse manager made her rotate out. The masks we gave her are currently being used because even when working with patients who have recovered from COVID and are still very sick, there are not enough masks for employees.
And this devotion to caring for complete strangers at their own detriment is not new. The very last day Petey ever worked before his career-ending illness, he was so sick, that after his shift, they had to bring him off his unit in a wheelchair.
Everybody knows frontline medical workers. They’re the same kind that devoted their lives to their fellow man back when Petey was nursing, and it will be the same type of humans caring for us when Covid19 is just a horror story in our rearview.
So, give them some love. Buy them some PPE. Carry homemade dinner to their families. Make a batch of cupcakes for them to take to work. Or just stand six feet away, and say, “Thank you. I am so grateful to you for your devoted service.”
“To do what nobody else will do, in a way that nobody else can do, in spite of all we go through…that is what it is to be a nurse.” – Rawsi Williams, Nurse and Attorney.
Thanks for your time.
Contact debbie at firstname.lastname@example.org.