My niece is an ICU nurse. She worked many years as an ER nurse upon graduating nursing school. She has seen it all. Several weeks ago, she wrote me an email and said things were bad at the hospital. They are overworked at the hospital and understaffed. They are required to wear the same PPE mask day-in and day-out as supplies are limited. She watches over patients who may or may not make it because of the Covid-19 virus. It is emotionally draining as she holds the hand of a dying patient. Then, she goes home, leaves her shoes outside, and heads straight to the shower.
After all that, and as you might guess, she now has Covid-19. She said that she is super careful at work, but even so, she caught the virus. Because she is now quarantined with her family-two asymptomatics, two negatives, and only her showing symptoms- my niece said that she will have plenty of time to figure out when she came in contact. Already, she has been to the hospital for steroids, an inhaler and then back to the ER for 2 liters of fluid and more meds. She remains exhausted and is hoping that she is turning the corner for the better. Brutal is how a healthy young woman has described Covid-19.
This is just one story. The one common thread I hear amongst healthcare workers is WEAR A MASK. Back in 1918 during the flu pandemic, incorrectly called the Spanish flu, a USA doctor ACCIDENTALLY figured out that by wearing a mask, the flu was less contagious than NOT wearing a mask.. He had every available person in the hospital making masks for the nurses and doctors but, also, for the patients. Yes, it saved lives. Yes, it was uncomfortable, and NO, we OBVIOUSLY did not continue to wear masks once it was safe for everyone. In 1918, we wore masks for the greater good of all people. Masks in public have only made a come-back after one hundred years because of the Covid-19 Global Pandemic. It is all documented in "The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History" by John M Barry.
The best way we can thank and honor every single healthcare worker is to wear a mask. Our healthcare workers are exhausted: physically and emotionally. They are being asked to a job where the outcome of their patients may be death or lingering side-affects. Because I love my niece who is a nurse extraordinaire, and I get to write things in a blog, I want to thank you for wearing your masks and helping to lighten the load on my niece and other healthcare workers. Let's make sure that WE are making a difference by taking care of those we love and those who we have never met.