Taking Our Health Care Workers for Granted

My friend, Vermonter Annika McCann, posted this photo of herself to her Facebook page recently under the heading, “This is my new day job.”

 

Photo Credit: Ally O’Shana

 

Here’s her story

In addition to my CBD business (Primal Botanical),  I work as a nurse.

In response to this novel coronavirus, my hospital hastily converted its day surgery unit into the new respiratory isolation unit – a negative pressure area (meaning no air escapes from the unit without being filtered) with a temporary double-door airlock.

This is where patients with suspected COVID-19 needing hospitalization go until their test results are back, and where patients who test positive will stay. So far we have had no positive tests within the hospital – but the surge is coming.

Here’s how my day now goes.

We enter in full protective gear: N95 mask with a surgical mask over it, face shield, shoe covers, hat, gown, double gloves. Anything we bring inside the unit cannot be brought out, so no pens, phones, paperwork. When leaving the unit, we remove all our protective garb inside the double-door tent entrance to the unit – that is, everything but our precious N95 masks. N95s are made to be worn once and thrown away.

Last week we were told we could wear them for eight hours. Now we are told to wear the same mask every day. I feel lucky to have an N95 to wear – in many other hospitals they are less fortunate.

I am in awe of the bravery Annika and each of our health care professionals show every day. As of this writing, 50 doctors in Italy have died from this virus. A recent article in the New York Times spoke specifically to this: Nurses Die, Doctors Fall Sick . . .  

I have a vision.

It’s a vision of a new world, one where we gather along the curbs to watch the passing parade, just like we did as children. But instead of the weapons of war that we are seeing more and more often in our parades, I see the nurses, the orderlies, the doctors, the Nurse Practitioners, the Physician Assistants, and the administrators who continued to work each day saving lives, march by.

I see the first responders, so many of whom have already caught this dreaded disease and died, together on a float, waving to the cheering crowds.

I see the many heroes of a new age when bravery, self-sacrifice, dedication to a cause greater than ourselves is recognized and honored and rewarded.

And I see me stand and salute them all as they walk by.

I hope you’ll join me.

I see a world in which folks care more about what unites them than what divides them.  And here’s as good a place to begin as any.

 

 

How about you? How are you doing?

29 Responses

  1. Clive
    | Reply

    Hear hear. These heroes are undervalued and underpaid. Here in the UK the government has spent the past ten years underfunding the health service, ignoring warnings about its inability to cope with a pandemic, and are now reaping what they sowed. Good people are laying everything on the line for us, despite the government.
    Clive recently posted…National Blow A Raspberry DayMy Profile

    • Carolyn
      | Reply

      Seconded.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      You know, when I was a student nurse a thousand years ago (never finished; it wasn’t for me) nurses here were also badly underpaid. And they were looked down upon as doctors’ underlings. Somewhere between then and twenty or so years ago, that changed here, Clive. I’m not certain how, but it did. Probably when men began going into the field. I trust it can also happen in the UK. Thanks for starting us off. Stay well.
      Janet Givens recently posted…Taking Our Health Care Workers for GrantedMy Profile

  2. Merril D. Smith
    | Reply

    I agree. My son-in-law is a new nurse. He started his very first nursing job just a few weeks ago in an ICU cardiac unit. I’m proud of him and worried–and also worried about my daughter. He’s a combat veteran though, so he’s lived through life and death situations before, and I assume he’s taking all possible care.
    Merril D. Smith recently posted…The Light RekindledMy Profile

  3. Marian Beaman
    | Reply

    Thanks for showing the spotlight on one of many who are going into harms’ way during this scary season. I find it amusing – and fitting – that Annika’s other job is a CBD business, not a bad combination actually.

    How are we doing? Staying home mostly, washing hands, reading and exercising. Yesterday my Pilates instructor offered a class via Zoom. Seeing my “friends” again was as wonderful as the exercise.
    Marian Beaman recently posted…My Brother Mark and the Easter MiracleMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      You might enjoy her original FB post then Marian, for I only published her hospital routine here. In it she describes her home care regimen, with supplements et al. Thanks for stopping by. Stay well
      Janet Givens recently posted…Taking Our Health Care Workers for GrantedMy Profile

  4. Darlene Foster
    | Reply

    Bravo to all the health care workers out there. We are blessed to have them. In Spain, at 8:00 every night, people stand on their balconies and terraces and clap for them and other essential services. We are managing OK here, taking turns to walk our dog and picking up groceries when absolutely necessary.
    Darlene Foster recently posted…Missing in Action with Darlene Foster!My Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Thanks for that first hand account Darlene. I’ve seen reports of this happening, but always nice to have a primary source. I hope you’ll write more about what it’s like there on your blog, which I follow. Stay well.
      Janet Givens recently posted…Taking Our Health Care Workers for GrantedMy Profile

  5. Pamela Wight
    | Reply

    I would definitely stand with you at that parade, saluting our health care GIVERS, for yes, they give so much. I’ll add to your list here the men and women who work as nurses and aides at assisted living and memory care facilities. Talk about under paid! These caregivers are minimum wage (many of them) and I’ve noticed in the facilities I’ve visited (in several states) that many of the staff are immigrants who and landed here in the US as children, or they are children of immigrants. They have such warm and understanding eyes. But they suffer themselves in impoverished situations (many of them do). Yet, they come to work every day to take care of our elderly parents and grandparents. I wrote about one called “Hope” in my post two weeks ago. https://roughwighting.net/2020/03/20/no-visitors-allowed/ I hope when all this current crisis is over, caregivers are given the respect and remuneration they deserve.
    Pamela Wight recently posted…Perils of On-Line ShoppingMy Profile

  6. susan scott
    | Reply

    I also imagine a time when we are united and not divided. A time when we give thanks to those on the front line of this epidemic, those who hold to the Hippocratic Oath. From the cleaners who have to keep ICU’s clean and infection free, those who have to launder the protective gear, to the nurses and doctors, to the organisations and individuals who do their best to get essential items like respirators and masks … all heroes. Thanks Janet. Also, I hear that the UN Sec. Gen has called for a cease fire in all war ravaged countries and areas … this gives me hope ..

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Yes, I saw you posted that article just now. Would that he had that kind of clout. Time will tell I guess. I had thought, early on, that this virus could we’ll become the “common enemy” that so often can bring warring factions together. Alas, I’ve seen no evidence of that. Just this weekend some megachurch preacher in Florida held a regular service. He got arrested for ”reckless endangerment” but will likely become a martyr to that side of the “aisle.”
      Janet Givens recently posted…Taking Our Health Care Workers for GrantedMy Profile

  7. Ally Bean
    | Reply

    I wonder how long it’ll be before your vision of unity becomes a worldwide phenomenon. I’m for it, of course– but not fussing & fighting is difficult for people who enjoy the conflict, want the problems. Still if the health care workers can bring us together in their kindness, I’m going to be pleased. All for it, I am.
    Ally Bean recently posted…What’s Cooking? Old Recipe Pamphlets and Cookbooks [Part 2 Of 2]My Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      I suppose we’ll always have our drama queens among us, Ally. But since this is my dream, I shall envision a world where they get to perform, on stage, to a packed audience, every night. That’ll take care of it. In my dreams!
      Janet Givens recently posted…Taking Our Health Care Workers for GrantedMy Profile

  8. Joan Z. Rough
    | Reply

    Together we stand! What would we do without them.

  9. Arlene Smith
    | Reply

    I agree. And the other even more unsung heroes are the grocery store workers. They are seldom appreciated and poorly paid. We appreciate them now though!

  10. Bette Stevens
    | Reply

    Three Cheers for all of our, courageous and caring Care Givers around the globe!

  11. Tim Fearnside
    | Reply

    ‘Love the vision, Janet. I’ll join you.

  12. Janet Morrison
    | Reply

    The hospital employees are definitely the heroes now. I hope the current level of respect they’re getting will continue after the crisis is over.

  13. Sue Slaght
    | Reply

    Janet I am left with shivers after reading your post. I am a retired nurse and have such deep respect for those on the front line in healthcare right now. I will definitely be standing beside you when that parade goes by. Superheroes each one.
    Sue Slaght recently posted…Views of COVID 19 – Thailand, Mexico, Spain and AustraliaMy Profile

  14. Laurie Buchanan
    | Reply

    Janet — Cheers to all health care workers, first responders, and all people who put themselves in harm’s way to protect others.

    Yesterday when we went to the grocery store to pick up provisions we’d run out of, there was an employee just inside the doorway (wearing facemask and gloves) disinfecting each cart prior to giving it the newly-arrived shopper.

    From brain surgeons to cart disinfectors and everyone helping others in-between, THANK YOU!

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      I’m so impressed to hear of the care your local grocery is taking. You’ll see photos in next week’s post of our first trip to the store: no face masks, no gloves. But fortunately, since then there’s been some local education and things are much improved. Though I read an Atlantic article today about how social distancing seems to be taking on political tones, rather than pure health-related tones. Troubling. We are all on this boat and we will sink or swim together. Ta Ta. (could’t resist).
      Janet Givens recently posted…Taking Our Health Care Workers for GrantedMy Profile

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