Today, Pinterest told me to wash my hands. PINTEREST!!!!! Pinterest never tells anyone to do anything, so today may be that “cold day in hell” that people speak of. However, it seems to have slipped some minds that some people not only NEED to get out, but have to. Please allow me to enlighten you to the world of a nurse during this time of social distancing. Specifically, the Emergency Department nurse.
I understand that social distancing is what is needed to stanch the spread of the virus. I do get that, despite my insubordination and petty social media posts.
However, there is no social distancing for most nurses. Sure, there are the lucky ones with employers that have shut down offices (and I either love you or hate you, depending on your office. No one needs elective tit surgery right now, but we could benefit from some PCP offices staying open for flu-like symptoms and fevers.)
Most nurses HAVE to work. I will start off with my own scenario.
I am an ER nurse. Despite all the other FUBAR-iousness that has transpired of late, I HAVE TO GO TO WORK. Not just because everyone and their mother thinks they have COVID (spoiler alert: it’s the flu), but because COVID isn’t going to stop the heart attacks from happening.
It’s not gonna stop the COPD flare-ups and the strokes and the mental health situations. In fact, it may end up making all of that worse. But here I am, chugging along in all of the gross, fighting alongside my comrades on the front lines of “battle”.
While I wage war against viral clusterf***, my children stay with my mom. My mom, who is an OB nurse. She is another fine subset of RN that is not allowed to stay home. My mother gets my tiny destroyers at least 3 days a week.
This brings up something I would like to bring attention to. I am not here to argue about it. I’m just “educating”, per say.
Schools are shut down. All of them, I think. Possibly for the duration of the year, if you listen to my mom. So those of us who have to work, either voluntarily or voluntold, have our parents watching our children. The GRANDPARENTS. The older adults with the serious health issues that the CDC has declared most at risk. We have taken the rumored LEAST susceptible group, all of whom still carry germy bugs, and put them into the hands of some of our MOST susceptible.
No judgement, just an observation.
(Also mom, if you’re reading this, you’re not susceptible. You’re the strongest person I know).
Anywho, back to my personal COVID story and why you should stop telling me to stay home.
We, as nurses, are spreading this viral ridiculousness, and WE CAN’T help it. I don’t want to work, but the ER will be the LAST DAMN PLACE TO SHUT DOWN WHEN THE WORLD ENTERS THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE.
I take my kids to my mom and go to work. There is a COVID patient in my room. I do all the required and necessary PPE. It gets carried home with me regardless.
I carry it to my mom when I pick up my kids. She doesn’t know, and she goes to work. She spreads it to her entire floor and some of her patients. I go to work every day and spread it to mine. My little germ factories spread it to their dad, who spreads it to his family.
It’s going to happen. We are healthcare professionals cannot help it, nor can we predict it.
Those of you who say ‘quarantine at the hospital” are welcome to come try. You know what’s worse than nurses put on the front lines? Nurses given orders they don’t stand by and won’t agree to. (Just ask a nurse hoe he or she feels about a new charting system or the latest administrative command.)
“Quarantined at work” providers means no providers, which means no one to take care of the strokes and heart attacks and COVID patients.
No ER nurses that know how to calculate and administer thrombolytics. Respiratory therapists would not be able to do magical weirdness with oxygen and medical air and tubes and hoses. No ICU staff to do whatever mythical, awe-inspiring magic that ICU staff does. (Seriosuly, KUDOS. Because no.)
Keeping a log and then trying to quarantine those in contact with a COVID won’t work, because by the time the patient is positive, the staff members have already infected EVERYONE close to them.
On a completely seperate note, I have been very vocal about my upcoming plans to travel from the city and the state. Without so much as a question as to why, people automatically assume I’m an asshole with no regard for anyone but myself.
All true and valid points. but there are reasons for my DISREGARD of social distancing.
If anyone stopped long enough to ask, I can explain not only my rationale but also my need.
Next week, I am going to the mountains. I am going with my husband (who’s been by my side for the past month and is probably already infected if I am.) We will pay at the pump, use the drive-thrus and hike our little hearts out. We will do all of the social distancing from the comfort of a cabin.
Next month, I am going to Florida. I am also going there with my husband. Please see the previous paragraph for the rest, only subtract “comfort of a cabin” and add “beach with a drink”.
Why am I doing this? First of all, because I can. Second of all, because if ANYONE needs a break from COVID FUBAR, it’s your local healthcare staff. It is a mess out there, and we are privy to it EVERY DAY, on top of all the already ridiculousness of American healthcare.
Seriously, if we ever go back to touching each other, or goodness forbid hugging, you better buy your local ER cookies or donuts or a catered Subway platter. Don’t hug us. We are gross and also don’t like hugs.
But there is one nurse’s perspective on the whole thing.
How are things where you are? Drop a comment and let me know.