A Nurse’s Plea

I read a Twitter thread the other day that has stayed with me. Reminding me of the tireless work the doctors and nurses are doing as they deal with this pandemic.

We should all be doing what we can to lessen their load. Because many are simply worn out and traumatized by what they’re seeing. Some catch Covid themselves and die.

And some make the choice to walk away because they simply can’t see anymore without it breaking them.

I think I’ll let “Ashley in the OR” on Twitter tell you her story herself…

Ashley in the [email protected]·

BSN, RN in Surgery • Air Force Veteran • Wife • Mom of 3 boys (1 + twins) • tweets are mine not my employers unfortunately • El Paso, TX Joined October 2008

I’m an RN in El Paso and was recently transferred from the OR to COVID ICU. I resigned from my job last week and I’ve been asked several times, “What was the breaking point?” I don’t know a specific one, but I’ll share this:

A thread…

1/On my last shift I had a very eye opening experience. El Paso was in the middle of its hardest hit time with Covid hospitalizations and cases. I was working in Covid ICU and at the time checking finger stick blood glucose levels on the entire unit, about 25 patients.

2/One of my last rooms to go into the patient was awake and alert. He was being transferred to a lower level of care in the next hour or so. The news was on, El Paso in the national headlines again for needing more freezer truck morgues. The patient makes small talk.

3/He mentions hating “fake news”. He says, “I don’t think Covid is really more than a flu.“ I clarified, “Now you think differently though?” He replies, “No the same. I should just take vitamins for my immune system. They (news) are making it a big deal.” I’m shocked.

4/I’m at a loss for words. Here I am basically wrapped in tarp, here he is in a Covid ICU. How can you deny the validity of Covid? How is this possible? Misinformation is literally killing people in mass, I think to myself.

5/Typically as a nurse we usually put on a face. We don’t tell our patients another patient just died. We don’t tell them what we just saw. We walk in to care for that patient as they are. We give them our full unbiased care. I make a choice. Something I’ve never done. I say:

6/“To be honest this is my last shift. You’re the only patient of 25 that has been able to speak to me today or is even aware I’m here.” He’s surprised but doubtful and asks if other people are doing as well as him. I tell him I’ve never seen so many people SO very sick.

7/“Really?” He asks if a lot of people have died. I’m brutally honest. I tell him in 10 years of being a nurse I’ve done more CPR and seen more people die in the last 2 weeks than I have in my entire career combined.

8/His tone changes, he seems to have understood the gravity of what I’m saying. He apologizes. I cry. The hot tears roll down my face from under my glasses, onto my mask, my respirator, from under my face shield and onto my gown. I apologize for tearing up and compose myself.

9/A few hours later I had the opportunity to transfer him in a wheelchair to a lower level of care, a medical COVID floor. He sees the other patients in the ICU as we are leaving. We arrive to the floor and I’m waiting to give report to the nurse.

10/He says one more thing, “Thank you for telling me what you told me. Thank you for being a good nurse and about me. I saw a lot of the other ones when you were wheeling me out of ICU. It’s much more than a flu, I was mistaken.”

11/I thanked him and I told him I hope he has a complete recovery. I hope he can heal. “I will tell everyone that denies how bad this is about my experiences,” he says. I will too, Sir. I will too.

This tweet has been shared over and over again. Here is where you can read her tweets: https://twitter.com/TheBlondeRN

An article has now been written about her. You can read that article here.

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15 Comments

  1. Another retired RN. Unfortunately, it’s human nature to disbelieve things we can’t actually see. Back in the late 60’s there were people who didn’t believe man landed on the moon… maybe some still think it’s a hoax. Early on in the pandemic the messaging was confusing which didn’t help things. Again, people want answers and saying “we don’t know” isn’t always accepted as a suitable answer. In my opinion things aren’t going to change until the people who think this is a hoax can SEE for themselves what the ICU’s are dealing with. This nurse and her story sort of proves my theory… seeing is believing. Her patient changed his tune when he saw for himself. “Seeing is believing” still won’t change everyone’s mind… some will continue to think it’s a hoax.

  2. I have complete confidence in the Biden administration to bring on board knowledgeable, intelligent people who do work in their respective fields to compile all this data so there won’t be shutdowns or a virus ignored and ridiculed like this bully did. It was plain ignorance on the present egotistical group of idiots who took us down this horrible destructive path and it’s going to take a lot to bring it back to anything near normal. I feel so sorry for health care workers trying to save lives while people blatantly ignore it believing in hoax’s. I have had every vaccine made available to me as I worked in health care. I am fine and healthy so kudos for the one pharmaceutical company who did not work with this government and did their own scientific work on developing it. I do fear getting this as each of us will react differently to this virus but I chose what I do very carefully. It’s gone through my family, a friend died from it, and I have seen how fast it went through a group in our area so my heart goes out to all the people affected by this.

  3. Another retired R.N. here… thanks you for posting this, Brenda. My heart goes out to each and every R.N., Dr. and Respiratory Therapist having to deal with this.
    It sounds a bit cold-hearted, but I’m SO glad I’m well out of it!

    1. Another retired nurse here.
      I completely agree!
      I’m SO glad I am not one of those nurses dealing with this every shift! I couldnt bear it!

  4. This is not a simple problem, Brenda…please go read EVERY SOURCE you can find. Yes, people die of it…and every single year people die of the flu and their other already roaring diseases. But I do think this one is NOT being treated properly in many cases. No I am not a nurse, but I am a caregiver here now…and read ALL THE TIME. There is a connection between those who have gotten the flu shots earlier before this came and those who have died of it. There are some brave doctors and nurses out there telling MORE of the story. My husband’s health plunged beginning 10 years ago because he was given the very dangerous drug Cipro…his plunge began 3 days after the first dose (while still taking it). He is now to where he must use a cane to walk about…now, even in our apt. Yes, it took years to reach this point. My daughter who has some problems has read a ton of things, online, books, etc. She thinks the reason maybe that he was impacted so badly with CIPRO was due to his likely having Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. We have a free wheeling pharmacy drug dealing going on…doctors are too busy to research it all. I feel that IF your DNA is known, there may be differences in what is done for you medically. OR it may indeed have much to do with whether you catch something or not. We are not like a machine. We cannot all take the same medicines or treatment. I have heard many places that going on a ventilator seals your fate, for most at least, with Covid. I could give you many links to research but most people prefer to do their own and will believe it more, if they do. One thing for sure, it is a FACT that if you are consumed with fear, your immune system plunges…and then you are more apt to catch anything at all. So if you believe absolutely everything you hear on TV and are consumed with fear, and rightfully so from all they say, then DO STAY HOME AND AWAY FROM OTHERS. And if you take every vaccine on the market, I think you better stay far away from others, until this disease goes hopefully past. Meanwhile, get busy and do your research and pump up your immune system all you can. I feel I can go out more than some because I take many supplements to pump up my immune system, also I happen to have O+ blood…which they say is the one that rarely gets Covid. I try to eat as healthy and organic as possible…take all the chemicals you can out of your body. Quit drinking tap water…get spring water or a very good filter for your water. Give your body LESS to deal with every single day!! Stay calm…try to stay happy and laugh as you can. Worry as little as possible. Spread HOPE…why not feature now, Brenda, some articles that give hope and encouragement and advice as to HOW to improve the body immune system?? And if you pray, what better thing to do…for oneself and others? Maybe you can figure out ways to help others even from home, like sewing things to give away, or even online, encouraging others. Just some ideas…

  5. It infuriates me that Trump won’t allow Biden access to the pandemic information. Trip is such a narcissistic man that he can’t accept his defeat. He’s damaged our country in so many ways and he’ll be responsible for deaths by withholding this needed information. I don’t really care what party people are affiliated with. This is beyond that. Lives are at stake and thus inept wanna be dictator needs to be removed ASAP for the good of all Americans.

  6. Thank you for sharing this, Brenda. I deleted my Twitter account several months ago, so didn’t see this. I know all too well how real COVID is…quite a few people I know have had it (some severely and still battling after-effects; some mild) and I also have friends in the health industry that are dealing with it upfront, such as this nurse. It is definitely much more than the flu.

  7. Thank you for this, Brenda! One of my daughters is an RN. About a year ago, she took a 20 hour per week non-patient-contact position at our largest hospital. It was a good paying opportunity to escape her 3 young kids for a few hours and have something “fun” for herself. All that has now changed. The triage phone calls she takes skyrocketed from friendly post-op chats to desperate pleas for help for family members gasping for breath. Her boss BEGS her to take on more hours, but her kids are at home, learning virtually, in early elementary grades. Management issued a stern warning last week: Nothing is stable. Accept the possibility that you could be transferred to a floor at a moment’s notice. Things are that dire. When I see a Face Book rant about “my infringed upon rights” in response to wearing a mask, I writhe with anger. When I see our president mask-less, joking about his quick recovery, and refusing to let the Biden team equip itself to deal with the mess he made, I become even more livid. The isolation and lack of normalcy have been inconvenient, but I’m working through it. Part of me is like you – I love solitude. It’s only the blatant disrespect for community health that has given me moments of intense hatred for my fellow human beings.

  8. With the numbers like they are and all of us now knowing someone or more than just one person being sick with Covid how can people be denying this is happening. This was a great story to share. People need to wake up and know this is real.

  9. My sister’s brother-in-law died of this. My brother-in-law was told that if he would have waited a couple of hours (if that) he would not have made it. His oxygen level was just over 70%. My nephew had it. As did another person I know. My friend is in a nursing center, she was transferred to the hospital ICU last week. She is out of the ICU now. The nursing center got hit bad. It was like a wind of Covid blew through.
    I have friends that work in the hospital that I use to work in. Everyone is exhausted! This will affect all of them for the rest of their lives. Keep all of the Drs, nurses, support workers ( housekeepers, kitchen, cafeteria, maintenance, etc) in your thoughts and prayers.
    Now the hospitals are full and running out Of protective gear. Wisconsin
    Yes, I am mad when I people claim that this is fake news. Sorry for the rant.

  10. My sister and her family had the virus. Even though she no longer has it she is still suffering after-effects from it. She has an overwhelming fatigue even though she is resting. She gets dizzy spells and faints. She has to walk with a cane now. Because of this she could not go to work. She was terminated from her job just as she had exhausted her leave entitlement under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Her family had health insurance through her job. Now they are scrambling to get all of their prescriptions filled and to see their doctors before the insurance runs out. Her doctor says that she is a COVID long hauler – that unfortunate group of people who continue to suffer from after-effects of the virus. She is wearing a heart monitor right now because her doctor suspects that her heart may have been damaged by the virus and perhaps her lungs too. When she first posted on social media that she and her family had the virus another family member responded that it wasn’t true because no one in her county had the virus.

    1. So terribly sad. I feel for her and her family. That’s what’s so scary about Covid. It has a plethora of long lasting side effects, some that will be problematic for a lifetime.

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