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…
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:
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.