I am a nurse. I am working 60+ hours a week in people's homes. I am exhausted and scared, but I have seen such kindness and beauty.
Every day I go to work with safety in mind. I have two 15 year old sons and my husband at home who are everything to me. I wear leggings and a tank top under my scrubs, and when I see patients with COVID, I wear all of the equipment: A hair cover that my mother-in-law made for me, a plastic gown, shoe covers. I cover my N-95 mask with a fabric mask that my mother-in-law made for me to protect the N-95 – we don’t have many so we have to reuse them 5 times. Then I double glove. I use the base pair of gloves as my “hands” and don’t remove them until I get done.
After I do my assessment and patient care, education and often wound or IV line care, I leave the home. Outside of their home I remove everything that’s disposable and have the family throw it away. I take off my fabric mask, hair cover, scrubs and shoes. I bleach-wipe my shoes and face guard, and place all of the contaminated clothing in a double plastic bag.
I use sanitizer on every skin surface and spray myself with Lysol.
When I get home, my husband leaves a sack in the garage and opens all the doors. I remove all of my clothing and put it in the laundry, I go immediately to the shower and shower, wash my hair. My boys know not to hug me until decontamination has happened.
I have trouble sleeping. I worry if I get sick, I won’t be able to care for my family or for my patients. We are seeing sicker, more fragile people because everyone is avoiding hospitals and nursing homes. Oftentimes we are the only conduit between being safe at home and being admitted to a facility.
I have seen what the ravages of this virus can do, not only to the people suffering with it, but to their family who can’t sit at their side and comfort them. I hate what it’s done to businesses and the economy. I worry that the people protesting are going to spread the virus even further.
I didn’t become a nurse because it was safe. I became a nurse because I wanted to make a difference and make people’s lives better. I don’t refuse patients, and I care for everyone that comes my way.
I hope we stopped the virus for you. I hope that our sacrifices now made tomorrow a safer, better world.
-- Lauri Jaworsky