A Nurse’s Perspective – My Personal Battle with COVID-19
By: American Nurses Association
As a home health nurse, I am only as protected as my patients are honest. Although we have protocols in place prior to patient visits, you can never be too careful. I followed the rules, the guidelines, and the protocols, and still ended up with COVID-19.
I started having symptoms on a Wednesday morning — fever, chills, dry cough, body ache and weakness. I drove to a nearby testing site, a fire station, but was turned away. They were out of tests. I was given a number to make an appointment. I called. Again, I was turned away — they were prioritizing hospital workers.
I told myself to toughen up. I made a plan. If my symptoms got worse, I could go to the ER. I hoped they wouldn’t, but of course, they did. In a matter of hours, my fever shot up to 103.6 and my coughing became unbearable. I drove myself to the ER only to be turned away. I wasn’t bad enough. Yet.
A couple of days later, my boss called to check on me. He sounded worried and sent an ambulance to pick me up. I couldn’t believe it. As a nurse, I’ve always been the giver of care and I wanted to keep it that way. I didn’t want to be on the other side.
Lots of uncertain thoughts ran through my mind as I was transported to the hospital. When we reached the ER, there was actually a separate tent made specifically for patients who are suspected to have COVID-19.
I got worse. The night of April 1, my nurse observed that my respirations were shallow and I would need to be transferred to the ICU. I called my pastor and asked for a prayer. That night I needed a miracle. I didn’t want to be intubated. I knew what that meant. I was alone and scared and had to advocate for myself. I spent three days in the ICU and somehow, my condition improved. I was sent to a suite where I would remain for the next two weeks. Slowly, my body began to recover, but I was changed forever.
COVID-19 made me realize that no one is invincible. Life is short and it can be taken from you in an instant. It’s also given me another level of respect, honor and appreciation to the profession and calling that I am a part of — nursing. For everything it could have taken away from me, COVID-19 gave me a new set of eyes. It gave me a fresh appreciation of life.
I thank God that I am here today to tell my story. So many are not and it’s my vow to continue fighting for them. God’s most precious gift, my life, was nearly snatched away from me too soon. I promise him, my family, and my patients that I will do everything I can to do the best I can with my second chance.
Thank you, American Nurses Foundation, for your support.
Please give today to the Coronavirus Response Fund, so we can help every nurse combat the mental, emotional, physical and financial stress this pandemic has caused.