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A Witness to Suffocation

I started this blog as a platform to show my perspective on COVID and how this monster was suffocating loved ones I fought for. I watched my patients take their last breaths. I would give patients narcotics because gasping for air is painful to the patient. As a caregiver, this event is very difficult to watch. 
Yesterday, I watched the video of the suffocation of George Floyd. I became sick to my stomach from being so uncomfortable. I wanted to yell at my phone screen, "Who are these monsters, and why did EMTs not start compressions?" My eyes watered and my thoughts raced like "if I were a bystander I would do this, or I would do that." 

Then after some time, I decided that my thoughts were not true. 

My thoughts are not true, just like a travel nurse from the South who stated to me last week that "the media makes the race war much bigger than it is." 
My thoughts are not true in the same way that when I was a little girl waiting in the car and would see a b…
Recent posts

My Purpose

My journey to becoming a nurse was not an easy one. I was a senior at the University of Florida where I felt stuck in a major that I did not like. I remember breaking the news to my stepdad first about dropping out because I was unhappy. Whenever I had to break things to my mom (like dropping out of college, another car accident, or being tipsy underage) I would always go to my Papa Rich first. Spring of semester year of college, my stepdad was diagnosed with Stage IIIB Pulmonary Lymphoma with a life expectancy of two years. I remember coming home from college and crying in my mom’s arms questioning how I was going to live my life without him. He was the first man I ever liked. We were both cynical with a rigged sense of humor, but my favorite about my stepdad was that he introduced to me creative conversations. We would start with talking about science and end with naming every movie Tom Hanks was in. I would spend 4 days home and 3 days back at UF to finish college. My mom was working,…

New to New York Tough

This week I wanted to throw the towel in and move home.  I know some people are fighting for this to end. Protestors are trying to fight for an end, and because of the Constitution, they can rightfully do so. I hope and pray for those fighting that they will never be intubated, that they will never have to suddenly say goodbye to family members through a screen. I know that some are fighting for this to end, to go back to “normal.” But I am fighting, too.  Every day I go to work and fight for the public. I fight against something I cannot see. I fight for more oxygen, more breath, increase of numbers on a pulse oximetry screen.   I am exhausted. Mentally, I am running out of stamina, and the protestors are not helping. 
But some people are helping me.  I get my stamina when I think of the population listening to and following the stay-at-home orders. I receive my energy from the messages from people telling me that they take this seriously while listening to my interviews. With each interv…

Light and Dark

Three Shifts
There is something unique about working three days in a row as a nurse. I enter this vortex and often ask questions like "did I give this medication already? or was that yesterday?" The best part about working three days in a row is I build relationships with my patients for three days.
I believe that God gave me a mental break when I worked my three shifts. My patients were stable. All six (yes, I know what you're thinking too. I had to protect and advocate for SIX patients with COVID) of my patients progressed over the span of 3 days.
I got to witness the clinical trial Remdesivir be administered and make people feel better when Plaquenil was not working. I clapped when patients were being discharged. I did a victory dance at the nurses station when my patient safely weaned off the non-rebreather mask to a nasal cannula of 6 liters to then 4 liters.This is why I became a nurse. I get my energy by not only helping people but by making them feel good. I thoug…

Good Grief

I am selfish. I grieve for my travel plans that were lost and my family I cannot see. I remember when I called my mom and broke the news that my unit would be a COVID unit. All I saw first was myself. Concerns like "I cannot believe this is happening," "What about my health or my roommates?" My mom then cut me off mid sentence and said, "Kelsey, think about the people who have it."
My heart sank. She pulled me back in. She's good at that.
I start my shifts still going in and introducing myself. I hold their hands and tell them that my heart aches for them, too. I hold their hands and tell them that I wish I could take this all away. I hold their hands and squat down so that they can see my eyes peeping through the shields and masks and I tell them that we are going to get through this together. 
Sometimes it works; oftentimes, it does not.
Shift #4 Assessments are key here. I have four patients. All stable on their liters of oxygen per minute. One patient …

the alerts and orientations

Shift #3 One important bit of information that you always give another nurse or provider at shift change is how alert and oriented the patients are.  Do they wake up when I speak to them? Do they respond? Do they answer my question correctly? 
Sometimes the patient will be almost half dead and will still be able to grimace at who the president of the United States is. 
Most Covid patients are alert and oriented to person, place, and time (AOx3). Then they will lose the sense of time..AOx2. Then will become agitated, forgetful, confused.  Today was a constant battle with patients wanting to rip every connection or extension off of themselves. I overheard one nurse say, "If you take your oxygen off, you will die!"  The patient arrested 2 hours later and died. One patient fell because she was forgetful and confused. With all of the room doors closed, how can we monitor if they fall, rip off cords, or extensions of themselves?  Today I had a patient with metastasized esophageal cancer an…

Shift #1

I am here to be completely honest. Honest with my thoughts, my feels, my scenery, and most of all my purpose.  Sunday night I received a message from a coworker that slapped me in the face: "All of our normal patients will be transferred out. All positive COVID-19 patients will be transferred in."  The governor said for us to quarantine but I still wondered how serious could this be? I heard of it in China. I was warned that COVID was coming. Covid was some "flu-like virus" that my coworkers and I joked about. We giggled at our charge nurse wiping everything down and wearing goggles in January before the virus arrived in NYC.  Pandemics. We learned about them in epidemiology class. We knew the science behind it. We learned the definitions. But no one can prepare you for living through it. Even if you are not exposed and you're safe in your houses, no one can prepare you for the mental aspects of a pandemic. 
Shift #1 My night coworkers look like zombies. They transf…