News from the Hospital Front: A Little Soul II Soul and Back to Life & Reality

Wahoo‼️ DH is home … and it’s been wonderful 🥰 Thank you for all the love & well wishes 🙏🏼❤️🙏🏼 we’ve received, as it has been one tough April.

With everything that has happened in the past two months, it feels like March lasted 5 years while April feels like 10 years had passed. Anyone else feeling exhausted⁉️

Anyway, despite some intermittent shortness of breath and becoming easily exhausted, DH is doing really well. He is truly happy to be home and back in our bed. And Kirby Krackel is so excited that we can resume #OhanaCouchTime 🛋👩🏻🐶👨🏻 every night … although he was NOT very excited this morning when I reached for those blue scrubs.

Yep … that’s right. Today was my first day back to work. I was excited to be back just to finally see my work family and to thank them for taking good care of DH when I wasn’t able to be by his side. It was great catching up with them and seeing how everyone had been during the last TEN years.

I have to admit that I got winded easily; feeling a bit short of breath after climbing one set of stairs or just walking from one end of the unit to the other. Guess I need to do a little more cardio on my days off … (oh, who am I kidding 😏)

It was strange returning to my assignment after being off a month. When I reviewed my work queues this morning, a list of about 80-90 patients I had been following a month ago popped up on my personal work list. I would say about 5-10 patients were still hospitalized, while the others had already been discharged. It isn’t such a big deal to have that many people gone from the hospital setting, especially within the span of a month. The disturbing part was that out of those 70+ “discharged” patients, approximately two-thirds of those patients had expired. From COVID-19 related issues. That freaked me out.

Furthermore, out of the 16 patients I was following today, one was “downgraded” to a regular floor, while four were “upgraded” to the ICU tower (having been intubated & placed on a ventilator). And one patient expired. That’s one-third of my assignment. For ONE day. And this is approximately three weeks past our peak of COVID-19 admissions during this “wave.” In fact, up to the day I went out on medical leave it was absolutely crazy at The Mother Ship with all the COVID-19 admission, discharges, and deaths that occurred. I can only imagine how insane it was just before Easter, when we reached our “apex” for this wave of the current pandemic.

With that said, today I had a LOT of conversations with other work friends & family who also had been off for COVID-19. There was a LOT of discussion about the various symptoms we all shared. There was ALSO a lot of discussion about how Headquarters had handled / is handling all the medical leaves due to COVID-19. Those employees who were sent home to self-quarantine due to exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms before and at around the same time I left (March 30th) also complained about not being able to get tested to confirm a COVID-19 diagnosis. Yet those employees who went on leave shortly after I did were able to get tested through Employee Health.

In addition, those that HAD NOT received testing through Employee Health during the same period of time had also received the SAME email I received this Monday (April 27th). That email stated that my medical leave status, including pay and benefits, may be impacted if I didn’t call within 24 hours to schedule a COVID-19 test. So naturally, I was incredibly annoyed.

Seriously … This is what Headquarters is demanding of me? Now? After I asked several times. To get tested for COVID-19? And I was “politely” asked by Employee Health why I felt I *needed* to be tested? And now, A. MONTH. LATER. I’m being informed that my pay and benefits will be affected if I DON’T get tested? I mean seriously, WTF⁉️

Since I was finally symptom-free for more than 72 hours straight, I had already planned on calling Employee Health the next day April 28th (Tuesday, AKA yesterday) to get schedule a virtual return to work appointment. So yesterday morning, I called The Mother Ship’s Employee Health clinic to schedule that appointment. Next I contacted Headquarter’s Employee Health (as directed by the email) to schedule my COVID-19 testing. Of course, I asked why I needed the test now after I had been refused testing throughout my medical leave. I would think the test would likely be a “false negative” as the virus was (most likely) no longer replicating in my body. I also asked if I *really* needed a test, as I was getting cleared to return to work the very next day.

The answer I received from Headquarters Employee Health was that was they were now requiring that ALL employees placed on medical leave for COVID-19 symptoms be tested, regardless of time frame from when the symptoms first appeared.

So reading between the lines, I took it as:

  1. Headquarters now want the DATA so that they can keep an “accurate” count of ALL employee medical leaves for positive / suspected COVID-19 cases, so that 😎
  2. They only pay those employees 100% of their salary per Michigan’s COVID-19 Paid Medical Leave Executive Order, and
  3. They cover their 🍑🍑 if this issue should ever come up in court of law.

Too little, too late IMHO 🙄 Anyway, I managed to schedule an appointment at The Mother Ship for 3:00 pm this afternoon, as I knew I’d be at work.

Funny thing, though. Actually, two …

First, when I finally had my virtual appointment yesterday morning, I informed them that I already scheduled my mandatory COVID-19 testing for today. The RN clearing me for work told me that I didn’t need be tested, as she was clearing me for a return to work. When I explained to this RN about the email indicating that my pay and benefits would be affected if I didn’t get tested, she had NO idea what I was talking about. She told me that she would check with her supervisor, but to go ahead and keep my appointment for today.

Which I TRIED to honor this afternoon, and which brings me to the SECOND funny thing. I was directed to go to The Mother Ship’s “Drive Up” testing location when I scheduled this appointment. And because I was at work today, I walked my out-of-shape, COVID-19 (although never “formally confirmed”) -affected body to the entrance where I had driven DH on Easter Sunday to get tested. I figured that instead of testing me in a car, they could have me sit in a chair right outside of the entrance and stick that cotton swab up my nose and as close to my brain as possible to perform the test.

But NO … I was told that I had to get in my care and drive up to the entrance to get tested. After a series of “Are you serious?” and “Wouldn’t it be easier for you to do it here and now?” and even “I’m wearing a mask and you’re fully dressed up from head-to-toe in PPE” … I was told that there was no exceptions.

Then I told them that I would drive up after I officially got off work at 4:30 this afternoon. To which I was promptly told, “We close at 4:00 pm” 😤

As if that wasn’t a slap in the face, when I called Headquarters Employee Health to reschedule a testing tomorrow morning before I came into work, I was finally told I DIDN’T NEED TO BE TESTED as I had ALREADY BEEN CLEARED TO RETURN TO WORK 🤦🏻‍♀️

I swear … the BRAIN (Headquarters) has no clue what its LIMBS (The Mother Ship, et al) are doing.

And it makes me want to stick that damn COVID-19 nasal swab up another body orifice where the sun don’t shine, and frustrates me that I wasted a good hour (or so) trying to comply with Headquarter’s asinine requests.

I have MUCH more to say about being back at the Hospital Front, especially the emotional impact that COVID-19 has had on all of us frontline workers … but I will save it another post.

For now, I will leave y’all with a list of things I am most grateful for these days:

  1. DH is HOME‼️
  2. I still have a job 😬
  3. I am, for the most part, healthy 😊
  4. I have awesome friends & family both at work and throughout the world (thank you, social media!) 🥰, and
  5. DH is HOME‼️‼️

And … for my usual sign-off: For the love of all those Essential Workers out there that WISH they can — STAY. HOME.

News from the Home Front: Worse. Wife. Ever.

First of all, Happy Easter to all of my family & friends. I can’t tell you how BLESSED (and for those that know me well, “blessed” is a word that I don’t use lightly) that we are to have the love & support of everyone in our lives, especially in light of what we all have been living through over the past few months.

Whatever your religious or spiritual beliefs are, know that Dear Hubby (DH) & I are grateful that your love, your positivity, your well-wishes have found your way to us.

We’ve always lived our lives believing in the concepts of Karma (“What goes around, comes around”) and the Golden Rule (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”), and I feel as if we’re totally “cashing” in on some of that “good.” So again, THANK YOU.

With that said, I don’t have positive news to deliver today. DH developed a cough yesterday and his temp was 102.9 this morning; though he had no shortness of breath (SOB) or difficulty breathing (dyspnea). We did a video appointment with the on-call physician from his PCP’s office. She recommended that since DH has other underlying medical problems, that DH should go to The Mother Ship’s drive-thru COVID-19 Screening / Testing.

When we got there, they checked to see how his oxygen levels were at; since he was hovering at 89-90% (“normal” is anything 90% or higher), he was sent to the ED where he was eventually placed on 3 liters of oxygen and was sent for a chest x-ray.

That chest x-ray? It showed pneumonia. And it won him an admission to The Mother Ship on one of the COVID-19 medical floors. Although his COVID-19 test is still pending as I write this, they are treating it as if he does have it, including starting him on the treatment guideline of hydroxychloroquine + azithromycin.

So there you go. I brought COVID-19 home to my husband. Which officially makes me the Worse. Wife. Ever.

Okay, okay … I know I’m over-exaggerating here. Logically, I know that this could have happened regardless of my chosen profession or where I work, but bear with me as I try to work through my emotions as I sit at home, while my husband lies in a hospital bed less than a half mile away.

Remember … these posts are *MY* way of coping with this COVID-19 Crisis. So hear me out.

I feel guilty. I’m the one who brought COVID-19 into our home. I’m the one who first had symptoms and — though I self-isolated from DH — I *still* managed to pass it on to him. Yes, I know I wasn’t “officially” tested for COVID-19, but it doesn’t take rocket science to know that if my symptoms walked & talked like a duck then it likely *IS* a duck.

How could I have passed this miserable virus to DH? How could I give him the same head & body aches that I had? How could I pass on those fevers from h*ll while simultaneously feeling like I was lying in a bed of ice in the middle of winter? How could I let the same person — who is admittedly the chef in our household — lose his sense of taste & smell?

Blame it on the whole Filipino Catholic thing … but I feel absolutely HORRIBLE for bringing this home to him. And I suspect that many of us Front Line Healthcare Workers feel the same way.

But I also feel angry. So. Stinkin’. Mad. Two weeks ago (today, in fact) when these symptoms first started, DH & I followed the guidelines for self-quarantine at that time. I took over the master bedroom & 1st floor bathroom, while he stayed in our den, slept on the couch (his choice, not mine), and used the upstairs bathroom closest to his home office. I wiped down everything that I touched in the kitchen & other common areas and he did the same. Separate dinnerware, separate meals; separate everything. We didn’t touch, kiss, hug; we were basically separated from each other in our own home. And because of that, there was NO REASON for either me or DH to wear a mask in our home … Especially since we were never directly face-to-face from one another AND we were always a room or more apart from each other. That was the guidelines … Two. Weeks. Ago.

And for the most part, it *still is* for a household that has someone sick with COVID-19 or even suspected COVID-19. (See first link below.) Last week there were changes to those guidelines.

Last week (April 8, to be precise), the CDC strongly encouraged that *everyone* start wearing cloth masks, along with staying six feet apart from another when in public. (See second link below.)

It was also just LAST WEEK that Headquarters issued an email stating, “The CDC says it is reasonable for all health care workers to wear a mask if they are not able to adequately maintain a social distance of 6 feet from one another. This includes wearing them in break rooms, hallways and other common areas.” Prior to that, Headquarters had NO recommendations about wearing masks in common areas or when having to walk through the halls. A mask wasn’t considered “necessary” unless of course, you were feeling “under the weather” or you were in the “high risk” category for COVID-19. Because why use precious PPE if it isn’t necessary? Especially when direct caregivers needed the limited amount of PPE available more than other healthcare workers?

That means that back in the *beginning* of March when COVID-19 first started to hit Detroit, no one (except for those providing direct care to COVID-19 / Suspected COVID-19 patients) was required to wear a mask.

Flash-forward now to the *end* of March (3/30), and I become a Suspected COVID-19 healthcare worker. Six days later (4/4), DH now has Suspected COVID-19. Seven days from then (today 4/12), DH is admitted to the hospital.

So yeah. The fact that I *probably* should have been wearing a mask from the moment Detroit became a COVID-19 “hotspot” is what truly makes me angry.

Which — earlier today — led me down a rabbit hole of negativity with the following thoughts:

  1. Headquarters should have been recommending this from the beginning AND providing staff with adequate PPE, even if it was a plain surgical mask
  2. The entire healthcare system in the US should have been more prepared for this pandemic MUCH SOONER by having enough PPE, ventilators, and other medical supplies available
  3. The US Government should been involved EARLIER in this pandemic before it even reached US soil, and finally
  4. Both US Healthcare and the US Government should been quicker and MUCH more open to learning from the other countries about what has / has not been working.

I mean … aren’t we, as a nation, supposed to be one of the brightest and most advanced countries? I could go on and on (and on) about how I think US Healthcare Industry and our federal government has failed miserably, but I will hold back. Well … At least for right now. While DH is in the hospital. Where I can’t visit him. And hold his hand or help ease some of that anxiety that comes from being alone in a frightening place. (But once this COVID-19 Crisis is under control … then, try and stop me!)

Because really … at this juncture, why waste my energy on how ANGRY I am? And how negative I could become? For now, I just want to keep as level-headed and calm as I can, so that I can be there for DH when I’m needed.

Whew. Rant over.

And … as I re-read what I’ve written, I realize that I’ve come back full circle to the whole Karma / Golden Rule thingy:

I can be anxious and feel guilty and scream with anger about this whole situation. But I won’t. (Give me a few days on the whole guilt thing though, because … well, Filipino Catholic!)

Because I truly believe that if we give out positive vibes, then we’ll get positive vibes in return.

Which we’ve already received. In Spades.


To leave on a happier note … here’s a few serendipitous things that have occurred since just this morning:

  • Our incredibly professional and big-hearted nephew (AKA supplier — er, Prescription Deliverer), was one of employees stationed at The Mother Ship’s COVID-19 Drive Thru … and, since I can’t physically be there for DH, Tyler has been awesome at helping to relay messages / deliver items to him.
  • The Hospitalist (Attending Physician in lieu of his PCP, who doesn’t come to the hospital) happens to be a great friend of mine, and is someone that DH has also met. We couldn’t be happier (and I couldn’t be more relieved) to be assigned to her, as I’ve personally worked with her and she’s is just simply AWESOME, both as a physician AND overall as a person. (Love you Susan!)
  • Our next-door-neighbors ONCE AGAIN left us (well, really just *me* at the moment — sorry DH!) an entire Easter Dinner care package. I mean, really?! Who does that?? Obviously Elizabeth & her family does! Thank you SO much for the delicious meal!
  • Today is the first time I’ve been out of my house for the past 2 weeks, and that fresh air felt wonderful … I told my SIL Janet that I felt like a 9-year old girl who got her first Big Girl Bike and felt that first bit of freedom
  • And while I was out, I figured poor Kirby Krackel deserved a little freedom as well … so I took him to a local park and walked him around its perimeter (wore a cloth mask the ENTIRE time, too! 🥵)

In spades, I tell ya … 🥰


AND AS A REMINDER … Stay safe out there, people!

  • Six feet apart, people. SIX. FEET.
  • When out in public, wear a cloth mask (save the *real* masks for the healthcare workers!)
  • And — for the love of all those Essential Workers out there that WISH they can — STAY. HOME.


Time for bed now … this Keister is done with this year’s Easter 😂🤣

Thirty Days of Thanks, Day Thirty

Wow. I can’t believe it’s already the 30th day. While I might not have written the most eloquent of posts, at least I accomplished the task at hand … which was to try to write daily.

I forgot how I love to write and had honestly put things aside because I’ve been too busy. Well, I’m still busy but at least I’ve made the effort to set aside time to write. I just hope I can continue the trend of writing more, because I hate to disappear for long periods of time. I hate to lose the skill. (Not that I’m the best of writers, anyway … but you get the point.)

So on this last day, I am thankful for this exercise. Not only did it force me to write daily, but it forced me to look at what I have in my life and be grateful for what I have.

Thirty Days of Thanks, Day Twenty-Nine

Boy, it’s getting colder out there. And dark. I really don’t like this time of year because it’s dark when you go into work and dark when you leave. That’s why every year I look forward to the winter equinox … the longest night of the year. That just means that we’ve turned the corner and the nights will start to get shorter and the days longer.

Of course, that date (winter equinox) is December 21st, every year. Except this year it’s 2012. You know, December 21, 2012 … the end of the Mayan calendar and supposedly “the end of the world”?  <snigger snigger>

All this means is winter is definitely around the corner. Which means, at least in the northern half of the US, snow will soon be on the ground.

Not that I don’t like snow. It’s pretty to look at and to play in. But not exactly fun to clean off your car or shovel your driveway.

Working downtown, I do see a fair share of homeless people … and I always think of how hard winters must be on them. I’m sure their situations are hard all around, but throw cold weather into the mix? I’ve gotta believe that’s just one more added stress.

That’s why today I’m grateful for a roof over my head and the warmth that a house provides to us. I realize that we may not keep it as tidy as it should be, but it’s a place that Hubby & I can call our home.