News from the Hospital Front: When You Wish Upon A Star

I hear you, people. I understand how hard it is to work from home or to provide some sort of semblance of school to your children. I also know how difficult it is to be unemployed (believe me, I found myself unexpectedly unemployed during the summer of 2010) and yet still have bills to pay.

I am also bored as h*ll staying at home (although, my cooking may have improved a bit) and am chomping at the bit to go out. As it is, DH, Kirby Krackel, and I were scheduled to be on vacation this past week and the upcoming week. Two whole weeks off to make a road trip out to the Utah National Parks. Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be. Due to this stupid COVID-19 crisis.

But what I don’t understand is why other states are loosening up the restrictions on staying at home and are beginning to open non-essential businesses in the wake of this crisis … which is FAR from over, despite what you may be reading and/or hearing in the news. For those that disagree with me, I invite you to tour the ER and spend a 12-hour shift in the ICU.

I don’t wish it upon you or any of your loved ones, but I wish you could understand what it’s like to have experienced having COVID-19; the feeling of isolation and helplessness that comes from keeping your distance from loved ones so that you don’t give COVID-19 to them.

I don’t wish it upon anyone to experience the extreme chills despite high temps, the worse muscle aches in the world. And yet, as a Registered Nurse, knowing that you NEED your body to react this way because it’s your body’s way of trying to fight off the virus on its own. And in the same vein, fearing that your body may overreact and cause severe respiratory distress that you need to be admitted to the hospital.

I don’t wish it upon you, but I wish you could feel what it’s like to watch via FaceTime the panic in your spouse’s face as you see him struggling to breathe with a mask blowing 100% pure oxygen directly through his mouth & nose … while he barely is able to tell me that he still feels like he can’t take a breath. Or the panic you feel that, as a wife and as a Registered Nurse:

  1. You can’t be there to physically hold his hand to help calm him down
  2. You know his assigned RN is busy with her other patient that is being intubated, and
  3. You fear that he’ll be the next one they’ll place on a vent.

I don’t wish it upon you, but I wish you could experience the red taped bureaucracy involved in trying to seek appropriate treatment, while also trying to follow the guidelines put in place … Only to have those guidelines change from day to day, hour to hour.

Or the fact that, as an essential worker, how difficult it has been to even get tested for COVID-19, knowing that your positive test result can be added to the data being collected during this pandemic.

I don’t wish it upon you, but I wish you knew what it’s like to love your career and be good at it, yet are hesitant to go into work each day for fear of what might happen on your shift.

Or what it’s like to force yourself to take a few deep, calming breaths before pushing back your unit’s door, labeled with a temporary sign that reads “Isolation Unit. Keep Doors Closed.”

Or how every day you greet your co-workers with, “Wonder what fresh hell we’ll get ourselves into today.”

Or how much of a struggle it is to remember what the latest protocol is for each specific task you have on your daily assignment. And what it’s like to worry that if you don’t follow these ever-changing guidelines, then you’d miss something life-threateningly important.

Most importantly, I don’t wish it upon you, but I wish you could recognize that what is happening at the patient’s bedside and on these units are occurring at a lightning fast pace. So fast in fact, that the *actual* news reported on a daily basis is often times a week or two behind.

  • Lack of testing? Called it.
  • Lack of PPE not just for the hospital, but other care facilities including nursing homes? Called that, too. Hydroxychloroquine ousted as “The Miracle Drug”? Uh huh … and I’m waiting for the news to report on how Remdesivir is only effective within 1-4 days of when the patient actually developed symptoms.

I don’t expect you to *understand* what my experiences have been like with COVID-19. However, I am simply asking you to see the reasons why Michigan’s government placed these “Stay At Home” restrictions in place.

While COVID-19 may not have affected you or your loved ones directly, it HAS affected the 50K Michiganders who tested positive for COVID-19 (which is significantly less that the actual, as many people were denied testing … myself included).

Or the families of the 5K Michiganders who DIED from COVID-19 related complications.

What I DO wish upon you is this: I implore you to consider the reasons why I believe it’s too early to “reopen” the country.

How can we reopen when we don’t have adequate testing to confirm exactly how many people have COVID-19?

How can we #SlowTheSpread when we aren’t even sure who has the virus or not … especially when there are countless of people that are NOT showing any symptoms? Those countless people would then unknowingly spread COVID-19 to at least 5 to 6 other individuals that can also remain asymptomatic.

How can we allow businesses, restaurants, retail shops to open when we don’t even have the appropriate leadership in place to set realistic guidelines on how to control the spread of this highly contagious virus?

How can we “reopen” when we don’t have a secure plan in place to keep the curve flattened?

How do we not learn from other countries that have reopened “too soon” and now have shown a resurgence in COVID-19 cases? Like South Korea, who loosen some social distancing restrictions early this month; or the Wuhan Province of China, where new cases popped up after at least 35 days without any new ones.

How can we believe that with “common sense” we can “go back to life as it was” … when “as it was” WAS. NOT. ENOUGH. to control this COVID-19 Pandemic? And that the thought of “we could catch the virus or any other virus” is merely considered a risk?

Sure we take risks every day, but that’s a CHOICE that each individual makes … of which that risk, if you usecommon sense,” should then be limited to your own outcomes. “Common sense” would dictate that any risk taken should avoid endangering others. Unfortunately, if you CHOOSE to take the risk of going out into public without applying social-distancing and without wearing a protective face mask … you certainly are NOT using “common sense.” In fact you would be putting an entire community at risk.

It’s unhealthy to think that by staying “closed,” our economy will crumble. It’s also egotistical to think that if the US Economy collapses, then every other economy will collapse worldwide. How can we think that the economy … the “almighty dollar” (or in this case “liquid assets”) is worth more than a life?

Let me clarify by saying that I DO want the country to reopen. I DO want our economy to be stable. I DO want those unemployed by this crisis to be be able to go back to work. I would certainly love to go out to restaurants again. And take that Road Trip we had planned for the beginning of this month.

What I DON’T want is to see an increase in hospitalizations for COVID-19 related issues. Because the more COVID-19 cases seen in the hospital means that the more resources will be reallocated to treating these patients.

This means that elective surgeries (the money maker for any hospital system) will be placed on hold (again), resulting in less revenue. Then the (non-frontline) Hospital Executives will continue to believe that they have “too many employee salaries to pay”, which would then lead to more furloughs and job eliminations.

This ultimately means less staff to take care of these COVID-19 patients (or any sick patients requiring hospitalization, for that matter). And since there will ultimately be those individual who DO NOT use their common sense when the economy reopens, this mean that we may ultimately never gain control over COVID-19. That’s why *I* believe that we need to maintain these #StayHomeStaySafe and #ShelterAtHome restrictions for now; at least until we are able to control the spread of COVID-19 … If not to save more lives (we just surpassed 90K deaths today), but to protect the lives of those still walking this earth.

After all, what good is an economy if we don’t have people to spend it on?


PS. Thanks to the research study I participated in, I can officially say that I did have COVID-19. And I have the antibodies to prove it!

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 😂🤣

News from the Home Front: Still Down & Out

Day Eleven. I’m still running intermittent fevers as high as 101.8; still having chills & body aches. And I still have no sense of taste smell, which leaves me with no appetite whatsoever (which SUCKS for a foodie like me). And if there was a way to unscrew my head so this stupid headache would go away, I totally would. To top it off, I’ve started to have these intermittent coughing spells that leave me breathless for a little spell. (No ongoing SOB, I promise.)

And now Hubby is officially down & out as well. He started having high fevers up to 102.0 on Saturday and has been consistently in the range of 100.0-102.0. Minus the cough, he’s pretty much had all the same symptoms I’ve been experiencing. He spoke with his PCP, who (surprise!) directed him to manage his symptoms at home.

As for me … Seeing that it had been over a week, this past Monday I scheduled an e-Visit with my PCP. I asked, once again, to get tested for COVID-19, at the insistence of literally Every. One. In. The. Universe. And — as expected — was informed that a test isn’t necessary at this time, especially given that Employee Health did not recommend that I receive one.

Which, BTW … let me just say that I must have gotten the RUDEST person at Employee Health, who answered my question with another question: “And why would you want to get tested?” Followed by another question: “What good would getting tested do?”

Believe me, I know why it doesn’t matter if I get tested or not (see previous post) … but sheesh, empathize much?

And for the record, to answer both of those questions: Well, peace of mind would be a nice reason to get tested, but it’s not a necessity. HOWEVER, as my SIL pointed out, wouldn’t it be nice to collect the DATA for further research? I mean, God knows that I’ve never in my life wanted to be considered a statistic (ask any of my high school friends), but in this COVID-19 Post-Apocalyptic World, any sort of data is knowledge. And knowledge is fuel to understanding how much better we can fight this battle. Wouldn’t you agree? (I know GI Joe would, since he’s always talking about how “knowing is half the battle” … just sayin’ 😏).

That said, as I’ve told Every. One. In. The. Universe. I know why I won’t be given the COVID-19 test: There are a limited number of tests available and they need to be administered judiciously. Unfortunately there are no absolutely clear guidelines on who should & should not get tested. However, what *is* CRYSTAL CLEAR is that if a person is suspected to have COVID-19, then the person should be treated as having COVID-19.

And what is the treatment for COVID-19? Symptom Management. Which is the treatment for ANY virus (influenza anyone?). Tylenol for the fevers & aches. Lots of fluids to keep from becoming dehydrated. And rest … lots of rest. At home. Isolated from the rest of the world. To contain this stupid virus. (STAY HOME.)

Unless of course you develop shortness of breath. THAT’S when you need to be concerned. And THAT’S when you need to go to the hospital to receive further treatment that you can’t provide on your own: supplemental oxygen therapies followed by ventilator-assisted breathing if that doesn’t work.

Again, I’m very lucky that I haven’t been having difficulty breathing (despite the stupid cough). I’m also lucky that, despite both Hubby’s & my underlying conditions, our symptoms have not worsened.

But it has been over 10 days since I started to exhibit symptoms, so I made another call to PCP’s office today. During the e-Visit on Monday (which, BTW is all by email), my PCP had stated that if I still had symptoms after 10 days, then it may be possible that I have developed bacterial upper respiratory infection (URI) as well, since viral symptoms tend to dissipate within 7-10 days of first exhibiting them. So after speaking directly to her this morning, I have now been started on antibiotics. And since Hubby already had a “stand-by” antibiotic prescription from his PCP, I’ve had him start on them as well.

So … Questions?

No, I didn’t ask about starting on hydroxychloroquine … the supposed “miracle drug.” First of all, despite what’s being touted in the news, this medication is NOT the cure-all for COVID-19. Second of all, the COVID-19 patients I had (prior to being sidelined) had all been placed on this medication along with an antibiotic; and, while there was some improvement, I can’t say that this practice guideline (hydroxychloroquine + azithromycin) was a runaway success. That said, I just don’t think there’s enough research studies (with control groups) out there to show that hydroxychloroquine has “clear therapeutic efficacy” in the treatment of COVID-19. At least that’s supposedly what had been touted by a top-level economist (with an apparent medical degree from Google University) in our nation’s capital. 🙄

Yes, I can have both COVID-19 and a bacterial infection. (In fact, many of the patients in our unit had both COVID-19 and some sort of bacterial pneumonia.) Two different “bugs,” so to speak. Except one (bacterial) can be “killed” with antibiotics (for the most part), while the other (viral) cannot. The only way to get rid of a viral infection? Symptom. Management. (And supportive care, if necessary) So yay … I’m now officially treating myself TWICE as nice! 😂

No, I can’t return to work yet. Still have to be symptom-free for > 72 hours before I can set up an appointment with Employee Health. I’ll be honest, the longer I’m away from the hospital, the more apprehensive I am about returning. Not that I don’t miss my awesome co-warriors and want to be there to support everyone else … It’s just that I get *exhausted* thinking about what awaits for me when I return. Or maybe I’m just exhausted because, well … COVID-19.

As it is … it has taken me the entire day to write this little piece and I’m FRICKIN’ worn out! But I wanted to update everyone, as I am STILL so amazed by how much love and support I have received from around the world. 🥰❤️🥰

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all the texts, messages, memes/gifs I’ve received from everyone. They make me laugh, smile and feel nice & warm (not in the sweats/chills way, either!).

Please know that I’ve read every single one of them and I apologize if I hadn’t responded back individually. Thank you especially to my family for checking in on us daily and delivering us food & provisions. Thank you to my next-door neighbor (shout out to you, Elizabeth‼️) for our surprise care package on our front porch.

And thank you to my nephew Tyler, who has become my supplier — er, I mean my prescription delivery man for the last couple of days. Again, Hubby & I feel so BLESSED to have you all in our lives. 🙏🏼❤️🙏🏼

Friendly Reminder that We Can’t Control EVERYTHING

Anyway … I hope to keep everyone updated here when I get the chance … and who knows? Maybe next time I update, I’ll be back at the Hospital Front.

Until then, stay healthy & happy … and STAY HOME.

News from the Hospital Front: Nurse DOWN

(Note: This was initially meant to be posted on 3/31, but well … I was a little “under the weather”)

It was bound to happen. I mean, I’ll be honest … I’m not in the best of health (Oh c’mon … physician and nurses, for the most part, make THE WORSE patients). I’m overweight & hypertensive, and have seasonal asthma. Plus I’m pretty much in the same age group of most of the patients we’ve intubated.

So yeah, I’m exhibiting some of the signs of COVID-19. Fever: ✅ Chills: ✅ Cough: Mild, but ✅ Muscle Aches: ✅ Loss of Appetite / Taste / Smell: ✅✅✅ I even got the one that aren’t as familiar with … 💩 Not. Fun. 😒 I’m also having several periods of dizziness which is annoying.
Needless to say, I was NOT cleared to go into work and now have to be symptom-free (all of them) for > 72 hours before I can even make an appointment with our Employee Health clinic to clear me to return.

So I can hear the questions now. Do I have COVID-19? 🤷🏻‍♀️ Not sure, but likely. Did I get tested? No. Am I having difficulty breathing? No. Have I quarantined myself from Hubby? Yes 😢.

Why didn’t I get tested? Well … for one thing, it wasn’t offered. (Oh, c’mon! You didn’t actually think that The Mother Ship’s Headquarters would straight up give one to their employees?) Second of all, I’m not exhibiting the most severe symptom of shallow, rapid breathing and difficulty catching my breath. Third … I feel that there are other people who would benefit from being tested, especially given the limited number of tests that are currently available.

And let’s face it … I’ve been working at the hospital well before the COVID-19 Outbreak occurred (and specifically on the COVID-19 ICU annex) so chances are I’ve already been exposed. And what’s the treatment for COVID-19? Symptom management. So lots of fluids, Tylenol for the fever and aches, and rest. And if I should start to exhibit any shortness of breath, Hubby knows to take me straight to the ER … as THAT’S the number one thing that we see in the most severe COVID-19 cases.)

I’m just hoping that I don’t give it to anyone else … my Hubby, most importantly, as we’re in the same household.

Speaking of the hospital, I can’t tell you the latest and greatest of what’s going on in the Hospital Front (guess I need to rename this post). What I can tell you from working the weekend is this: Besides PPE, supplies are running low. I’m talking basic supplies like alcohol wipes and simple 2×2 or 4×4 gauze dressings. The hallway looks like a war zone and the Nurses Station looks like something exploded in the middle of it.

One of the new things I noticed over the weekend was the string of tablets lined up against the “paper charts” at the Nurses Station. All of them were streaming live video of many of the patients. As our unit isn’t set up to be a video-monitoring unit (although there are some rooms that have that capability). this was one of the ways that the unit came up with to monitor those patients who are in severe danger of decompensating so quickly that the hardwire monitoring isn’t enough to closely monitor them.

As it is, the Nurse-To-Patient ratio, while better than it was before this crisis, has been tough. In addition, the number of patients literally coming & going from our unit has been absolutely nuts. So, while they may be assigned to one or two “beds,” the number of patients they might get throughout their shift might vary based on transfers.

The most unsettling thing I observed this weekend was the fact that the number of overhead pages for STAT intubations severely decreased. That’s a good thing, right? No … No it’s not. What I found out was that our unit was told that we should no longer call for the STAT intubation team overhead. Apparently, it’s starting to “freak people out” due to the number of times the team is needed. So instead the team is pretty much camped out on the unit, pretty much waiting for the next patient that needs to be intubated. Before I left on Sunday, there were at least five that were done in the period of six hours.

So what do I do now? Well, for one thing … rest. I can’t tell you how exhausted I feel.

Maybe some of it is from these horrible symptoms, but I think most of it is just sheer stress and anxiety from this crisis. I can totally empathize what it’s like for the general public to be anxious. I mean, seriously … it’s being thrown at you 24/7. Now imagine having to be in the hospitals where you’re seeing a lot of the most severe cases of COVID-19. And imagine that’s ALL you’ve been seeing, up close and personal.

And finally, imagine being the type of person whose calling is to serve those that are weak and sick; who wants to be there regardless of putting your own life and your family at risk.

It’s 24/7 anxiety and stress. What if I’m not doing the best I can for this patient? What if I’m not up-to-date with all the changes that occur every hour? What if I’m not protected enough? What if I bring this home to my family? What if I become as sick as the people I’m treating … or worse, what if someone in my family does?

Believe me when I say that us healthcare workers in the front line are EXTREMELY grateful for all your love and support (I mean … I’m not opposed to Marky Mark bringing us Wahlburgers all the time 😋). We love the signs outside the hospital and the chalk messages on our sidewalks (STAY HOME, by the way … ); I even tear up at the stupid commercials I see on TV.

But there are just some things that – as caregivers – we hide from others and keep it internally. It’s our nature to try NOT to cause discomfort for anyone. So that stress & anxiety manifests in other ways: exhaustion, insomnia, constant (and sometimes illogical) thoughts running through our minds.

So if there’s one thing I can ask of you guys (besides STAY HOME): Make sure to not just send out “thoughts & prayers” to all of our caregivers (again, we still love them, so keep them coming) … but call your healthcare worker friends. Check on them to see how they’re handling all of the stress & anxiety. We’ll all probably just say, “Oh, I’m fine!” and launch into how crazy it is in the hospital. But there may be that one time that you catch us in a moment where we need to tell someone how broken down we are, both physically and mentally.

If anyone is good friends with a nurse, you know how most of us use laughter as a way to keep us grounded. We find humor in the most horrifying and/or disgusting of things. We also tend to lean on each other as much as we can due to our shared experiences. But sometimes it’s nice to talk to a friend or loved one outside of the hospital (or even healthcare, in general) who is willing to lend an ear.

And that’s what I’ve been doing with these past few posts. This is MY way of dealing with thing; my way of sorting through some of my thoughts. My way of determining whether or not I’m being overly anxious or stressed. My hope is that my fellow healthcare workers find themselves an outlet.
And now I sleep. 😴💤



So I totally meant to post this on Tuesday, but I pretty much have been asleep for the past few days. Last night was probably the worse night of feeling miserable. I’ve had intermittent high fevers, but last night was the highest it had been despite feeling as cold as hell. I’ve had this persistent headache that will only go away for periods of time (between Tylenol doses every 4 hours), and I think I’m way beyond just feeling exhausted from worry. I think my body has finally said, “Slow the *** down and relax.” (Sorry for the swearing reference, Mom!)

Can I just say how hard it is to relax when you can’t even sit next to the person who soothes you the most? The one that’s held your hand through the toughest moments in my adult life? It totally sucks not being able to even hug Hubby.

As it is, I’m now worried I’ve passed it on to him. He’s feeling run down and exhausted, too. Of course, I’m not sure if part of it is because he’s been Nurse Hubby for me, while also going to work in our home office every day. Either way, I’m hoping that I haven’t because … well, I will just feel so incredibly horrible.

And now, as I finally get a chance to catch up on some FB posts, I see that a lot of the Primary RNs on the unit I’m assigned to and a few of my Nurse Practitioner & Physician Assistant friends are ALSO down and out. Which seems about right, since it’ll be that critical three weeks since this area first started seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases. Thus far, none of us are critically ill (THANK GOD!), but I can only imagine what will occur to the healthcare workers in the next weeks; as I know this unit (along with the ICU’s) was the first to get hit hard with COVID-19 cases.

For my friends at The Mother Ship — along with those MLP’s, physicians, and other Allied Healthcare workers — I wish I could be there with you to support you all. I plan to be back as soon as I can!