News from the Hospital Front: Just Enough Time To Take a Breath

[Hi Bloggie Friends; who likely stopped visiting my little corner of the world, since I haven’t written *anything* over the past two years. Not that I haven’t been writing, I just have been venting on FB instead. I will try (once again) to be active in writing here, too.]

Finally. A day off to unwind a bit; if only to surround myself in silence so that I’m not completely overstimulated with all the noise and activities on, what I’ve been deeming my unit as “COVID Central.” Not that it’s the unit that has the most or the sickest of the COVID+ patients … it just happens to be a centralized unit in the hospital and the first of the (now) 10 units to be designated at a COVID+ unit.

The activity on this unit is nothing I’ve ever seen before. For my healthcare friends, the closest thing I can compare it to is when the CPR team is dealing with one patient on your unit … and then the back-up CPR team gets called for *another* patient down the hall. So. Many. People.

And the noise … if anyone has ever spent time visiting a family member in the ICU on a ventilator, you’d recognize the sound a vent makes to alarm the RN or Resp Therapist. Having spent a significant time at the bedside with my Dad & my Aunt, that alarm is embedded in my memory so much that I experience PTSD whenever I hear that sound. I suppose that I’m assigned to the wrong unit, if that’s the case. And yet, here I am … not wanting to be Any. Place. Else. (Except home, of course. With Hubby & the one-and-only Kirby Krackel)

Anyway … As I mentioned above, The Mother Ship has now converted a total of 10 units specifically to treat COVID patients. And yes, they are utilizing other areas of the hospital (ORs and Pre-op / Recovery Rooms) to accommodate patients. Our number of COVID+ patients continue to climb on a daily basis, doubling or sometimes tripling over a 24 hour period. And we are trying to discharge patients home as soon as we can to keep beds open.

This is definitely standard news fare; things you’ve likely seen on the news or read online or in the newspaper. What it’s *not* really saying is that the Metro Detroit area has now hit that “Third Week” stage. This is when patients that have tested positive for COVID-19 three weeks ago are likely to require critical ICU-level care. This is when we will see that initial increase in number of patients requiring ventilators to keep them breathing.

And the thing is, when patients get to that third week … it hits them HARD: We’ve seen so many patients go from walking & talking to needing to be intubated in a matter of minutes.

To give you an idea, a “normal” (pre-COVID-19) day at The Mother Ship, we may hear an overhead page for a STAT intubation about once or twice a day. Yesterday alone, we heard FIVE of them before 2 pm. That doesn’t even include the number of *anticipated* intubations that occur at bedside; the ones where we see patients decompensating before our eyes. So yeah … though I don’t have exact numbers, the number of patients requiring breathing assistance continues climb, despite all of us trying to flatten that curve.

With all that, this day off came at a good time. First of all, I needed that breather (ha ha … pun *intended*) before heading into my assigned work weekend. And second, this is giving me the time to say THANK YOU for the overwhelmingly positive responses I received from my post the other day. All the love I received was passed on to all my coworkers and peers throughout the hospital and … believe me when I say that we are SO HUMBLED by your responses.

I truly didn’t realize that it would make the impact that it did (although, I suppose that the rest of the nation has a little more time on their hands to actually read & scroll through FB). From that one post alone, I’ve had a few friends in the Healthcare Industry reach out to me to inform me of nursing facilities that were working on providing rehab beds for COVID+ patients.

I’ve had home care agency contacts call me to let me know that they’re staffed and ready to take on patients. I’ve even had an owner of a group home reach out to me to see what could be done if the need to find placement for these patients becomes overwhelming (shout out to Vicki!)

In addition, I’ve had some of you ask what you can do to help out. The number one thing you can do is STAY HOME and keep a healthy SIX FEET away from the non-household person next to you when out in public.

With the weather becoming nicer (well, some days anyway), I know kids will want to go outside and play with their friends. While I *love* that kids are outside (rather than inside watching TV all the time), right now, it’s much SAFER to play outside only with other members of your household (as long as they’re not COVID+, of course). Better yet, have them read a book (sorry, I’m a bibliophile) or play board games with them. Or hey … have them invent a new game!

I know it’s been drilled into everyone’s head; however, I can’t emphasize *enough* that the only way to contain the spread is to NOT leave your home. It’s annoying and I totally get the “I’m bored” part, but the longer society continues to ignore or disregard this request, the LONGER WE WILL BE SELF-ISOLATED.

But, while you’re at home, consider other ways you can help others. Obviously at the hospitals, we’re in desperate need of PPE and other medical equipment. But I’m pretty sure none of you have a spare ventilator lying around your home … so if you’d like to donate supplies (masks, eye shields, disinfectant wipes, etc), you can alway reach out to your local hospital to determine which supplies they REALLY need and where you can drop off or ship these donations.

Outside of the hospital, think of other healthcare related facilities or agencies that may need PPE as well: Nursing homes, group homes, home care agencies … they all have healthcare workers that are also being exposed to COVID-19 as well.

Consider delivering meals or groceries to those elderly patients that cannot get out — or rather, SHOULD NOT get out — of their homes. You don’t have to be in physical contact with people when delivering; you could always arrange a drop off on their porch.

Again … I can’t tell you enough how much ALL OF US HEALTHCARE WORKERS appreciate your love, prayers, support, donations, etc. But remember, there are also others out there that also need this as well. Yourself included.

Take care of yourself and your love ones. Try not to focus on things beyond your control. Stay healthy both mentally and physically.

And now … I nap.

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