News from the Hospital Front

[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.]

It’s absolutely nuts. Every day is something new & challenging. We’re definitely stressed (more than usual) and that can be felt throughout the entire hospital. Yet we’re trying to keep it as positive and as humorous as possible … if only just to keep us from breaking down.

It’s like nothing any of us have experienced. And the unit I’m on for Case Management is the designated COVID unit. It’s a step-down unit (not ICU but not a general floor either), that has been converted to the COVID-19 ICU annex. Many of these patients present with abnormally high temps, very low oxygen levels, and pneumonia. The ones on our unit require high flow oxygen to keep their levels in the mid- to low-90’s (most “normal” adults tend to be in higher 90’s)… and if that doesn’t help, then these patients “win” a tube down their throat in order to get placed on a ventilator.
To give you an idea, typically (pre-COVID-19) 1-2 patients get “intubated” in a 24-48 hour period on our unit. This past Friday, our unit intubated 18 patients in a 24 hour period. Today, there were 40+ patients on the vent by the time I left work.

Thank GOD that, as a Case Manager, I’m not providing direct patient care. However, I *am* doing a lot of talking to patients on the phone from our office (just down the hall, BTW) about what kind of healthcare needs (medical equipment, home care, physical rehab, etc) they might require on discharge. And then we’re counseling families from their homes (no visitors allowed) about the next steps when the patient is close to being discharged from the hospital (unless, of course, they’re “celestially” discharged 😢).
Which is the next big issue for me. We have NOWHERE to send these COVID+ patients that require rehab (no nursing facilities are accepting). And we’re also dealing with Assisted Living facilities or Group Homes that are refusing to take their residents back.

Yesterday, I had a Group Home manager tell me he couldn’t take his resident back because they hadn’t received their order of PPE that they *just* ordered LAST WEEK 😡 But the best part? He stated that he’d take him back if the hospital sent him home with TWO WEEKS of PPE for his home.

Today, we had a nursing facility “accept” a COVID-19 patient, but requested we send the patient with ten masks.

Seriously. All this … when direct care workers have to *literally* sign their lives away on a daily basis to get ONE N95 mask. The same ONE that they have to reuse for the entire day, placing it in paper bags throughout the shift when “not in use.”

And now, tonight … A national spotlight on The Rachel Maddow Show about how our 3K+-Hospital bed health system is reaching capacity and “transferring patients” amongst our hospitals. Which basically means they’re sending these patients to none other than the hospital that I work in … The Mother Ship. The First and Largest of the hospitals.

At the end of the day – like all my coworkers – I am exhausted mentally, physically, and emotionally. And yet, we healthcare workers get up the next morning and do it again.

Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, and positive vibes. I totally appreciate them.

All us frontline workers do.