By Leah Paquette BSN, RN, ICU Nurse Maryland , US Coast Guard Spouse & Veteran
“Our 23 bed intensive care unit and 11 bed intermediate care units are at capacity with COVID-19 patients and we have had to utilize other units in our hospital for these patients.
We worry about running out of medications. We are conserving our personal protective equipment (PPE) and taking measures to protect our families.
I strip down in my garage before I go into my house. My husband has been concerned for my safety but supports me, not just emotionally, but by taking over things at home that we would normally share the work load on. He still has to go into work as his job cannot be done remotely. To say I come home physically and emotionally exhausted would be an understatement; it normally takes me about a day to recover from my shift. Since the gyms are closed, I try to walk or jog on my off days to maintain my own mental and physical health. I worry about our families that we are far from, since I cannot go to them if they get sick. I try not to let all the different noise in the news and social media make us panic.
I don’t think I’m a hero.
I worry hearing about people not taking this seriously. I have had patients young and old, some even previously very healthy and some with underlying medical conditions. I love working in this ICU, our team is amazing and we are committed to our patients, each other and fighting this virus.”
More from the frontlines:
“This is the scariest, most surreal sickness I never thought I’d see as a nurse. We have a misconception that we have “modern medicine” so many illnesses can easily be treated, but this virus is wiping people out despite all of our technology and evidence-based practice. No one is safe, including us, the nurses, and our families, who we put at risk once we return home. These shifts are absolutely draining. My days off from work are filled with sadness from my last shift and fear for my next one.”ICU Nurse and Navy Spouse