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Hello again everyone! I’m alive and well (for the most part haha). I didn’t want everyone to think that I just disappeared off the face of the earth and I also wanted to let you all know that Sugarplum is still doing good. These past 6 weeks or so have been very very stressful and difficult. This world has changed so suddenly and drastically, and not for the better. As a nurse, it’s been no walk in the park. I guess I shouldn’t really complaint because there are many, many nurses, doctors, other healthcare professionals (let’s not forget non clinical workers such as security and environmental) as well as others who are still working who are not in the healthcare workers who have it much worse, but it’s still been stressful. I’m a psychiatric nurse in a 100+ bed psychiatric hospital in an urban area, and we’ve still been deeply affected by COVID. I feel we have done the best job that we can to prevent the spread given the circumstances. Our admissions department has a screening process when they receive intakes (or referrals) and they have turned some potential patients away due to potentially having COVID. Some patients had developed signs/symptoms after being admitted into the hospital. Everyone who enters the facility (including employees) gets their temperature checked; anyone with a temp of 100 degrees or higher is denied entry. All patients’ temperatures are checked twice daily; any patient with a temp of 100 is sent to a unit in which was converted into a designated isolation/quarantine unit. Labs are drawn, and we now (for about the past 4 weeks) have had the ability to test for COVID. Once a patient has been cleared, they are transferred back to a regular unit, and most of them have been. I’m happy to report that we have had only three confirmed cases; that’s pretty good in my mind as I would have expected many, many more. As a matter of fact, there was a young man who I was almost certain was going to test positive: several days before we finally were able to test patients for COVID, he did have a temp and was subsequently sent to the isolation unit, which I am oftentimes assigned. He did complain of lethargy, a headache and muscle aches, but denied a cough, sore throat or any breathing issues. He tested negative for the flu and his respiratory PCR was negative, but his other bloodwork was consistent with the usual COVID findings, but a few days later, we were finally able to test for it without sending patients to the medical hospital, and he tested negative. We all were pretty surprised. The test was repeated, and again, it was negative. As for the others who tested positive: the first patient (I’ll refer to them as A, B, C) A had a temp, was sent to the isolation unit as was B, his roommate; B also had a temp. A’s condition began to worsen a couple days later and was sent to the medical hospital. At that time, we didn’t have the ability to test yet, and the medical hospital notified us the next day that A tested positive and was on a ventilator in the ICU. (A ultimately survived and I believe he was sent back to us; a coworker told me they saw his name on a recent patient census list). A’s roommate, B, remained with us during the entire duration of his illness, which was about 2.5 to 3 weeks. During the first week he had been coughing with a temp, but ultimately recovered. About two weeks after B came to us, C was sent to us with a temp of 100.3. He was difficult to assess (not physically, but we couldn’t completely depend on all of his answers) because he was psychotic and not in his right state of mind. As a matter of fact, he had been admitted into the hospital as a John Doe a week prior to coming to isolation. On two other occasions, he did have a temp and looked very lethargic and run down, but didn’t have a cough or any other respiratory signs or symptoms except for nasal congestion, which very well could have been a COVID symptom. Several days after he came to our unit, his true identity was discovered and established, and a social worker was able to get in touch with family, who said that C has had sinus problems for nearly half of his life. (He is only 19 years old). So other than the temp, lethargy and POSSIBLY the nasal congestion, you wouldn’t have known that C was ill.
Sometime this week I plan to get tested for antibodies. I had provided direct care for those patients who were confirmed with COVID, but I’ve been asymptomatic and without a temp. During my time on the isolation unit, while behind the desk I always wear a surgical mask, but anytime I go into the patient rooms I wore all of my protective gear: gloves, gown, N95 mask, bouffant cap and face shield. And as I exit the building, before getting into my vehicle, I wipe my shoes down with bleach wipes, containing the used wipe in the inside of my soiled gloves, disposing of it in the nearest trash can. So that’s the highlight of my work life for the past few weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful that I still have a job, and I can’t imagine the stress some people must be feeling who cannot pay their bills or those who have cabin fever. I have been working one extra day per week to make ends meet for quite a while now. It’s been so tiring and exhausting that I’ve spent most of my days off just recovering from working so hard. Then there’s my kids. I haven’t been seeing them since the lockdown began. I have put myself at risk by working the unit that I have (and really just by being out there, but I can truly, honestly say that I have complied with the rules; the only places I have been is to work, the grocery store, gas station, my pharmacy drive through and occasionally a restaurant drive through) but I won’t put my kids at risk. Just the other day, I was at the grocery store on my way INTO work wearing clean scrubs, and some woman came up to me, asking me if I worked in health care. I said I did, and she had the nerve to snidely tell me “Then YOU should be thinking of others’ safety besides your own.” Well that did it. I have been so very stressed and full of so many different emotions that I went off on her and said “You’re ten times more likely to catch it in a public place like this than in a facility where everyone who enters the building is screened and confined if necessary, so if you’re that concerned then maybe you should leave. And for your information, I’m on my way to work. Groceries don’t just magically appear in my home.” Maybe I came off as pretty abrasive but I can only take so much, and that was inappropriate of her to say that especially without knowing any facts. I have some older worn out scrubs that I wear when I clean house and do other work, and I know some people who just wear them cuz they’re comfortable.
I did see my daughter yesterday for a short while, outdoors, we kept our distance and we used masks. And that alone was a great Mother’s Day present. Happy Belated Mother’s Day to all of you moms (and Maltese mommies) out there! Sugarplum is doing very well too, you wouldn’t believe how white she is now! She is a couple weeks overdue to be groomed, and I’m going to do that today or tomorrow, and I promise I will post a pic. Sorry about my post being so long or to bore anyone. Or maybe some of this was interesting to read for some, if not, then maybe it gave you something to occupy some time!
 

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Welcome back. I can certainly understand why you've been so stressed. This is a stressful time for all of us so I can't even imagine what it must be like for you. I wish we could just have our world and our lives back to normal. 😢
 

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Thanks pippersmom, I appreciate your concern. But it could be a WHOLE LOT WORSE for me...I’m so glad I’m not working in the medical hospital right now. I would have reached my breaking point long ago.
 

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You have been on my mind, just today I said a prayer for you, now I know how to pray more specific for you.

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO. Its people like you who help our world to be a better place.
 
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