‘I just spent 30 minutes under the hotest water, crying in the shower out of fear so I don’t scare my family.’: Nurse urges ‘our lives are just as important as the ones lying on the stretchers’

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“Is this how I do it social media influencers? Is this how I get your attention and likes? Post a selfie in front of a mirror? Do I tell you that I just spent 30 minutes under the hotest water I could stand while crying out of anger and fear for what is going on in healthcare right now? That I only cry in the shower so I don’t scare my family?

Yesterday I shared a meme joking about having to wear a face mask 900 times. I cope by making jokes and cursing, it’s what I’ve always done to protect my heart and this situation is no different. Here I am today though, shaken and crying. That meme has truth to it.

For the 10 years that I’ve been in healthcare, I’ve been trained and vetted to properly don and doff my PPE (personal protective equiptment like masks and gloves)…the process has never wavered. One patient, one time use. Suddenly there’s a pandemic and the rules of the game are changing. Between the CDC and the WHO, proper PPE is constantly changing and coincidently being downgraded the closer we get to having a PPE shortage. It’s just unacceptable. I’m being asked to don my PPE multiple times, to save my N95 in a paper bag, to wear it multiple shifts. Nurses are being recommended by the CDC on how to fashion their own masks, to use bandannas if necessary.

I’m not scared of this virus. Every single day before this day that I have set foot in the ER, I have known there is a high risk for contamination, injury, and possibly death to me. It’s not corona specifically, it’s the lack of PPE that scares me. It makes me angry. I’m angry at our healthcare administration and I’m angry at the government. I’m angry at the public. Where are our gofundmes, where are the calls to action to our congressmen to protect those of us on the front lines?

I’m angry with myself because I know who I am in my heart. That means, put in the situation of someone’s family member (mother, spouse, child) dying on a stretcher and in need of lifesaving intervention, and I have no PPE, I will without a second thought risk my life to save someone else’s family member. And I know many of my colleagues would do the same. That’s why we’re in this fight, that’s why we are healthcare providers. That makes me extremely sad for my family, for my children especially. I hate that I’ve put them in this situation.

We live in one of the richest, most intelligent, and prosperous countries in the entire world. Have you seen the PPE that China and Italy are wearing to fight this battle? Ours is nothing compared to that. There is no excuse to not have the proper PPE that we need to fight this war. We wouldn’t send our soldiers or police officers out into the world with toy guns. Please don’t send me to fight my war without the proper supplies either.

I beg you to reach out to your congressmen, healthcare administrators, the news, whoever you feel that can get the job done. Please help protect us so that we can continue to protect you and your loved ones. Please help those that have the power to fix this understand that my life and every other healthcare workers lives are as important as the ones laying in the stretchers.”

Courtesy of April Raimo

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Susann Rice. You can follow her journey on InstagramSubmit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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