‘I was sitting on a dirty mattress on the floor of our break room weeping, covered in 3 layers of PPE.’: Nurse says ‘thank you all so much for loving me during this time’

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“I worked my last shift in NYC today. Tomorrow, I will pack my things and get my room cleaned and fly out Monday morning. The devastation I’ve witnessed here is not something I can adequately put into words.

I’ve FaceTimed a patient’s family so they could say goodbye. In 20 days, I’ve put over 40 people in body bags to be put into a refrigerated truck because the morgue does not have enough space. I’ve seen one patient fully recover.

Sure, I am in a ‘hotspot’ and was working in an ICU, so the patients there are sicker, but it didn’t change the fact that this virus did not discriminate. I saw healthy, young people die just as often as I saw elderly, sick people die.

I wasn’t going to share this picture with the world. It was sent from a coworker who took it after I’d lost 3 patients in one shift a little over a week ago. I was sitting on a dirty mattress on the floor of our break room weeping, covered in 3 layers of PPE.

These people died alone. Their families were given a FaceTime goodbye, which to me, felt cheap. I didn’t know how to apologize for not being enough. For our medicine not being enough. For everything we’ve done is not enough.

How do you apologize for this? I know it’s not my fault. I know I could not prevent this. But it is nonetheless devastating, and you leave feeling so inadequate.

The numbers are getting better. There is healing happening, but I won’t be here to see it.

I leave you with this: I understand economic devastation. I understand the fear of not being able to provide for your family. But I also have had to allow FaceTime goodbyes and held the hands of people who just couldn’t fight this off. I would rather beg for food every day than ever have to be on the other end of that FaceTime call. So please be safe and cautious.

I am not a hero. I am a nurse. This is what we’re made to do. I fully believe that God places us on this earth to love and serve others, and I am so grateful I was able to serve in this capacity.

Thank you all so much for loving me and praying for me through this assignment. I look forward to my quarantine days and I am thankful I get to have them! Sweet home Alabama, I am coming for you!”

Courtesy of Rachel Elizabeth Pochop

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Rachel Elizabeth Pochop. You can follow her journey on Facebook. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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