“A love letter to my nurses while I had COVID-19:
Tonight I was having trouble sleeping. My anxiety was rising as I had a flashback to my time in the ICU with COVID-19 (only 2 weeks ago). All the blinking lights, the monitor’s shrill beeping, the pull of the PICC line, the ache in my arm from IVs, the scratchy sheets, the chest pain, the shortness of breath, the smell of Johnson’s baby soap, the medications dripping their way into my body. I was scared to even move, for fear it would cause my oxygen to drop. I do not know how many hours I spent staring at my oxygen saturation on the monitor, willing it to rise, willing my anxiety to fall. All I wanted was one breath, unmarred by discomfort.
Then I remembered my nurses. The nurses who rubbed my back as I vomited for what felt like the 100th time. The nursing assistant who brought me cup after cup of ice water when my fevers would not abate. The nurses who fluffed my pillows and told me I would make it. The nurses who took care of my basic bodily functions when I was too weak to even raise my head. The nurses who fought for me when my symptoms felt unbearable. The assistants who answered my innumerable presses of the call button. I even had one nurse who would just come stand and watch at the window to my room because she said she was worried about me.
For several nights in the ICU, I had a nurse named Kelleigh. She asked me about my life and made me laugh with her unforgettable laugh. She was a godsend. She did everything to ensure a good night of sleep for me, which was essential to maintaining my sanity. I requested her specifically. Looking back, I was so desperate I did not realize my request was putting her in harm’s way. She was the ICU nurse who got stuck with the COVID-19 patient, and she showed up anyway, with grace and humor. I will never forget that sacrifice.
When I was alone and terrified, these nurses became my family, seemingly taking care of me as they would their own children. From every ‘sweetheart, what can I do for you?,’ to every ‘you’re gonna get through this,’ I felt their commitment and caring spirits. I could not have my family with me in the hospital, but knowing these capable and brave women were taking care of me left me feeling safe. I’m sure my parents appreciated all the phone calls the nurses made to let them know how their daughter was doing.
I will be working as a brand-new physician in just a few months. I know the nurses in my new institution will be almost as vital to me in my role as intern as they were to me as a patient in the ICU. I now have a deeper understanding of the role of a nurse, an unwavering respect for their call to help, and profound gratitude for the immensely hard work they do. I cannot offer enough thanks to those women who stood strong with me through one of the most grueling experiences of my life. So here is my love, my gratitude, and an infinite number of air hugs. The smiling eyes behind your goggles and N-95 masks will stay with me forever.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Anna Grace Downs. You can follow her journey on Facebook. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more stories like this:
‘Mommy?’ she whispered. ‘Why wasn’t Daddy wearing his superhero mask?’ My heart fell into my stomach. I knew where this was leading.’: Mom says ‘our babies never had to question our superpowers until now’
Do you know someone who could benefit from reading this? SHARE this story on Facebook with family and friends.