One of the most challenging things that any of these everyday heroes who care about a patient’s well-being is not being there for a dying patient as the demand of an understaffed COVID. I couldn’t help fight back the tears on one of the most disturbing accounts in the interview. Which was what these staff members would selflessly do in those last moments that these patients had on their final hours of this ever-mutating disease. Many of these staff members would risk feelings of pride; in some cases, their jobs show these patients that they are not alone. Which if in the scenario, you were to contract the disease in the present that no one cared. You would spend the last days with no comfort, dying alone in a quarantined room, where the most disturbing account was when a nurse and a tech was instructed not to listen to the painful cries of a patient who needed help, which is one report. The patient died in a matter of minutes when they were assigned to the COVID unit and the other four hours into the shift as the patient was needy and dramatic. Those staff members who have no empathy for their patients, coughing in pain, say they need to get over it.
Being a psychology major, I can see where this resentment develops from. As work-life is COVID driven. Many of these staff members can careless and selfish acts of the general population showing no respect in their selfish actions of not taking these precautions. Of not wearing masks. It ends up getting additional demise from the selfish acts of social norms. In one account, the comment that was made, which was “Let Darwin Theory take of the lives of these entitled, selfish assholes. They are the reason why this pandemic doesn’t decease” comes from the theories that I have regarding the “Bandwagoning Effect” that many people think. Which commonly come from the “Trump” supporters who still believe that this will go away. Considering everything the President says. I am not going to blame the President for these “acts of carelessness.” Because not all Trump supporters feel that way as many of them take precautions to safeguard them from the unknown of what is true and what is not. Which those gullible to believe something that is said by someone with no credentialing in the field. Many of them will say, “Who are you to advise psychology” are the same one listening to someone who is just going by hearsay, which breaks my heart.
As in one situation, a person I know who contracted COVID. Who lives with a family member who is a die-hard “Trump” supporter. Still refuses to wear a mask because it’s not proven that a cover will protect them from it. Which seeing feeds before “Trump” is in office. Showed a behavioral pattern of living a life in denial, which makes me wonder. How the person surviving COVID feels. And they are already being put in a situation where it’s easy for them to be kicked out. Suffers in silence, living in fear. Wondering. Will I survive this next infection if I get COVID again?
Many of these nurses talk about one thing that bothered me in this scenario. The tight inventory they ran with the PPE’s or what is referenced as Personal Protection Equipment, was seeing a logical reason for it makes sense. The extreme request on only switching out this equipment when it’s soiled. It makes me concerned about the other diseases that a patient may also contract in a situation where gowns are used repeatedly until it becomes soiled as MRSA or the Super Bug can too be caught in these scenarios along with pneumonia and the flu. With a patient already haven’t a lower than average immune system while infected with COVID. If you visited a relative with open wounds, are told to change gowns every time to avoid any additional infections the patient can contract. Two and two together show that the patient’s best interest is not kept in the best part. Which, to me, seems premeditated as the patient automatically deemed as not surviving.
Another thing that I found extremely concerning was the consideration for these workers that were given. As to not be so negative, as Wuhan announced the COVID virus, most of these facilities were quick to take precautions and preparations in a worst-case scenario even if many of the staff didn’t agree that it was going to turn into a pandemic. I have to commend them for taking a proactive approach as the world wasn’t entirely prepared for what was about to happen. However, depending on the leadership during the pandemic showed a lack of empathy for many of these patients. As many with pre-existing high-risk conditions were given a hard time wearing a mask as the protocol for making masks mandatory didn’t go into effect about the third week of March. Many of these workers were in fear of their lives while working these units, wondering if they would be part of the statistics that were beginning to rise in the US. Many of them are required to bring a doctor’s note. Not giving them any time to see the doctor immediately to provide them a note stating that it was mandatory to wear a mask as they were high risk. And some retaliated against. Giving them more hours and requiring them to work compulsory overtime, having no consideration for their well being.
In the end, no one seems to win in this pandemic. Where burn out is one of the common feelings that these frontline workers consistently feel. With work life and personal life bleeding into one another. It’s only a matter of time the will of these heroes will wither out. Which many of these staff members including traveling nurses left the COVID unit. As only someone can only bare so much, which I totally understand. Being undermined, under appreciated, belittled, and ridaculed for caring for people is a hard thing to keep consistent in. Especially in this social norm that we live in. As this is the behavior that we are conditioned to do all for the sake of self preservation is a bitch to deal with. Especially when you deal with this in your work life and your everyday life. Where leaving work to escape from the traumas and the problems that you face at the job, now become something that you deal with in your everyday life. Which now facing the idiots and the skeptism in everyday life. To those ignorant and clueless about what really is going on. As they never have to roam the halls in a COVID unit. Will never truly see how real it is.
One of the lingering questions I had in this account is the question “Would you ever go back?” Which many say “absolutely.” With the motive “Who else is going to care for these patients like we did.” As one of the consistent thing as many of these workers are now approaching is the “burn out” that is setting as we enter the second wave of COVID. Repeating the same thing that we first began with as this pandemic reared it’s ugly head. Many of them talk about the great moments that they shared. Which was working side to side with those staff members, especially above and beyond that would fight the “Systematics” that the health industry faces. Where through the sadness and the grief of working in the COVID unit. Shared videos of the doctors who would go above and beyond to not only care for the patients. But made the effort to put a smile on those patients who almost lost hope. Where in one account, the will the doctor gave to the patient the will to fight throw the disease. Where in the best case scenario, when COVID struck their personal lives. Had their family members recover due to the fighting will they possessed. As in one best case scenario, was already planning a funeral based on the inability of being able to be their for their family members, communicating through the facility tablet. Where in the worst case scenario, had those saying goodbye to their loved ones through the tablet. As before some of the facilities stopped paying hotel accommodations to assure the staff kept their family members save, by keeping these workers quarantined. Removed the funding and with some facilites, made it much more difficult to get compensation to keep them quarantined.
Tomorrow is never promised, which this pandemic has made that reality stare us in the face. But that tomorrow can be prevented by taking precautions. Which only one third of the population does consistently. Skeptism is what keeps us from believing this is truth as it becomes a defense mechanism to avoid facing the truth in this dark time. Which is why many of these frontline heroes begin to gain burn out. Which now in the second wave hopefully makes you think twice about it. As it has a bigger cataclysmic affect on those now being infected. Which today I found out that a Facebook friend ended up dying from COVID today while a couple more contracted the virus. Which breaks my heart even more as I feel like I wrote this too late. But the truth of the matter is that no one listens anyway. As the denial of something serious happening in the world is denied for the sake of comfort and safety. Which is why I say “do you.” As there comes a point where those who have the best intentions of others begins to think that “why am I wasting my breath.” Because sometimes it’s not even worth wasting your time to warn the public. As you can’t convince someone who has made their mind up. Sometimes you have to let “Darwin Theory” take it’s course. But in retrospective, it becomes unfair who are on the fence. That in the fall for the manipulation based on false facts and speculation. Truth is, we never got an insight look of what really happens in the unite. Which is why, although I may not work these units. I felt it was my due diligence to share these stories these frontline workers are burdened with. More for their sake as they have lived this reality for the past year. With hopes with their stories, may also help save a life. That also is unsure of who or what to believe. And the stories that come from the horses life, may not save every life. But may help them be aware. God forbid, face to face with these individuals that really don’t give a fuck if you live or die. All because of systematics.
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