This is a day I will never forget. And it’s taken me a few days to put into words why. I cried at work this day. I cried a lot. I cried more than the time I handed a 5-month old deceased baby to her parents so they could hold her one last time.
I walked in to the department and could not see a single one of my coworkers’ faces. Every face was now covered by a mask and face shield. In the ER, we cope through the hard times with laughter, inappropriate jokes and smiles that say ‘I’m here for you’ or smirks that say ‘I didn’t see a thing.’ This is the day I realized I would not see a smile at work for a very long time.
The locker room, usually a place of laughter and decompression and relived light-hearted moments of the shift was silent this day. The floor was lined with contaminated scrubs and the air with fear and sadness. This is the day I realized that COVID-19 was right here, in a place I call home. It’s the day I realized it was just the beginning.
I changed my clothes and washed my hands for the millionth time. I cried the whole way home. I walked in to the house, washed my hands one more time, and then I hugged my babies. I held them tight and I cried. March 22, 2020, COVID-19 broke me down.
As a nurse, I signed up for this and I love what I do. My job is to care for the sick and the scared, and I will do so, every day, with brave eyes and a masked smile.
I do not ask for sympathy. I just ask for understanding.
*Reposted from instagram with permission