This is Dawn. She is a respiratory therapist.
“I’ve been working for over 20 years and most people don’t know what I do. A lot of people are unaware that we exist.
We are the ones that are running the ventilators.
We have input from the doctors, but a lot of the job falls to us. We are putting in the breathing tubes, we’re on the airway teams, we’re at every resuscitation.
It’s very sad that people are facing this virus are alone.There’s nobody to visit them, they’re scared, and most of these patients seem to be wide awake and alert when we go in to put them on life support.
Normally, there are people there to hold their hand, but without that it can be really challenging. We’re all doing our best to be with them as much as possible, but it’s become so difficult to find the time.
You don’t sleep well at night. I’ve found this to be a lot more emotionally draining than normal.
The anticipation of not knowing what’s coming and worrying about PPE shortages is often worse than actually being at work. This is a different kind of exhaustion and mental stress than what I’ve seen before.
That said, this is a familiar story to anyone on the front lines. At the end of the day it’s a team environment. There’s not one part of the hospital system that could run without the others. We just have to rely on each other as we move forward, and do our best to keep our chins up to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”