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ICU nursing in Texas during COVID

As luck, fate, destiny, whatever you want to call it, would have it I am back at the bedside as an ICU nurse in the middle of a Pandemic.  I have been away from the bedside in various roles for the last 5 years, and now I am back.  I live in the Dallas area and right now we are exploding with cases.  As nurses, we saw this spike coming from a mile away.  As ICU nurses we often notice that our patient is deteriorating before there is any noticeable change in vital signs-we just have that "feeling" that this is not going to go well.  I feel that with our current situation here in Texas, however I feel that there is nothing I can do, no bolus to give, no oxygen to provide.  I feel like nurses, healthcare professionals and scientists are shouting from the rooftops that our house is on fire.  While some see the flames, others ask questions such as are you sure it's fire?  Is it just really hot in your house?  Did you leave the lights on?  Did you set it on fire yourself??  

As ICU nurses we are possibly the last stop between your journey on earth and the afterlife.  We do everything in our power to keep you here.  Why would some people think that people in our position would exaggerate such a dire situation?  This is what I cannot wrap my head around.  We see firsthand the devastation this is causing, yet all we can do is shout louder only for it to fall on deaf ears.  I drive by restaurants and parking lots that are full of cars on my way to care for patients in a full ICU as well as a full COVID unit.  Our COVID unit is full so now COVID positive patients are in the general ICU as well.  Do we have the staff for this?  The answer is no, most hospitals don't.  I still read comments on posts about the increased census in hospitals that have every "ya but" response you can think of.  Ya, but they are just full because elective surgeries started back again, ya, but the testing numbers are fake, ya, but I have a friend that says this isn't true, ya, but it's all a hoax.  Come to work with any nurse just for one day and call it a hoax to our faces.   

Now let's talk about PPE.  In my hospital, we much like our colleagues in NY, we must wear our N95 masks 5 days before we can get a new one.  We are how many months into this and we can't have new masks each day?  It is really hard to find germicidal wipes and we even ran out of hand sanitizer about a month and a half ago for a couple of weeks.  How is this still happening in our country?  Even as cases surge in Texas not every patient is being tested on admission.  This is not just in our hospital.  We find patients that are positive after they have been in the hospital and staff have been exposed for several days in some cases.  

All this to say:  after 4 months have we learned nothing??

ladycody specializes in CWON.

It makes me furious.  We had our small surge and it was bad enough.  I'm grateful that we werent overrun.  People who don't want to wear masks infuriate me...because I don't feel like they have the right to severly impact healthcare workers the way they do when the surge finally hits. ..not just physically endangering us but taxing our mental health as well.  It's not OK.... it's not just THEMSELVES that they put at risk.  If they could get sick in a bubble without impacting those around them I'd tell them to go for it.  Ugh.  

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Nurse SMS specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

I agree. Even on this board we are seeing the deniers and I get so upset I just stop coming here to read. I don't see how anyone can deny it at this point and I don't care to debate it. We are living it here in Texas and many other places. 

9 hours ago, ladycody said:

It makes me furious.  We had our small surge and it was bad enough.  I'm grateful that we werent overrun.  People who don't want to wear masks infuriate me...because I don't feel like they have the right to severly impact healthcare workers the way they do when the surge finally hits. ..not just physically endangering us but taxing our mental health as well.  It's not OK.... it's not just THEMSELVES that they put at risk.  If they could get sick in a bubble without impacting those around them I'd tell them to go for it.  Ugh.  

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I completely agree.  It's not necessarily the virus itself that gives me the most anxiety, although I worry every day about bringing it home, but the stress and all the issues that come with being severely understaffed for this. The people that won't wear masks and think this is fake are putting us in a lose/lose situation.  We go from taking care of 2 ICU patients to taking care of 3-4.  That is what I really have the most anxiety about-that I will be unable to provide the best care possible due to the situation I am put in.  

nursemols specializes in PCU Neuro/Cardiac.

It’s the same here in Arizona. We are double bunking covid positive patients in both the pcu covid floor and in our ICU. I haven’t gone a shift without at least two code blues and multiple rapid response calls in a couple weeks. We are understaffed and yet people won’t be bothered to wear a mask. They have activated crisis standards of care here in az. If things keep going like this soon we will be prioritizing care for theses patients meaning some will get ventilators and some will unfortunately be denied that. It’s tough

On 7/13/2020 at 8:34 AM, Nurse SMS said:

I agree. Even on this board we are seeing the deniers and I get so upset I just stop coming here to read. I don't see how anyone can deny it at this point and I don't care to debate it. We are living it here in Texas and many other places. 

I also didn’t believe it until I met someone who knew someone . . .  Then my family was slammed hard and then I was became personally affected.  I think people may not believe this disease is real because they feel manipulated by the media and have become quite skeptical.  Many don’t appreciate the seriousness of Covid-19 until they are personally affected.  

macawake has 12 years experience as a MSN.

54 minutes ago, Queen Tiye said:

I also didn’t believe it until I met someone who knew someone . . .  Then my family was slammed hard and then I was became personally affected.  I think people may not believe this disease is real because they feel manipulated by the media and have become quite skeptical.  Many don’t appreciate the seriousness of Covid-19 until they are personally affected.  

I’m sorry to hear that you and your family have been affected. I hope that you all recover fully. 
 

As a European it really blows my mind that a portion of Americans seem to think that this pandemic is a hoax, or at the very least, that its impact has been severely blown out of proportion. I could understand it if there were reports coming from other parts of the world or other states than your home state regarding something that strains credulity, like an invasion of green and purple striped aliens 👽 roaming the earth... But a pandemic.. ?! They have occurred throughout history and have wiped out parts of humanity more than once. Why is a virus spreading globally something one decides is a hoax? Contrary to all available evidence. 
 

What kind of psychological mechanism is it that makes it possible to ignore all the reports coming from the rest of the world? Today, it’s easier than ever to find information from all parts of the world. One can watch for example British news broadcasts wherever one happens to be. Or you could read the blogs of a number of for example Italian physcians or ICU nurses back in March or April, wading knee deep in human tragedy and suffering.  And above all, there is a plethora of scientific information and research available from credible sources for healthcare professionals on this novel virus and its impact.
 

I thank you for sharing your own experience. I’m glad that you’ve now gained insight.  I realize that might sound condescending but please know, that’s not my intention. I’m genuinely happy when people see the (real) reality (the only one there is), not the alternate one. 

Edited by macawake

1 minute ago, macawake said:

I’m sorry to hear that you and your family have been affected. I hope that you all recover fully. 
 

As a European it really blows my mind that a portion of Americans seem to think that this pandemic is a hoax, or at the very least, that its impact has been severely blown out of proportion. I could understand it if there were reports coming from other parts of the world or other states than your home state regarding something that strains credulity, like an invasion of green and purple striped aliens 👽 roaming the earth... But a pandemic.. ?! They have occurred throughout history and have wiped out parts of humanity more than once. Why is a virus spreading globally something one decides is a hoax? Contrary to all available evidence. 

Of course, everyone knows by now that the POTUS convinced his most ardent supporters and those who rely upon that office for leadership, that the reporting on the virus was overblown and that COVID was politicized out of proportion by his opposition. Trump is personally responsible for that mixed and dangerous messaging. It almost feels like we're watching our neighbors and family running to drink the kool-aid that gets them to the spaceship behind the comet...and they refuse to listen...as they start dumping the kool-aid into the water system. 

Is it as obvious to others, as it seems to some of us, that the USA is laboring with the side effects of both terrible leadership and a strong propaganda network?

macawake has 12 years experience as a MSN.

31 minutes ago, toomuchbaloney said:

Of course, everyone knows by now that the POTUS convinced his most ardent supporters and those who rely upon that office for leadership, that the reporting on the virus was overblown and that COVID was politicized out of proportion by his opposition. Trump is personally responsible for that mixed and dangerous messaging. It almost feels like we're watching our neighbors and family running to drink the kool-aid that gets them to the spaceship behind the comet...and they refuse to listen...as they start dumping the kool-aid into the water system. 

Is it as obvious to others, as it seems to some of us, that the USA is laboring with the side effects of both terrible leadership and a strong propaganda network?

Oh, I definitely agree that the US as a country are facing some serious challenges. I don’t want to make this too political, but the only other country that I’ve noticed having a response resembling your deeply politicized and partisan reponse to the pandemic, is Brazil. And it’s not that difficult to identify some commonality between the current leadership ”styles” of the two countries, so I’m not massively shocked.. 

And then of course there’s Russia with their surge of ”atypical pneumonias”. I don’t trust their official Covid-19 stats and as of Wednesday this week, I’m also wary regarding the accuracy of future US statistics.
 


 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-coronavirus-health-russia/sharp-increase-in-moscow-pneumonia-cases-fuels-fears-over-coronavirus-statistics-idUSKBN216305


https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2020/07/14/trump-administration-to-hospitals-don't-send-covid-19-coronavirus-data-to-CDC/

Edited by macawake

Nurse SMS specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

7 hours ago, Queen Tiye said:

I also didn’t believe it until I met someone who knew someone . . .  Then my family was slammed hard and then I was became personally affected.  I think people may not believe this disease is real because they feel manipulated by the media and have become quite skeptical.  Many don’t appreciate the seriousness of Covid-19 until they are personally affected.  

How awful for all of you. I hope your family is recovering and that you yourself remain well. I do not wish this on anyone. I think you are so very right, that nothing is real anymore until its right in front of us.

simba and mufasa has 16 years experience.

Apparently the other states never learned from us in NY and NJ. I strongly believe that the public think its a hoax, unfortunately, many will perish. As for PPE, same story different state, so sad. Hang in there, double mask, N95 and surgical on top, goggles, hair cover and gown. What else can we do, it never ends. Soooooooooo sad!

simba and mufasa

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