March 21, 2020: I posted the following on the COVID Prep thread on My Fitness Pal:
So it’s been a few days since I’ve been able to post here. Second line healthcare worker dealing with staffing.
In N.C., I’ve been keeping track for a series of personal blog posts.
This morning @ 1100, reported cases statewide were 196.
This morning @1135, reported cases statewide were 231.
At 14:30 they were 241.
At 19:12 there were 262.
Today, my hospital had a patient census of 88, down 20 from 108 yesterday, when I sent all my first shift workers home by 1330. Our normal census this time of year averages 150. I called my team (I’m off most weekends) to tell our dispatcher to send all of first shift home when the two from second shift came in. I didn’t go in, as I’d planned, as I had a sore throat and a temp of 99.
We are all getting temp scanned upon arrival and have been asked to self monitor. I’m happy to report that my temp tonight was 97.7, which is my normal. I also suffer from seasonal allergies and chronic sinus infections.
Our facility has severely limited visitors. On Monday? I see me stopping by non-precaution patients’ rooms to visit patients that can no longer have visitors. Especially oncology patients that are already scared and feeling even more isolated than before; you can make a difference from a doorway. ❤️❤️❤️
Our local grocery stores are out of many of the essentials; milk, eggs, lunch meat, meat, canned goods and bread. 🤦🏼♀️
I’m hoping and praying that y’all are safe and healthy, and for those of you experiencing self-quarantine because of positive family members (or being positive, yourself), hang in there and fight the good fight. My prayers are with every single one of you❣️
Also posted that same day on my My Fitness Pal (MFP from here on out) March Accountability Challenge:
What’s on my mind today? A whole lot, actually.
Yesterday I had to tell my entire first shift to go home. Our patient census was 108, which is very low (today it is 88). I told one of my 3 second shift team to stay home, and one of the two remaining was instructed to leave when transport requests stopped, leaving one on shift to cover any remaining requests.
I am self monitoring temp and symptoms twice daily, per work instructions. They scan our temps at the door when we come in, and I’d been running anywhere from 97 to 97.7, which is the norm for me. Took it last night and it was 98.6, with no symptoms, beyond my annual seasonal allergies. Woke up with almost a headache this morning, and a sore-ish throat. Called work and instructed our dispatcher to send all of first shift home when second shift arrived. Started coffee and took my temp. 99!
I am tired. My energy level is zip, and for the first time in over two years I feel like I may not be able to close all the rings on my watch. I’ve usually closed the Move and Exercise rings by this time on any other Saturday. My appetite is non-existent, but I am going to go fix something in hopes that it will give me the zing I need to get those rings closed, even if it is VR exercise on an easy level.
I’m worried about things I have no control of, which is a big no-no, but one of those worries is for my team, who got hit hard with the flu this season, in spite of mandatory flu shots, and burned a lot of their PTO time, and when I am sending them home more days than not, they are burning through what they have left, and I fear that if they have to isolate for two weeks that this is going to cause them financial issues. They are like family to me, and it’s hard NOT to worry about family.
The one silver lining in this is that if they test positive due to patient contact, it should fall under workman’s comp. If they haven’t had contact with a positive patient, though, I don’t think it will, which makes no sense. The only places many of us go are work and home, so where else would we be exposed?
Sorry for the novel.
I hope all of you are well and taking the appropriate precautions. ❤️
Last night, again, my temp popped high at 99 and I internally started making plans; what would this mean to my husband/best friend who is getting over the flu, who would be my mini-me in my absence work? Who would be willing to send the list of names to the Labor Pool so that those who needed to work would have a chance to do just that?
God bless him, while all of this was going on internally, my husband was telling me to CALM DOWN. He told me this so much that I finally retorted that if he he told me to calm down one more time? He’d be pulling. pair of scissors out of his head. I know that isn’t funny, but I’m a hair warped and it just came out. (Not that I could EVER, because the sight of blood and tissue injury has me running to the commode – and not the one still on my front porch!) But he kind of got my point.
I took my temp again, and it was a manageable 98-something (on the low end), so I wasn’t too concerned about that.
I went in at 6:30 this morning, 90 minutes earlier than I’m usually scheduled. Got temp scanned at the door at 97.4. (Silent YASSSS!)
Got the paperwork to the Clinical Administrators (CA’s) as promised for my team’s availability, got the oxygen inventory done, then huddle by phone at 8:30. *whew*.
Contacted two second shift staff and gave them the day off, much to their delight and crunched some numbers. It isn’t looking great for the home team, so I got them in small groups and took an informal poll. Days off at a time or a few hours a day off per week? And what do y’all think is a fair way to go about it. My awesome team nailed that!
Posted this on my MFP forum:
I’m starting to see a trend. When I am stuck at home on the weekends, I find that I’m at the mercy of whatever the news wants to share, but when I am at work, I feel much more plugged in, even if our safety huddles are via conference call.
There is also the commonality of our “shared predicament,” if you will. Our hospital used to be kind of clique-y, in that there used to be a perceived hierarchy of importance by most of us. Those barriers are gone, almost overnight! ❤️ It’s as if we all woke up one morning and realized, “We are healthcare! All of us, from Environmental Services to Support Services, to Transport, Imaging, NA’s, RN’s, Admin and doctors! We are in it for the long haul and we are in it TOGETHER!”
There is much more co-mingling within all the ranks, albeit at a safe distance. Scrubs of all different colors are now seen together, and it is wonderful! We come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, different religions, cultures and political affiliations, but this virus has brought us all together with common fears and most importantly a common goal. I don’t ever think I’ve been as honored and proud to work in healthcare as I am at this moment!
At the time of this blog? North Carolina”s total positive cases are posting at 386 (+/-).
Stay calm, People, and be one!
Until next time, yo!
Hugs, Julie – and hugs to everyone who works in health care. You’re on the front lines, and I salute you.
Crazy times! I have to work through this, so it’s hand sanitizers up the ying yang. Let’s hope this passes quickly.