By Jennifer Lowe, RN, MICU Regina, COVIDLine811 (HealthLine 811), System Flow Coordination Centre
When COVID-19 hit in March, I thought for sure my role in supporting the COVID-19 response would be back in Medical ICU (MICU) at the Regina General Hospital, a position I’d been in in for more than 12 years. I imagined my role to be providing advanced life support to those who may not make Christmas.
However, Christmas is almost here and this has not been the case. My role in the COVID-19 fight has been in another trench - the phone trench. As part of work on the COVIDLine 811 team (HealthLine 811), I have spent thousands of hours counselling the sick and the scared, helping them navigate testing, isolation and mental health. I’ve worked more 16-hour shifts than I can count.
Now, as the fight against COVID-19 grows, my role has grown as well. When I’m not working COVIDLine811 and picking up shifts in MICU to support the sickest of the sick, I’m helping physicians and nurses across the province navigate their patients through the system in the System Flow Coordination Centre (SFCC). Some are COVID-19 patients needing care in one of the two major centres, others are heart attack patients needing urgent surgery, and some physicians just need advice from a specialist. We balance the flow the best we can to care for both COVID and non-COVID patients alike.
But I’m tired. And today, my 40th birthday, I am sad that all of my work, and the work of my colleagues seems to be for not. The numbers have risen drastically and instead of celebrating a milestone in my life with my closest family and friends, I am painfully navigating online learning for my two kids because Regina schools are out until January 11.
I’m not alone in this fight. We are all in this together. This Christmas will be unlike any we have ever experienced.
Please, be smart this holiday season.
Please obey the Public Health Orders. Please stop the spread.
Please think about all of us working over Christmas to keep you safe. Please help keep us safe, too.