By Andrea Kosloski, BSN RN, CCCN
My name is Andrea.
I am a mother, wife, daughter, granddaughter, aunt, niece, friend and an intensive care registered nurse in a tertiary center in our province. While I have spent many years as a registered nurse, my time in the ICU has been fairly short, but the message is still the same.
We are tired. We are terrified. We need your help.
As a province, at the beginning of the pandemic, we were lucky that our case load was low—we were able to drastically flatten the curve of cases of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a community, we rallied like no one had ever seen before. Then summer hit, we started reopening and started to enjoy life and get a taste of normalcy past.
Our cases increased. And increased. And increased.
Our top leaders are asking the public to once again rally: keep your bubbles small, limit activities, wear masks, physically distance, wash your hands, etc. Where we once so diligently worked to overcome, we are now digging in our heels, not wanting to feel the isolation again and the looming threat of taking away our “somewhat normal.”
We have had the privilege to be hit slow and late in the game. We have been able to watch the world and hopefully look at what works and what does not throughout the world to apply to our own population. Here is the thing: public health orders do not work unless the people do. Everything our government officials and our Chief Medical Officers are asking us to do is not outlandish. They are not taking away our rights as humans. Wearing a mask is not a political statement. This is to protect our community.
This virus is spreading like wildfire. As healthcare workers, we are watching and we are scared. The case load is doubling quickly, the death toll is rising, and hospital admissions are rising.
In Saskatchewan, it may seem that we have plenty of room for even the most serious of COVID patients in our critical and intensive care units, but life outside of COVID-19 does not stop. Accidents happen, people have strokes, aneurysm ruptures, myocardial infarctions, major surgeries, pneumonias, etc. COVID patients aren’t the only ones who need those critical, intensive care beds.
We can try to make more beds, bring in more ventilators, IV pumps etc., but the staff that have a solid education on how to save your life, such as the doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, physiotherapists, care aides, housekeepers and other support staff are a finite resource.
What happens when the staff that cares for you falls ill? What happens when we have to choose who receives the last critical care bed? What makes one life more valuable than the next? This could be someone’s aunt, uncle, mother, father, son, daughter… that person is someone’s loved one. The thought of having to make that choice is terrifying. I can guarantee that no one signed up to be in any field of health care to have to make that decision or follow the protocol of that decision.
We are watching, and we are terrified of the storm that is coming. We are people, just like you. We are tired. We are exhausted. We miss our families and desperately want normalcy back, but we need your help. This isn’t a government conspiracy. This isn’t a hoax. This is more than influenza.
This is our plea. Help us. Keep your bubbles small. Wear a mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Above all, be kind.