The COVID-19 Pandemic continues to test EMS professionals like never before. Paramedics and other frontline workers are rising to the challenge and each has a crucial role in responding to the public health emergency of our lifetime. Throughout the pandemic, paramedics have been on the frontlines, caring for the sickest COVID-19 patients, while also staffing COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinics.
Hi, my name is Amber Lockert. I am a Primary Care Paramedic in Indian Head and I have been a Primary Care Paramedic for nearly 11 years. I am an active Medical First Responder, and the group lead in my community since 2015. I am also a Medical First Responder Instructor, CPR Instructor and Fit Tester. I farm with my husband, three young daughters, and my parents in the Montmartre area.
As a health-care worker, I have seen the impact of COVID-19 first-hand. COVID-19 has changed my job significantly. We use to be able to just walk into people’s houses with a reassuring look on our face, be able to care for the patient and be able to provide treatment with great results. Today, with COVID-19, that has changed. We no longer are able to show our reassuring faces because we now have to cover our face with masks and face-shields which makes us unrecognizable. Assessment of a serious medical issue has changed. For example, COVID-19 positive patients have a wide range of symptoms, therefore we now must be much more diverse in our thinking. One second the patient can be coping and talking to you, and in the next breath, start to deteriorate.
What makes my job so hard is that those who live in the community and surrounding area I serve are not just patients; they have become family. I have worked in the area for almost 10 years, and I grew up here. I encounter friends and family and get to hear their stories about how this pandemic is impacting them: elderly people wishing they could see all their grandchildren, those vulnerable to the virus because of health issues, experiencing loneliness and fear. When your patients tell you these feelings, it makes your job even tougher because some days it feels like there is no light at the end the end of tunnel and all you can do is just listen and be there in the moment.
I wish I could tell them in the days to come that it will be normal and you will get to see your loved ones, but I do not have those answers.
The most frustrating part about our job is always the unknown. The unknown if someone is lying to you because they have COVID-19 and don’t want people to know because they are scared. The unknown of showing up every day and wondering what patients we could possibly lose today or have a tough time treating due to COVID complications. The unknown of seeing and caring for the people who have COVID-19 and then going back home to your family on your days off and hoping that you did not contract it, because nothing would ever be worse knowing you spread it to your loved ones in your family and they became ill.
The work that I have done to help do my part in stopping the spread of this virus is showing up to work and putting sick people before myself. I have also provided education virtually to Medical First Responders so they are able to respond to their surrounding communities and practice safely so they do not contract the virus or spread from trying to help a community member in need prior to EMS arriving. I have worn my mask and practiced hand hygiene and followed government orders.
If I could have one message for the non-believers of COVID-19 it would be: you can have your own beliefs but please have the respect for the health-care workers, who are tirelessly working and giving their all across the whole health care system to save the lives of the ones who have fallen ill with this virus. Please stop and think about the health-care system that is overwhelmed and if you become sick with this disease or an other major health problems such as a heart attack; are you going to want us to help you in your time of need or a loved one?
All I ask is for the respect and to follow guidelines to protect those who are scared, vulnerable and worried. Respect alone will help this great province fight COVID 19 and we will see numbers decrease so we can get back to the lives we long for. I show up to help those in need so please show up for me so I can safely go home to my family and community and be there for when it is there time of need.