It is fascinating to me how much happens behind closed doors. It could be anything. You’re not allowed in the hospital. How are you to know what is happening and what it all means? Even as a healthcare provider Corona is new to everyone.
As a family member of a sick one, here is a list of things you need to fulfill:
- Call every shift (after 7 day and night)
- Ask questions f.e., what medications are they taking? Why are they taking that? What is the prognosis? What should I expect? What is the plan for today? How critical are they? (Your nurse should be able to answer all these questions. If he/she cannot then have them call back when they know.)
- Can we talk with the patient?
- Stay as involved as you can without being pushy. Let them do their job and catch up with you as they can. It’s important not to take the attention away from the patient
- FaceTime your loved one if possible.
- Send a “thank you” to the ones caring for your loved one. Thank you goes a long way.
- Befriend a nurse on the unit! Smart idea. We all watch out for each other and if you make friends probability is high she’ll treat your loved one like they are her own (although instinctively most nurses treat every patient like their family).
Regardless of how “empty” the hospitals have been, the nurses, doctors, lab techs, respiratory therapy, etc have been as busy or busier than usual. Dynamics are at an unprecedented level. Nothing elective is happening, anywhere. People are sick, very sick. Not all are just COVID-19.
Some people worry that it’s all corruption and conspiracy. Some say the hospitals get paid by how many die from COVID. The darn truth is, who really knows? But I can guarantee that the doctors and the nurses keep doing their job no matter what politics are going on. We have a job that requires a license. That license is only active when you are a safe practicing person. If you are afraid your loved one isn’t being taken care of correctly then go back up to the questions above as a reference to how to understand what’s going on. This holds everyone accountable. The majority of healthcare workers truly care and want your loved one to get better. That’s why they are there. That’s why God gave them the knowledge they need to help others. We find reward in being the reason that that person can walk/talk/function again. It’s why we are who we are.
When I have people ask me questions like, “ I hear the hospitals are overrun but if you walk in it’s a ghost town. What’s going on?” The answer is surprisingly simple. No family, no electives, no check ups, no extra labs, no cafeteria, no lingering. That’s the answer. The only places you’ll see action is behind closed doors to the ER, ICUs, and step-down units. Some floors may even be shut down. Nurses may be cancelled. That’s because it’s not a full running hospital. A group of covid people (of any number) does not cause the chaos of the hospitals. It’s all the other things going on. You won’t see a patient short of breath taking a walk down stairs or smoking a cigarette. Those days are done. They are quarantined for the safety of others and themselves.
I’ve also heard rumors of, “is this real? Or is this some kind of economic ploy?” I have no idea how this happened. Let me assure you. Covid-19 is everything real. These patients are almost identical in presentation, symptoms, and progression. You hope for age and previous health to be on your side. This virus can cause you to medically spiral out of control, you HAVE to have intervention early or yes, you could die. I can’t explain enough how real the virus is. The whole world didn’t shut down cause it’s a hoax. It had to happen. If it didn’t all shut down, we would have been looking at more mass deaths. The world may never be the same.
Just as troubled,