Emergency Care Nurse

Emergency Care Nurse

from The Frontline

Flint, MI, US

As the world screeched to a halt and daily life slowed down…my mind raced on.

Am I strong enough to face this? When I get sick, (because I convinced myself that it is inevitable) will I be like many of the “young and healthy” ones who don’t survive? How can we safely fight this invisible monster? All I want to do is hug my mom & dad…but I would never forgive myself if I unknowingly infected them.

My sister, mom, and best friends work on the frontlines…they’ll be okay, right? They have to be…I need them to be. Should I feel guilty to fall into the arms of my fiancé after a defeating shift? I need a warm hug to feel restored, but I need to keep him healthy too. Am I making the right choice to quarantine away from my children? Being apart from them crushes my heart and spirit, but keeping them safe is my number one job. Their smiling, innocent faces on FaceTime saying, “I love you the most! Be safe at work, Mom….” is the reason I push forward.

I refuse to be led by fear. I scoured the internet and managed to get PPE for myself, friends and family. Masks, glasses, and scrub caps. Protecting myself means I can protect my loved ones too. I am acutely aware of how I strap on my PPE and precise when taking it off. Meticulous cleaning and undressing in the garage became part of my daily routine. But it’s hardly just the respirator and bleach wipes that make me feel safe and bring me comfort, because I wonder if it’s even enough. It’s the other masked faces who punch the same time clock that get me through. The ER crew I’m blessed to call family is quite frankly the smartest, toughest, hardworking, self-sacrificing, badass group of humans I have ever known. These nurses stare into the eyes of danger, heartache and despair on the daily. They do it with grace, compassion, a shit eating grin…and don’t bat an eyelash. It is a privilege to work next to humans of this caliber. This nursing family never ceases to build each other up and persevere. To see this kind of bravery and selflessness while battling in the trenches, is truly profound. We fall together when things fall apart. I think it’s who we are…it’s in our blood as nurses.

So to answer my own question…Yes. Hell yes, I am strong enough to face this…we are strong enough to face this. Together we are unstoppable. I choose not to fall into the fear. I choose to be hopeful despite the darkness. I will show my children humility and courage…and strive to focus on the beauty and light…even when fear is breathing down our necks.

The cool thing is, we all get to choose how we respond to terrible, ugly things…

I choose hope and I won’t back down.

Photo credit – Instagram: @jenzafrenza

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