I am taking a day off today after another run of busy days. Our two COVID ICUs were almost full by the time I left on Friday, so plans are to move patients out of other areas starting today and have another three COVID ICUs opened by mid-next week, with more to come in the next couple of weeks. This is in addition to the hundreds of general medicine beds they are putting together for those who do not require ICU care.
The army corps of engineers has arrived in town and are working to convert one of the convention centers downtown into a 3,000 bed unit as well.
As the charge nurse I am responsible for assigning beds and nurses to staff the beds. Near the end of the shift I put together the nursing assignment for the next shift. For my previous 32 bed unit this took about 20 minutes. Yesterday I spent over an hour trying to figure out how to staff the regular Medical ICU with the two COVID units. It was complicated by the fact that not all nurses can work COVID-some are high risk, and we are trying to keep them safe, too.
Though anxiety is generally running high, I have been overwhelmed by the solidarity of the staff. Most of the men showed up one day clean shaven so they could wear the respirator masks without a beard. (It was weird to see the faces of doctors who have had beards as long as I have known them!) Retired nurses are coming back and local restaurants have been sending in food everyday, which has been really nice. I stopped taking the train to work to avoid exposing myself or exposing others, given the nature of this COVID work. So, for the first time in the 9 years I have worked at this hospital I am navigating the parking garages. I'm carpooling with a couple other nurses who live nearby who don't have cars, which is super helpful and also nice to have some company on the ride in, even though it's only about 5 miles.
Today Miguel and I relaxed at home and ordered in, which we never do, but I figured we should support the local businesses, since the restaurants are closed to diners. I'm back to work on Monday.
Prayers are appreciated.