Night Shift Brain Dump

Didn’t realize it’s been about 3 months since my last post. I guess you could say “no news is good news” right? Figured I would give a bit of an update, as I am currently working a night shift (floated off my unit, nonetheless) for the first time in about 6 months.

In December I got my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. It was a very cool experience, lots of emotions. I witnessed clapping, cheering, and crying along with photos and videos to share with friends and family. It felt big, ya know? Like my friends remind me all the time that I’m part of history and I fall into the same category as war time/plague nurses. Meanwhile I’ve always felt like I was just doing my job. But not that day. Being part of phase one dose distribution at my hospital finally felt like a step in the right direction and a faint light finally visible at the end of the tunnel. Christmas came and went as many other pandemics did. Small gatherings of inner circles, altered traditions. Made do with what we could.

Then came January with a promise of the ~new year~. Even though temperatures were low, spirits were high as we saw our Covid unit needs decreased from 7 units to 2 and a half. At peak we had over 95 positives in house, and lately *knock on wood* we’ve been around 11. As more employees were getting vaccinated, so were our 65+ patients. Our floor seemed to fit the statistical 50/50 in terms of symptoms following the second dose of the vaccine. Some experienced nausea, fevers, body aches, etc. And others, like myself, maybe had a sore arm about 12 hours after injection. However, heading towards the year mark of when Covid hit Wisconsin, we were taking it in stride.
Speaking with a friend who works in a Covid vaccine clinic, he shared that the post-vaccine 15 minute mandatory observation time quickly turned into a post-vaccine mini therapy session. Individuals sharing stories of loved ones they had lost to Covid and this being their active step to protect others or young adults getting vaccinated to finally see their grandparents after a year of virtual visits. While this isn’t our free pass back to “normal”, it certainly is a boost of hope that’s well overdue.

February was filled with more non-Covid shifts than I had had in the past year. After our nurses had been split between 3 units to cover Covid IMC patients, it has been comforting to work with core staff again on my home unit. I’ve also had to break out my own scrubs, as hospital provided scrubs are for Covid units only. Goodbye chafing! haha. It definitely took me a shift or two to get back into the non-Covid swing of things like taking more than 2 patients at a time, not wearing a PAPR when going into rooms, and being able to go in and out of rooms without hesitation. But, like jumping back in after a stretch of off days, it’s just like riding a bike.

And that brings us to March! Our hospital is no longer running in crisis mode (I know there’s a more technical term for this, but it’s escaping me at the moment) and we’ve starting letting visitors back — one visitor per patient per day. While it’s a good step for patients and their loved ones, it’s taking some getting used to.

If you’ve gotten to this point, gold star for you! Thanks for reading my night shift brain dump. Here’s to more frequent posts and sunnier, maskless (okay maybe not) days ahead!

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