Dear World,

I had decided that I was going to take care of everybody and God was going to take care of me.


We had two patients that were a mom and a daughter. The mom died on Mother's Day. And the daughter died today at 5 a.m. It’s really rough from that perspective.

Folks can get clots very abruptly. We don't know if she grew a clot, or really what happened. With this, it goes from zero to 90 literally in seconds.

It’s difficult for us. We see the worst of the worst cases in the Intensive Care Unit. The low was this feeling of once we put them on a ventilator they don’t come off. We’re trying everything we can and we’re not used to something we’re trying not working at all.

I’m a Director and several young nurses said, “I don’t think I can handle this amount of death.”

Truth, is I’ve been a nurse for a long time. And I’ve been through Hurricane Katrina. And I’d take a Cat 5 roaring in the Gulf over COVID any day.

Everybody kind of has different symptoms, but I started with body aches.  Then it felt like I got hit by an 18-wheeler. That Friday, I had aches all over my whole body and then I started with diarrhea. I didn't lose my sense of smell or taste.

I called the hospital and said, “I need to be tested.” Sure enough, I had it.

I didn't start having a fever until 72 hours into my physical symptoms. Then, I couldn't get out of bed. I started getting the shortness of breath, towards the end of my experience. That was very scary. I took a shower because I thought “this will make me feel better.” Everybody was talking about how the steam from a hot shower was supposed to be good.

I had a slight cough if I moved, and when I got in the shower, it literally took my breath away.

I tried to calm myself down. I was thinking that I might not be able to get out of the shower. Once I got to my bed, I laid there and tried so hard to stay calm. I didn’t want to die and I knew that this felt different.

I don’t scare easily. I’m a nurse, you know.

But in the back of my mind, I had decided that I was going to take care of everybody and God was going to take care of me. But, I am very intuitive. I have my nursing gut instinct. And I kept telling myself, “It's gonna be fine.”

I’m healthy and back at work now. I look at my nurses. The ones who on day one said, “I don’t think I can handle this” look like battlefield veterans now. I’ve seen displays of love, care and compassion. The most important thing that you won't read on a nurse job description is being compassionate, not just to our patients, but also to each other and our teams.

That compassion? It takes my breath away.


COVID Took My Breath Away

Tina Gipson




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