Dear World,

I wrote back, “I'm never gonna unfriend you.”


Welcome to COVIDLAND.  To enter? You first have to pass the gatekeepers. Who are the gatekeepers, you ask? They’re the people who make sure all the gear you put on to keep you safe is on correctly. Only then, can you get in. This is the passport to a place none of y’all want to see.

In COVIDLAND, we all wear bunny suits so our uniforms are completely covered. We wear gloves at all times--gloves become your new skin. We wear bouffant caps over our hair. We wear N95 masks. We wear surgical masks over our N95 masks, and face shields over that.

In COVIDLAND, the patients are the sickest people I have ever seen.

Hands down.

Re-read that: the sickest people I have ever seen.

Our COVIDLAND gets the sickest of the sick. Patients are coming from all over Louisiana and the south.

I’m used to death. But not like this.


But I’ve got one COVIDLAND success story to tell you.

She came to us in the middle of night--2 a.m. By 8 a.m., I’m on the phone with her family. Her family called every two hours. It made for a busy day, but in COVIDLAND it’s a thing we nurses gotta do. Not because we have to but because we’re people. And COVIDLAND is scary for those on the outside, because they rarely get to come in.

No passports will get you in here.

So if I can take a few more calls to help them?  Sign me up.

They loved this lady. Wow, I could hear that love in their voices. And I could hear their fear.

This lady got out.  She's one of my only patients who made it out.  So when she left?

This patient and her family are so incredibly kind. I will ALWAYS remember them! One of her friends sent us handmade masks and embroidered our names. Her daughter probably Facebook messages me every couple days just to check on me.

At the beginning, I had to friend her daughter so we could do video chats. We tried to FaceTime, but we all had different brands of phones, making that impossible. It seemed like nothing was working, until we finally linked up on Facebook. Long story, but I’m a technological neanderthal. My friends joke with me all the time. I had a flip phone until I was 29.

One day after her mom left COVIDLAND, she wrote to me, “Please don't unfriend me yet. My mom had her best friend make you guys some gifts. I just want an address of where I can send it to.”

I wrote back, “I'm never gonna unfriend you.”


You Don’t Want to See COVIDLAND

Katie O’Neill



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