The Full Story: When you get vaccinated. A warning from an Immunisation Nurse.
Read the short version here.
Hello my darlings. Just checking in from this beautiful view today from my ward literally right next to the mountains. This is the musings of an immunisation nurse. Take or leave this as you wish.
I am a Division 1 Registered Nurse and have specialised as an #Immunisation #Nurse. For the past 10 years, I have safely delivered #vaccinations to all who are treated by me, from 2 month olds to 102 year olds. I also work in the hospital system and I am a proud member of what I fondly refer to as the Swab Squad. Having worked through this pandemic and seeing the confusion, frustration and anger that the community (and quite a few of us working in the medical industry) are feeling, I use this space to write what I am seeing.
Welcome to my thread Nurse POV (Point of View).
A place where I write about the things that I see while dealing with the community on masse. In my experience I can see very clearly how this pandemic and how our world leaders are affecting us as humans and our mental health, which in turn reflects in my patients. So, I want to share, drawing from not just my patients feedback but how I have been feeling myself.
This is my warning. If you are booked for your #COVID vaccination, I am giving you a gentle, yet firm warning. In a way that only a nurse can.
This is a little heads up that when (or if) you get your vax, you will be incredibly emotional. Because this is the crux of our situation.
What has happened from January 2020 has been horrendous.
For me, I saw my #Nursing family experience trauma at the highest level. Watching their patients die in the most undignified way possible. We have Science degrees in how to help our patient's die with empathy, dignity and care. However, here we see our patients, friends, family and colleagues in pain, terrified and unable to hold their nurse's hands as they say goodbye - alone and with no family around them. Seeing our patients go like this kills us inside also.
Entire families wiped out. My mate told me she was in a savage cycle at work:
Admission, code, death, move on.
Admission, code, death, move on.
She was calling the time of death.
She was deciding who got ventilated.
SHE decided who got pulled off the ventilators.
This is normally a doctor's job. But there is no doctor. Everyone is either sick or dead.
The healthy (or asymptomatic) are left on the ward with skeleton staff. If by skeleton, you mean an osteoporotic skeleton with so many holes in their bones it may as well be called honeycomb staff, ready to shatter at any moment.
Can you imagine being the nurse looking after a 23 year old pregnant woman struggling to breath and then a blue faced 6 year old boy comes in with 2 anxious patients who is also struggling to breathe?
Who gets the ventilator? The human with 2 lives, or the small boy who has only just begun his? She told me the little boy recovered but neither of his parents survived.
Can you imagine being the person who finally got the relief of being ventilated. Getting that first breath after struggling for weeks, hypoxic hallucinations, feeling like you've run a marathon when you just walked to the toilet. Battling with your foggy, oxygen deprived brain. Then you get ventilated. Your cells perfused with life sustaining, clarity giving Oxygen. Then my nurse mate comes up to you covered in a scary looking space suit PPE and says "I'm sorry, someone younger than you came in. We need to take you off the ventilator......good luck."
Trucks filled with bodies because the morgues were full. Old construction sites in the middle of New York turned into mass burial grounds so no-one would touch those bodies. Bodies. Piled on top of each other like a meat factory.
Could you imagine?
I shudder at the mere thought from the comfort of my "0 infected" state of mine - Melbourne Victoria, Australia. I am 100% dealing with survivors guilt over here and feeling so ashamed, guilty and utterly privileged for even thinking about that.
The pure trauma my darling international nursing family is going through... The pure, uncut, debilitating PTSD developing in real time each and every day for them.
Now, back in Australia here we are. The media screams from it's gaping orifice, swallowing anyone who looks in it's direction. We in Australia watch in horror at the world from our boxed up Noah's Ark as it were. Waiting for that white dove to appear with that olive branch (wow, where did i pull that religious reference from? )
The uncertainty. The media lies. The medical truth - which is death.
Take it easy, my beautiful one. Take a deep breath, because you can.
Uggh look at my dried up nail cuticles. That's hospital grade hand sanitiser for you.
If you do get #vaxed, be prepared that you MAY be scared more than any other #injection you will have received. It may shock you, how you respond internally. It's only natural, believe me, I was a bit of a mess with mine and I have been holding my patient's hands, crying along with them after I give them theirs.
The joy. The fear, but we got it anyway.
"I made it. I made it to getting the vaccine. I survived." is what I'm hearing from the older community, and certainly #Healthcare workers.
Afterwards...and it may be a week later, a day later, a month later. There may be such a #relief that washes over you. That's how I felt anyway.
I'm not here to argue with anti-medicine opinions. You do what is right for you, hopefully as per advice from your own medically trained physician.
I have personally looked into over 800 nostrils in the past 3 days, I'm certain at least one was positive. I know we are all doing our best. It's all so emotional, so let yourself feel it, let the grief flow out and leave you, don't be afraid of that.
If I have learned anything, it would be that life continues to be so fragile and yet so resilient. We have a vaccine now, even if the #rollout has been an utter #shitshow. Hug your loved ones if you can, settle petty disputes...or not. Cry together over zoom, hell, scream into your pillow if need be. You do you and don't put any pressure on what others think you should be doing.
We are touch and go right now and tomorrow may turn ugly in the blink of an eye. So don't waste another second. If you get COVID and end up hospitalised, you likely will never see your family again. Let that one sink in. #Horrific. #Truth.
However, we have a vaccine now. Which means I can be sure of at least one thing.
This time next year will be so different x
Please be sure to reach out and get help from Beyond Blue, Lifeline, Headspace or your workplace EAP if you are struggling. You can also get incentives and free / subsidised psychology sessions in Victoria with a Dr's referral to your choice of psychologist. Getting mental help before you need physical help is the best form of preventative medicine I know.
Take care of yourself. Take care of each other. And please, you must always #LoveYourNurses