Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak, I've looked at things differently. Everyone has, sure, but while I may have the confidence that I'll be OK, I have an underlying fear that my confidence, dare I say, my cockiness, will negatively affect someone in my life. I not only have to consider my own health but the health of my family members and my friends. While I do have mixed beliefs as to how serious COVID-19 is, along with the accuracy of the data and news coverage we see every day, that doesn't change the fact that one slip-up in my day-to-day has the potential of harming someone that I care about — even the thought of that keeps me in check.
To gain a little more perspective, I spoke with a nurse's assistant at the Children's Rehabilitation Center in Bethany, OK, and Faith's input definitely shed some light on the subject.
How long have you been a nurse's assistant?
I initially started at St. Anthony's in February of 2019 but then realized that I was more interested in helping children, so I started at the Children's Rehabilitation Center in Bethany, OK later that year in December. I've been there ever since. Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak though, I started working at both places because I wanted to help out as much as I could.
What department do you work in?
I don't really work in a specific department. I just help when and where I can!
What is the Children's Rehabilitation Center's procedure in regards to COVID-19 patient care?
During this pandemic, we try our absolute best to keep the kids and staff as safe as possible. Some of the things we do when we come in is going through a check-in process. We take temperatures, answer certain questions that usually pertain to our health, and if we started noticing possible symptoms of COVID-19.
While we're working, we're constantly washing our hands, wearing our masks, and changing our gloves as much as possible to avoid cross-contamination. At one point, they even had us start wearing goggles to protect our eyes, just in case.
What is the protocol if you or your colleagues show signs of infection?
If this happens, we have to report it to the Employee Health Department and get tested. After that, they determine if we have to stay home to self-quarantine for two weeks, which is usually the case, while we wait for results.
Do you have enough PPE?
What is the biggest change your day-to-day has faced because of COVID-19?
The easiest way that I can express it is that it's significantly more stressful. It's hard not to be able to see family that you're used to seeing every day, and not being able to go to the store like we used to. And how COVID-19 has affected our economy? Don't get me started. It's difficult seeing how bad it's gotten to say the least.
Describe the atmosphere at the Children's Rehabilitation Center.
It's very warm and welcoming. It almost feels like home for most people, especially for the children because in regards to most of them, it is their home.
Since the outbreak, we've been significantly more careful and aware of what we're doing and how we do it because we don't want to put the kids in harm's way.
How do you feel about the national news coverage of COVID-19? Is it accurate or are they downplaying the situation?
I feel that some of it is accurate, but some definitely isn't. It just depends on if they deliver the facts correctly, whether that's the data that's shown or how something is phrased. I normally watch KOCO News 9 because I know that watching FOX News or CNN is a bad idea. As we've seen, both of them can be biased and make certain adjustments to fit the narrative. Both have been guilty of having fake news and I feel with COVID-19, neither of them is really reliable.
What is one thing you wish you could tell the country about COVID-19?
We need to maintain social distancing at the very least! COVID-19 has negatively affected so many lives and we just have to stay aware, be courteous, and take this seriously — regardless of what the Google-certified social media doctors say.
How is your personal life impacted by COVID-19?
The time I spend at work has increased, which isn't all bad because it pays the bills, but the part that I think bothers me the most is that I can't spend time with family as I could before. My family has always been super close and as we've experienced by now, FaceTime can only do so much. It'll take a while before we get back to some sense of normalcy, but I do wish that I could give my family a round of hugs without having to worry about possible COVID-19 infection.
Are there any stories of hope or success that you can share?
The people I work with are just so positive and strong and don't show signs of weakness, stress, or even wanting to give up. Plenty of my co-workers have taught me that if the going gets tough, we don't stop what we love to do. We love taking care of the children and seeing their faces every day! If anything, those kids inspire us to keep going even when we think we can't. It shows me that through all the craziness, we can still come to work and push through.
What advice can you give for staying as healthy as possible?
Keep washing your hands, don't touch your face, wipe down surfaces, and keep your homes and workspaces as clean as possible, and take social distancing seriously! Even if you think you've done enough, I promise you haven't.
What can citizens in your area do to help healthcare workers fight COVID-19?
Help one another! It may not seem like enough but I believe it does wonders. Be supportive and encouraging, stay home if you feel sick, wash your hands constantly, wear a mask, and change your gloves all the time. I can't stress that enough. We encounter and touch so many things during the day and you cross-contaminate more than you think, even with your personal belongings. You don't know what you may bring into your home, your place of work, or even your car, so just be cautious.
Even if you're not sick or claim you have an amazing immune system, your coworkers, friends, or family members may not be as lucky as you are. You could be endangering their health without knowing it.