I Had The Corona Virus (Covid-19) And It Changed My Life:
Updated: Jun 13, 2020
Over 298,000 people have died from COVID-19 (The Corona Virus) worldwide. I want to acknowledge all those who have lost someone to this virus. I hope that you find solace within this post, knowing that you are not alone. Although COVID-19 is an unsettling subject, I want to share my experience in hopes that it will shed some light on the virus, the effects it’s had on me and my family, and hopefully help lessen the panic and fear surrounding the mere mention of being unlucky enough to catch it.
TRIGGER WARNING: This post discusses people who have passed away from the Corona Virus and my own experience living with it. If this is going to be an emotional trigger for you this is your opportune exit. (I completely understand because this is triggering for me as well! But I must share for my own sanity!) Here we go...
I Had COVID-19 In March 2020 I had COVID-19. Wow even now I feel insane admitting that. You’d think I’d just be happy to be here alive and well. But, I’m plagued with negative thoughts. Fearing now, that others will be afraid to be around me because… they fear that I must still be contagious and/or sick.
As of March 2020, I have been a Certified Nurses Assistant (CNA) for eight years. My journey as a healer began my senior year of high school. I was enrolled as a dual student being educated both by my high school and local community college. When I started my career I was caring for my Grandmother. She inspired me to continue working with the elderly for years to come. The work of a CNA can be very challenging, and it’s no secret that quality staff and resources are sometimes scarce. It’s also no secret that Long Term Care Facilities account for one-third of Georgias COVID related deaths.
If you have worked in a nursing home, independent living, or assisted, you are aware of how quickly sickness spreads. Also, why getting ahead of it is important.
Increased COVID-19 Awareness Decreased Care
As the death toll climbed awareness surrounding The Corona Virus or COVID-19 began to increase. With such awareness came warnings from news stations of the proper precautions to take in general but also in large facilities like nursing homes. Unfortunately, the urgency to leap into action at the assisted living facility I worked for was nowhere to be found.
We Were Told to Treat COVID-19 Like The Flu As residents I’d known for years slowly began to develop flu-like symptoms there was no major concern. We were told to treat each resident as if it was merely the flu. The protocol when assisting a resident is to always wear gloves, but when the request to add masks to our protective gear was made, we were denied that protection. In fact, this could quite literally have been the worst decision they could’ve made. Not only for me and my co-workers, but for the helpless residents unable to advocate for themselves. We were assured by management that they were doing everything they could to keep our building safe.
COVID-19 and The Company’s Lack of Concern
For weeks the company's concern was at an all-time low. As more residents began to fall ill the staff began to worry. We questioned whether we would receive the promised proper protective equipment (PPE). Management continued to remind us to use gloves and proper hand-washing techniques at all times. After a while management instructed us to wear masks but only in the residents’ rooms that had already been declared sick. The sick residents were now being completely quarantined to their rooms. We were not permitted to wear our masks in the hallways or common areas.
As time went on and the COVID threat became worse, our questions and concerns were redirected. Management continued to reassure us that the sick residents had nothing more than the seasonal flu and we should not be concerned about COVID-19. We were confused and worried about our safety and the safety of our beloved residents. As I mentioned earlier, any long term care facility is a “sicknesses paradise”, the spread is very quick. The late measures taken to secure the facility had very little to no effect on securing our safety. Soon the staff began to fall ill and the difference this time around was that people were still sick and staying that way.
New COVID-19 Guidelines Were Enforced Too Late
Eventually, so many people became infected with The Corona Virus that the facility was forced to no longer allow through traffic throughout the facility… as it had been doing. Now, the only exception was the staff. Even with the new precautions that were being taken the virus was already in full-blown effect and running rampant within the facility. By this point more residents had become infected or were exposed and were quarantined to their rooms. As they became progressively more ill they were sent to the hospital. Where a large number of them died.
What Happened Next? A COVID-19 Nightmare Over
The staff slowly dissipated. As we were finally able to wear face masks and a limited amount of disposable gowns were distributed. As the joke of the Corona virus entering our facility quickly rose to frantic panic as we strived to keep each other grounded. I was worried for my residents, most of them full of questions and worry from watching the news, fear rising from not being able to see their loved ones, and watching as their peers began to fall sick for long periods of time. I was worried for my own health and all of my loved ones I come in contact with. When I began to feel exhausted that following week, my fear became reality.
Stay tuned for Part 2.