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Compassionate caregiving

  • Location: Medford,
I have been a medical assistant for 23 years. The past 3 years have been a challenging time for all due to the Covid pandemic. We have all had to adjust to taking care of patients in different ways ,via telemedicine visits, in person wearing PPE from head to toe etc. We have all felt the weight of this pandemic in our own ways. For me, it has changed my life and my family's life completely. In July of 2021 the Delta variant of the Covid virus was running rampant everywhere and our hospitals were trying to keep up with the influx of patients while also trying to manage staffing as staff were out ill themselves. My husband and I actually tested positive on July 18th,2020. While I only had mild symptoms, (I believe in part to getting my first covid vaccine a couple weeks prior) , my husband Paul was not so lucky. He was having a lot of difficulty with trying to take in a deep breath and did not look good at all to me. I called 911 and he was transported to the hospital. It was a very scary time for us and we watched his need for oxygen increase from 2 liters, all the way up to needing bipap and the doctors doing all they knew how to at that time. After 5 days of him being admitted to ICU, the doctor said it was time to make a decision to put him on life support and see if we could help his lungs and give him a fighting chance. My husband was a CT tech and had been for over 20 years, so we knew what this could mean. We agreed with the doctor and felt this was the best option. For the next 9 days, my husband was on a vent. I would sit by him( in full PPE) all day long. I cannot even put into words how scared I was. The nurses in the ICU were amazing and gave me such comfort. I could see how tired they were but they treated my husband, and me with such compassion. Slowly over the course of the next 9 days my husband's oxygen levels started to improve and the doctor felt we could try and see how he would do off the vent. He explained that we may need to put him back on life support if things changed. Thankfully and by the grace of God, he came off life support and stayed off. He spent the next 6 weeks in the hospital participating in therapy to improve his lung function, he also had PT and OT to re-learn how to stand and walk again as he had lost muscle tone and mass. Every caregiver that interacted with him,helped him on his way to getting better. For me it has helped me be a better caregiver because I want others to feel the compassion and caring that those caregivers gave to me. While our life has been changed forever , we are learning how to live in our new state of "normal".