Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Written by Tanya Terry
“Susan” Wilson, 23, has been a nurse for 10 months in Oakland County. Before the pandemic, Wilson was seeing 30-90 people a day. Now, she is running two buildings by herself sometimes and can see 90-200 people daily.
“We’ve had 30-40 (positive COVID-19) cases come in and go,” Wilson said “We keep shutting down and opening back up once we clean the place up. So, it’s been crazy lately.”
At work, Wilson has access to gloves and masks, but said they are still waiting on face shields and gowns.
“We do have the N95 masks now,” Wilson said. “It took about a month to get the N95s.”
When she came into contact with patients who had tested positive for COVID-19, Wilson said she was still fearful for her own safety. She started having symptoms as well.
“I had a headache that just wouldn’t leave, fatigue, a cough that wouldn’t go away and fever. That made me decide to go get tested for COVID-19.”
Wilson was tested on March 24. She did the nasal swab test with rapid results in Oakland County.
“They use a swab and then they go through your nasal clearing. They hold it in there for about 15 seconds. Then, they rotate it 90 degrees and pull it out. It takes about 20-30 seconds total. You get your results anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours later.”
While being tested, Wilson was worried about whether her husband and kids would also get COVID-19, if they did not already have it. She said she had a lot of anxiety and was nervous, but was not worried about herself.
“I have two asthmatic children ages 7 and 14 months.”
Wilson waited for her results for about an hour. Although she does not have any underlying conditions, she wondered if she was going to die.
The nurse came in with the physician and gave her the news she was positive. They gave her a list of do’s and don’ts. They told her to quarantine and to notify her employer, who they said they could fax the results to.
“I followed their rules. I went home, and I just shut myself in my room. I’ve been taking extra precautions at work. I’m being more cautious; really doing the social distancing. When people are coughing, I educate them on coughing in their arm.”
The staff at Wilson’s job have hourly sanitation checks. Regardless of the staff member’s position, all employees are required to sanitize every hour.
“It’s all a team effort.”
Wilson said she believes working as a nurse during the pandemic has been a positive experience, and she will be more prepared if there is a second wave.
“When I took the oath to be a nurse I knew there was potential to be exposed to infectious diseases. It kind of came with the territory. I’m just fortunate not to have lost my life or lost any loved ones.”
Wilson said all the patients who came to her workplace and tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered. Workers were hospitalized with secondary pneumonia and came back to the facility a week later before being released to go home.
“We did not have any fatalities.”
Wilson tested negative for COVID-19 two times two weeks ago before returning to work.
“I could have got it from the grocery store or from work. I don’t know.”