As we drag into the second month of stay-at-home orders and school closures across the country, many of us have begun to feel the stress and worry over the nonstop scary news cycles covering Covid-19.
The churn of daily death counts and spikes in positive cases is making this crisis feel more like a distorted story of numbers.
But that changed when Taylor Campbell, an ER nurse in Rhode Island posted a bittersweet story about treating one of her Covid-19 patients.
This patient survived. Suddenly, this terrifying story has a human face and you’ve got to read it to truly understand.
“Today was a beautiful day. My intubated patient who has been squeezing my hand for the last several days finally was strong enough to get extubated,”
Campbell’s post starts out. Although Campbell’s patient couldn’t speak and was gravely ill, they were still able to form a strong bond of compassion and love. He post continues,
“This morning I gave her her morning medications and when I told her I was leaving the room she shook her head no. I asked if she wanted me to stay longer and she shook her head yes. I stayed in the room for 15 minutes just holding her hand.”
Campbell explains in her post that been shared more than 117K times that later that afternoon, she and her team successfully extubated her patient and placed her on a BIPAP.
Not understanding how these things go, I had thought that when someone comes off of a respirator they could talk and eat and were probably strong enough to get up and leave.
Boy, do I know jack about what these amazing health care workers really do for us.
“A few short minutes later she mouthed her first words to me – I love you. My heart exploded. I started to sob in the room. Tears were running into my N95 mask as I stood there and held her hand.
It was a beautiful moment. She repeated the words again this time stronger.”
This patient had been with Campbell since the special unit had been opened 15 days earlier. Her patient had been vented for the entire 15 days they were together and during that time, Campbell talked to her patient out of compassion and love even though the woman could not respond.
“I asked her if she heard me talking to her for the last 15 days and she said yes. She is very fatigued but manages to give me a thumbs up and continues to try and mouth words.
She wants me in the room constantly to hold her hand and I have been spending a lot of time in there with her today.”
On day 21 of the unit’s operation treating Covid patients, Campbell’s contract with the hospital ended. She wrote about her last day with her patients and what it meant to her:
“I have said I will stay but today at 3 pm I found out the hospital does not need us back tomorrow as they have brought in other nurses who are starting a fresh contract.
My time here at Metropolitan Hospital is complete. I am just thankful that on day 21 I had this experience with my patient.
I feel my purpose of coming here was to save her life.”
And just like that, this miracle worker who not only helped to save a woman’s life but who also gave her a sense of connection and showed her true humanity is gone – off to another assignment to help even more people.
I don’t know about you but I really hope there’s an update and this nurse and patient can one day hug and talk and cry together soon.