A Love Letter to the Caregivers of COVID-19

Staying inside is the biggest thing people can do. Don’t have play dates with your neighbors, because right now we don’t really know if children could be asymptomatic carriers, or even adults. Just because you feel okay doesn’t mean you don’t have it. Stay as isolated as you can. But, we always like food. People are sending in pizzas, cookies, things like that to emergency rooms. I think that’s a great idea because it is a strange time. Whenever we can sit around a table and maybe have a slice of pizza, it’s a break from the reality. You feel like you’re back in your normal life.

I use this fitness app called Obe for self-care. I’m now four months postpartum, and it’s helped me trying to get back in shape after the baby. These days, I’m either locked in my house or at work, so it’s been nice because the workouts are just 30 minutes. I feel like a human again, and it’s a little escape. I even use it sometimes while I’m at work on a break. It’s really the one escape from reality I have right now.

I want everyone to just stay positive. This is going to be a long stretch, but we will get through it. We’ll see the other side and stay strong.

—Bridget, an ER pharmacist at a pediatric hospital in Colorado

“The most important thing is social distancing.” —Kathleen, ICU nurse

“COVID-19 is beginning to hit our area hard, and it’s already starting to overwhelm healthcare providers. A lot of infected patients are requiring ICU care, which requires ICU nurses and ICU doctors. There are only so many specifically trained. We have already started to ration masks in preparation for the inevitable. This past weekend I received one mask for my two weekend shifts and was given a brown paper bag to place it in. The number of masks and eye shields are already dwindling in our ER. We are anxiously waiting for supplies to completely run out, and then what happens? How do we protect ourselves and our families when that happens?

The most important thing is social distancing. It’s really upsetting to be driving to the hospital and see groups of people having picnics outside or getting their nails done at the local salon despite the closure of non-essential businesses. So please, please practice social distancing and stay home! As COVID-19 continues to spread, consider donating any unused, new, and sealed gloves, masks, and goggles to your local hospital.

For us on the front line, there aren’t many moments to take break but staying well hydrated, trying to get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep, lots of Vitamin C, and taking a moment to just turn off our brains for a second are key. This is an unprecedented time, and our priority is to the patients. Unfortunately, as a result our own health is on the back-burner.

As nurses, we signed up for being there for our patients, their families, and the general public no matter what. We having been training for moments like this our entire careers, but only with the proper safety equipment in place. I love my career, and I am thankful to be surrounded by an amazing group of healthcare professionals.”

—Kathleen, an ICU nurse in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“If we lose work, who will pay our bills?” Lee, careworker

“There’s a stigma that if you wear a mask it means you have the virus. It’s very dangerous for the elderly to be exposed. At the assisted living facility where I work, I had to have my temperature taken before entering the building. If your temp is over 100 degrees, you are sent home. When we are sent home, that means no work and no pay.

It’s really depressing for us as home care workers. Just like with nannies and house cleaners, if we lose work who will pay our bills? We have to be strong, take care of our own health, and figure out how we can make a living in other ways. We can also get referrals from other friends who might need our help.”

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