“It is extremely difficult, yet 100% rewarding,” says Stephanie Lindquist, a registered nurse in the intensive care unit at Aurora Medical Center – Bay Area in Marinette, Wis., referring to the care she provides to patients battling COVID-19 day after day.
And as the mother of two young boys, the fight against COVID-19 doesn’t end when she leaves work.
“They often tell me that they ‘wish Mom didn’t work so much,’ but they do have a good understanding that I am helping people that are very sick right now and they need my help,” Lindquist says.
Some of them are so sick that Lindquist is finding herself celebrating the highs and letting herself feel the lows to remind herself what she’s doing all of this for.
“We love the day that comes when we can move them out of the ICU to the regular medical floor as we know they are getting better and finally over that hump,” she says. “These are our happy days. Unfortunately, that day doesn’t come for everybody. Watching someone die is never easy, but watching someone die ‘alone’ is completely gut-wrenching.”
Through it all – juggling her family’s, patients’ and her own needs – Lindquist is grateful.
“My coworkers keep me going,” she says. “We have a fantastic team and I am so lucky to have the co-workers I have. The thought of them working short makes the extra hours and shifts worth it. Thankfully, I have a great support system and family at home… Although emotionally and physically taxing, it is a complete honor to care for these patients and be there for them through this tough time.”
Lindquist would like to remind people that we can get through this together, if we continue to take this seriously.
“We can promise to our community that we won’t give up, that we will show up every single day to care for our patients regardless of the circumstances,” she says. “What we are asking for in return is to please stay safe, please follow CDC recommendations regarding COVID-19, in general, just please make safe choices.”
While she empathizes with the community in being tired, she recognizes we cannot do this if we’re not all in it together.
“We are pleading to our community to help us through this hard time,” she says. “It takes a village. It will take all of us. We promise to be here for you. Please promise to show up for us.”