On Saturday, March 7, 2020, Donn Adams arrived at the Norton Brownsboro Hospital emergency division, dropping consciousness and unable to stroll. A day later, he grew to become the first COVID-19 case recognized in Jefferson County.
“I’d by no means been that sick in my life, and I used to be completely scared to dying,” Donn stated.
Donn had the assist of his spouse by his aspect in isolation, as she already had been uncovered to the virus. Staff handled Donn whereas outfitted with many various mixtures of private protecting gear (PPE), as procedures advanced to replicate an ever-changing understanding of the novel coronavirus.
Morgan Jernigan, R.N., and Tiffany Hardesty, R.N., assistant nurse supervisor, have been a part of the care workforce that supported Donn and different COVID-19 sufferers by Louisville’s first days of the pandemic.
“In the starting, we might solely actually deal with the signs,” Morgan stated. “It was a brand-new virus, so naturally it was a studying course of to determine the finest methods to reply.”
In addition to the problem of processing info altering by the hour, isolation protocols required workers caring for COVID-19 sufferers to put on many hats.
To restrict publicity, one caregiver was designated for every patient.
“That worker would function the patient care affiliate and the nurse; they took meals to the patient, they cleaned the room, it was whole care,” Tiffany stated. “That wouldn’t have been potential with out a tremendous workforce rallying behind the designated worker to verify all wants have been met.”
After six days in the hospital, Donn and his spouse returned residence to quarantine. A protracted restoration would nonetheless lie forward, however as soon as Donn was residence, he was tremendously grateful for the care they’d obtained.
“We don’t have anything however excessive reward for Norton Brownsboro Hospital. The workers was unimaginable. There was by no means a time the place we didn’t have consideration,” Donn stated.
Motivation to persevere
Victories like sending Donn residence have been enormous, however many considerations nonetheless weighed closely on the hospital workers in the early days of COVID-19. PPE shortages, an issue shared all through the nation, led to a lot nervousness amid the unknown.
“I even have two youngsters at residence and passing it alongside to them, my husband or my mother and father was at all times in the again of my thoughts as effectively,” Tiffany stated.
Morgan and Tiffany credit score an outpouring of neighborhood assist for serving to them, and different well being care heroes alike, to deal with all the stress and nervousness. This heat backing from the public helped every of those nurses discover motivation to persevere.
“Just realizing that I had a job to do for the sufferers and households that rely on us every single day actually helped to maintain me going,” Morgan stated.
“When sufferers didn’t have their households right here to verify every thing was going proper, we have been the solely folks they’d. We knew we needed to step up and handle them the approach we’d need our members of the family to be taken care of,” Tiffany stated.
From mysterious sickness to vaccine in a yr
Over the course of the final yr, medication has quickly superior. Testing might be accomplished in minutes, the place it used to take days and even weeks to get a end result. Treating signs has advanced from tending to signs to combating off the virus with a range of treatments. PPE provide has vastly improved, and Norton Healthcare maintains a minimum of six months’ provide. Finally, vaccine distribution has offered much more cause for optimism.
Donn and his spouse just lately had the alternative to return to the Norton Brownsboro Hospital campus to obtain their COVID-19 vaccine doses.
“I really feel relieved,” Donn stated. “We nonetheless should be vigilant, however we are able to begin to see the place maybe a kind of regular is coming.”
Morgan and Tiffany share Donn’s sense of optimism, but additionally encourage fellow well being care staff to remain robust as the combat continues.
“We’re on this collectively, and we’re proud of each other. It’s an honor to serve and to be in the hospital setting,” Tiffany stated. “We’re making historical past and that is one thing that I’m going to inform my grandchildren about sometime.”