It has been a crucifying year for healthcare workers. It has been one year since the very first Covid-19 case hit the United States.
A Houston nurse has been doing her part in saving lives on the front line, but it is an experience that make take her a lifetime to recuperate herself.
From even under her mask, you can tell Lindsey Johnson is smiling. Her eyes are bright, and she is joyfully resilient.
Johnson works in the Intensive Care Unit as a nurse, her experiences dealing with Covid-19 over the past year has hit her to the core. Working in Covid ICU’s has really tested her.
Last year, she boarded a plane just as New York was getting hit hard with Covid-19 patients. “I never saw myself coming back,” Johnsons aid. “I thought that I was going there, and it would kill me.”
For two long months, Johnson worked in Mt. Vernon’s Covid IU, witnessing life’s most gut-wrenching moments. Moments where most people wouldn’t ever think about was her job, day in and day out.
“The worst part of it is when you’re bout to be intubated,” Johnson said. “You have the intubation trays ready and we let them know, ‘Hey, when you can’t do it anymore … when you cannot breathe anymore, you need to give us a signal.”
Johnson would Facetime her patient’s families, if time allowed, so they could say goodbye. A lot of times her patients were too week to talk or be heard so they would ask her to tell their families they loved them.
“And you just want to look at them and say ‘No. You’re going to tell them. And you’re going to tell them when you wake up. You will tell them.’ And then the intubation happened. And for them, they didn’t know if that was it,” said Johnson.
“You have to be their cheerleader, you have to tell them, ‘you can do this.’ Like, ‘you’ve got this!’ But you know that not everyone’s coming out of that.”
Mostly none of her patients came out of it. Johnson stated that over her two-month time period working in NY, only three of her patients made it. Dozens died.
“My mental health is horrible. I have constant, constant, constant anxiety … and I definitely suffer from depression.” Said Johnson.
She also mentioned that she struggles with what she called “a blatant disrespect for human life; those who refuse to wear a mask.’”
In the state of New York, hospitals and healthcare workers were overwhelmed. Johnson mentioned at least one of her patients died because there was not a doctor available to intubate him. That is still happening, and healthcare workers are now overwhelmed in Houston.
Currently, upwards of 3,000 Americans die from Covid-19 every day. From the young, to old, to healthy, and infirmed. Frontline healthcare workers are very tired. Johnson said what she experienced over the past year could take her a lifetime to recover from.