World news – “Dad, Are You Going To Die?”: Bay Area COVID workers are scared at home


In the crowded intensive care unit at Valley Medical Center, Dr. Amit Gohil got the corona virus every day. He calls it the monster.

When he goes home every evening, his wife and three small children wait with their own monster fears.

For medical professionals, from nursing assistants in old people’s homes to pulmonologists like Gohil in district hospitals, that is Home isn’t always a safe haven during the pandemic.

These overworked and often overwhelmed healthcare workers have become superheroes fighting the nasty virus for the benefit of humanity. Their strength lies in their specialist knowledge, their empathy and their perseverance. But COVID warriors like Dr. Gohil have families who need them too.

At the height of the eleventh month of the global pandemic, many intensive care units in the Bay Area are reaching their rupture points and critical COVID patients are being sent to makeshift units. In the past two weeks, the average daily death toll in the Bay Area has more than doubled to 54. This week, Santa Clara County again reached a desolate milestone – to date, more than 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths have been recorded.

Behind every victim is someone desperately trying to save them – and too often lately Fight loses. It’s a burden that many nurses take home, adding to the challenges they find there.

A kidney specialist at the Regional Medical Center in East San Jose, whose longtime dialysis patients die in tremendous numbers, feels guilty to fight that she wasn’t home enough for her sons. A certified nursing assistant who is haunted by cries for help, which she cannot always answer in an overstretched care facility, comes to her grandchildren’s home every evening, who run into their bedrooms: “Grandma is here! Hide! Hide! Virus! Virus! « And a respiratory therapist at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, who holds her patients’ hands on their last breath, assures her 8-year-old daughter that » Mom helps them breathe so they can go home. « 

Health care workers seek solace in the fact that they are part of history and that trying to save people from this global pandemic is in some ways the honor of their lives.

But Dr. Padma Yarlagadda, The nephrologist, who is often the last hope for COVID patients with kidney failure, feels little glorious in battle. She knows her patients well – many were regulars on dialysis, which she saw in the clinic four times a month until she settled with the Virus infected and ended up in intensive care.

« You are dying. I’ve never seen so many deaths, « she said on Thursday. « It’s like one or two a day. We just had a lot of deaths this week. »

The heartbreak was relentless at work, but it was brutal at home too. She and her husband, cardiologist Surendra Gudapati from El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, did their best to minimize the chances of their two sons being exposed to the virus, the family had not dined together at the dinner table in months, not even during the holidays when their parents were on call Her youngest 18-year-old Surya, who attended his college classes from home, announced that he will be returning to Washington University in St. Louis.

« Even when I’m home, you spend never much time with me. That’s why I want to go, ”he said to his parents this week, said Yarlagadda. “I’m not complaining, but I’m just telling you.”

Marissa Barnum’s greatest fear has always been that she would bring the coronavirus home. « I don’t want to be the one killing my family, » she said.

She was a nurse at Burlingame Skilled Nursing in the middle of an outbreak that killed more than a dozen residents and heard the screams of the sick.

At home with her two grown daughters and three grandchildren, she made it clear that « the virus is really scary ». That’s why the boys at the age of 6, 7 and 8 know how to constantly wash their hands – she can hear them counting to 20 at the sink – and don’t open the door to strangers.

« You ask me: » Why do you go to work when there is a lot of virus outside? « She said. » I told them if I don’t go back to work we have no food, we cannot eat. We can’t pay the rent. I can’t pay for my car. “

Barnum was so concerned about the contagion and spread of the virus that when she pulled into her driveway every night at home, she changed into fresh clothes in the car and left her shoes on the door before entering. Still, the boys would squeal and run for cover, she said.

Her 25-year-old daughter Lyka fell sick, as did 8-year-old Karlo – as did her 28-year-old daughter Shara, who was five months pregnant, and her son-in-law, Jan Fernan, who joined them for Christmas dinner from home in Fairfield.

« I always pray to God, heal my family, » she said. She asked to bear the brunt of the disease. “I can handle the headache. I can handle the body ache. I can deal with shortness of breath. But not my family. « 

In the last two weeks everyone has recovered and Barnum has returned to work. But sometimes she hears her daughter or grandson coughing in the middle of the night. She walks in on tiptoe and listens to the pattern of her breathing.

In the intensive care unit at Valley Med, respiratory therapist Kyra McAuley is responsible for keeping patients breathing. After 11 years in business, her skills have never been more in demand.

COVID attacks the lungs and when patients land here , McAuley takes care of the intubations and regulates the oxygen levels. It’s delicate and demanding work.

« Everyone deserves a chance to go home to their family, » she says. « I’m doing my best to make this happen « 

But in the adult world, 33-year-old McAuley knows that sometimes that’s not enough. She doesn’t tell her daughter about the moments of silence she ends up sharing with doctors and nurses when she’s with H. and the patient and wish them peace. For McAuley, “it’s a beautiful side of the dark.”

While working 12-hour shifts, she relies on her husband, Mark, who looks after the children at home and helps with their online school. They have been married for 14 years and he can immediately tell when she lost a patient. When she walks in the door, he quickly instructs the children to sit quietly on the couch.

Without him, « I don’t think I can get through anything, » she said. « I probably don’t compliment him enough. »

McAuley has already assured her daughter that she doesn’t have to worry about mom getting sick. So Harper focuses on her mother’s patients instead.

For the carers in the trenches, the promise of a vaccine helps them see victory in the end. But the rollout has been slow and they know the battle will last at least months.

So the families at home are still trying to make life easier for the people at the front in their own endurance race. 30-year-old intensive care nurse Stephanie Mejia has either worked at the bedside or, as the intensive care unit moves into an additional wing, “played musical beds to take in a very sick patient” as a nurse.

It’s intense and exhausting . Her mother Luz and her fiancé Sammy Haile see the strain. Every morning her mother prepares her lunch and Haile puts out her color-coordinated scrubs, fills her water bottle and puts everything in her car. « So I just have to jump in. »

Not everyone has this luxury. For those who live alone, the COVID lockdown is another suppressive force.

« Isolation for me gets a little exponential at times, » said Liz Thurstone, a regional hospital nurse, who walks home to her calico cat named Zoey .

Her brother Chris is a doctor in Colorado and tells her to be proud of her work on the COVID ward. Her 87-year-old mother Phyllis, herself a retired doctor, also tries to encourage.

« She always says – of course it is in the Bible – » This too will pass, « said Thurstone. » When we are in quicksand, it doesn’t seem like it will, but I try to keep my eyes and heart on it. It will be over at some point. “

The feelings that healthcare workers are reluctant to express at home are often shared at work. Dr. Gohil, whose 9-year-old spends every night wondering whether the virus will kill his father, is delighted to see nurses, therapists and young trainees support one another. They have made tremendous strides here with their COVID patients and they pride themselves on the early adoption of treatments that have proven to be major breakthroughs in fighting the virus, including using steroids and turning patients on their stomachs, to help her lungs.

And while the 44-year-old pulmonologist sees his colleagues in the nurses’ station having encouraging conversations, he also sees them in tears in the corridors.

There used to be an “unwritten contract « He said that in the hospital you work very hard and when you get home you can mostly escape it.

 » But now you go home and the family is under stress too, « he said. “You wonder what the monster looks like. There is fear. « 

Somehow, after confronting this monster face to face every day, he finds a realm of refuge with his family.

With his 4-year-old daughter Zoya, he watches the animated adventures of“ Peppa Pig ”And her court friends who“ You are miles away from COVID ”.

Articles related to the topic

Coronavirus: New variant of COVID-19 in increasing numbers

The latest: Slovakia wants to carry out almost all tests in nine days

California nearly 3 million coronavirus cases

Sonoma County Appoints COVID-19 Vaccine Chief

Children are the next frontier for clinical trials with COVID vaccines

With his wife Neha, whom he met while studying in Edinburgh, he was drawn into Outlander, the steamy series in Scotland.

And he picks up with his two boys, including 10-year-old Akaal back the catalog of Marvel films in which they are fascinated by superheroes defeating their enemies. You are currently in the world of Iron Man protecting the world in his iron suit.

At home on his couch with his boys by his side, Gohil’s daily armor remains – his gloves and dress, face mask and shield – back. So is the monster.


Donnez votre avis et abonnez-vous pour plus d’infos

Vidéo du jour: