University Hospital of Northern B.C., in Prince George. (UBC photo)

University Hospital of Northern B.C., in Prince George. (UBC photo)

‘I am tired, and my soul hurts’: B.C. nurse reflects on working in ICU unit during COVID

Renée Bush writes about what it is like on the front-line of the pandemic in the north

As an ICU nurse I have dealing with COVID patients in the Prince George hospital. I am wanting people to recognize that COVID is real in the north.

The Health Care Team is working long difficult hours and extra shifts. This is not only physically exhausting, but emotionally and mentally draining.

I am nursing critically ill patients to the best of my ability, but it hurts my heart every day to be nursing people separated from their loved ones.

I field daily phone calls from families wanting updates about their special person that they love so much. They feel alienated and stressed that they can’t be with them. They tell me that they appreciate that we are at the bedside caring for their dad or sister or whomever it might be. They tell me little things about their loved one to let me get to know them, even if it is just a small portion of who that person is.

READ MORE: B.C. records 640 new COVID-19 cases, 24 deaths Wednesday

I hear the cracks in their voices as they talk to me, trying not to cry. They always end the conversation with please tell them I love them. Even though most of my patients are unconscious I tell them I will, and I do. It makes me cry too. I want people to remember when they see the stats that these are real people, with lives and families, they are not just numbers.

I truly connect with my patients. I go home thinking about them and their families. I have constant thoughts in my head wondering if all my patients will still be there tomorrow when I get back to work. It’s hard to just turn your brain off. Every death hurts us, we really are working so very hard.

READ MORE: ‘Feels like a dream came true’: Health-care workers receive COVID vaccine in B.C.

I hear the ventilator and monitor alarms even when I am at home. My face hurts from my respirator that I wear so much, the other parts of my day I wear the same mask as all of you.

I am tired, and my soul hurts.

I went into nursing because I care about people. As true northerners we all care and love our neighbours. I am asking for your help to think of others and not just yourself.

I know it sucks to not have Christmas with loves ones. I don’t get to see my family either. Small sacrifices for the big picture are what is needed right now.

Social distancing, wearing a mask, and washing or sanitizing your hands goes a long way. It’s all we have right now to try to flatten the curve that has grown substantially. Be kind to others, remember this is a sacrifice everyone is making right now.

My work life has changed dramatically, but so has my home life just like yours. As the north we are one big community. We can work together to take a huge load off the healthcare system and keep ourselves safe and healthy.

Please adhere to the provincial guidelines of social distancing and not having social gatherings at this time.

– Renée Bush, Prince George



editor@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich council approves of a five-story multi-family development at 300 Gorge Road West and 2900 Tillicum Road. (Rendering via Alan Lowe Architect Inc.)
Saanich approves five-story, mixed-use development for Tillicum area

Plans include 53 residential units, three commercial units at Tillicum Road, Gorge Road West

Coun. Niall Paltiel of Central Saanich has filed a notice of motion directing staff to work with the WSANEC leadership council to develop a program leading toward the “gradual incorporation of traditional WSANEC names for key collector and arterial roads”(Black Press Media File)
Central Saanich councillor wants road signs to use WSANEC names

Coun. Niall Paltiel proposes ‘gradual incorporation of traditional WSANEC names’ for key roads

Royal Roads University president Philip Steenkamp said they are aware of hateful graffiti spray-painted in an area of the forest surrounding the campus. The graffiti in question includes anti-Semitic content and a racial slur towards Black people. (Facebook/Royal Roads University)
Anti-Semitic, hateful graffiti spotted in forest near Royal Roads University

Royal Roads working with West Shore RCMP to remove graffiti “as soon as possible”

A cougar was spotted at Royal Roads University on Sunday, Jan. 24. The sighting was reported on the western edge of the campus. (File photo)
Cougar spotted at Royal Roads University Sunday afternoon

Animal reported on western side of campus near Colwood Fire Department

Saanich-based St. Luke’s Players community theatre company has been making the most of their opportunities to keep busy during the pandemic, including staging a Christmastime panto of Alice in Wonderland on Zoom. (Courtesy St. Luke’s Players)
Saanich’s St. Luke’s Players: Bringing the stage to the people

Community theatre company holding online auditions Jan. 23-24 for March production

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo mountain with flares during icy rope rescue

Rescuers got injured hiker down Mt. Benson to a waiting ambulance Saturday night

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

Most Read