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After a year of fighting COVID, front lines nurses optimistic next 12 months will be better

Updated: Mar. 9, 2021 at 7:36 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Kassie McNabb’s walk through the hallways of Our Lady of the Lake’s Covid ER unit has almost become as routine as wearing a mask. What she has seen over the last year along these halls is anything but.

McNabb and her fellow nurse, Amy Booth, have seen mounting losses and loved ones left by themselves as they try to recover from the Coronavirus.

“It’s something I hope we never go through again,” McNabb said.

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One year ago, life for McNabb and Booth changed. The first case of Covid-19 was confirmed in Louisiana, sending the state and its leaders into a frenzy that ultimately left the state locked down, and nurses battling a virus many did not know anything about.

“In the moment you just go,” Booth said. “You do, you know what to do, the ABC’s, the whole thing but then if at any point that you stop, you feel that anxiety of like oh my god, what is this? Am I going to take this home to my kid, am I going to drop dead if I’m exposed to this too many times, and I protecting myself, what about my friends, my family?”

The last 12 months have taken an emotional toll on healthcare workers yet for Booth and McNabb they have to fight on.

“Either I break down or I suck it up and I be there for my patient and their family,” Booth said. “You figure out how to take that extra step, that extra mile, go that extra distance because all of a sudden you’re like this is a person, we’ve got to do it.”

While they both said they try to compartmentalize what they have experienced since the first Covid positive patient walked in, their emotions cannot simply stay locked away.

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“There are things where you think you’re good and then something triggers you. Like someone talking about how ridiculous masks are and you just walked out of a room where someone is dying of Covid and they’re in their 40s,” Booth said.

Still, despite everything that has happened over the last 12 months, there is reason for optimism. Rooms are starting to empty and their work is starting to slow.

“I feel like calmer than it was this time last year,” McNabb said. “That fear, the apprehension, it’s gone down. People are wearing masks, the numbers are going down.”

“We know how to treat Covid a lot better now,” Booth said. “Now we, through our experience, we know the things we can do to stop them from getting to that point.”

They said that give them hope the next 12 months will be better.

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