Are we all in this together, or aren’t we?
I have a very important favor to ask everyone in Wellesley. If you have masks, and you can spare even a single one, please help me get them directly into the hands of nurses working right now with potential and confirmed COVID-19 patients at a nearby hospital. Here is an unsettling reality, as laid out by a nurse working in the literal corona virus trenches. I’ve been asked not to use the nurse’s name or to name the hospital.
The nurse says, “We are being asked to work with one flu mask per patient and re-use that mask for eight hours per patient. This is for potential and confirmed COVID-19 patients. N95 masks can only be used in aerosolized cases and cases in which the patient is on a ventilator, and must be re-used for the shift. This is the plan for the COVID-19 floor. So please, if you have even one mask, it’s really needed.”
Just to be clear, re-using masks is not proper protocol. Normally, protective gear such as masks is put on before a nurse cares for a patient. The mask is then disposed of in an appropriate receptacle after care is administered. This is supposed to happen every time. Such steps are taken so that nurses can prevent the spread of germs and so that they can keep themselves healthy.
Healthy nurses, cared-for patients. If nurses get sick with COVID-19, they can no longer care for patients. That’s how a crisis turns into a deepening crisis.
Wellesley, it’s come to this. Front-line medical professionals have been reduced to begging for the supplies they need to care for their patients, stop the spread of disease, and keep themselves healthy so that they can continue to care for patients. Because if our nurses can’t keep themselves healthy, what’s to become of the rest of us?
Mind you, corona virus cases are expected to increase. “We’re preparing for the storm right now. We are about one week away before we see a flood of patients come in,” my nurse contact said.
Your donation of masks is desperately needed
Can you help this nurse and other nurses who are working on a COVID-19 floor at a hospital that serves our community, by donating masks?
Here is how the chain of custody will work:
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Either myself or another volunteer will come and pick up however many masks you can donate. If you have as few as one mask or as many as 1,000 masks to donate, thank you.
The donated mask(s) will go directly into the hands of my nurse contact, who will bring them directly to nurses who are working with potential and confirmed COVID-19 patients at the nearby hospital where she works on the COVID-19 floor.
These masks will stay here in the community to help nurses, patients, and by extension all of us.
“If people just came by the hospital and dropped off mask donations, I can’t even say where they would end up, everything is so crazy right now. A drop-off donation here at the hospital might make it to us, or it might end up being sent somewhere where there’s more perceived need.”
Thank you, Wellesley residents, for all you’ve been doing to combat COVID-19. You’ve been social distancing. You’ve been working from home. You’ve had to be absolutely everything for your kids, because their village has been taken away from them. No school, no friends, no teachers. When I stop to think about it too long, I get too sad.
But I’m told there is hope. “The good news is the doctors right here are learning more and more each day,” the nurse said.
If a nurse has hope, so do I.
From the proud daughter of a long-retired nurse, I hope to hear from many, many Swellesley readers that yes, you can help. Yes, you have masks I and my volunteers can pick up and get directly into the hands of nurses working locally. Yes, you believe that protecting the community as a whole will protect your family as a unit.