They were only "Hero's" when we needed them. How many have been tossed aside, ignored even forced out of the field?
My husband Joe is an example of a veteran nurse of 25 years and was working in a wound care clinic at a local hospital in Denver. When the pandemic began, he was rotated to work in the ER screening patients for covid. One mask, one robe FOR THE ENTIRE WEEK. I worried he'd get covid and he did, our whole family did. My son and I recovered, Joe never did. Thankfully, he's living but he's still struggling with post covid problems such as daily intermittent chest pains, neurological problems, extreme fatigue and shortness of breath. His heart was infected from covid as we found out after going to 19 different doctors, many of them specialists like a pulmonologist and a cardiologist. Joe was in and out of the ER 3 times, where I had to drop him off and wait, terrified, he might not come back. He was enrolled in National Jewish's post covid clinic in Denver and was given some meds, and PT but mostly told they just didn't know what could be done. Some patients were getting better after a time and some weren't. Joe wasn't.
Joe tried 3 times to try and fight through the often debilitating symptoms and return to work but he couldn't sustain the physical or mental/emotional demands. After 6 months the hospital forced him to resign. We lost everything financially, but we received extended Cobra and unemployment for a period of time. Now Joe is considered disabled and we live on a small disability policy he had before he got sick. I had not been working as I stayed at home to support our son with special needs. Mostly, I personally have devoted my time to this journey we've been on with covid. Joe still struggles every day and he has been forgotten by his profession and the world. After over 2 years of exhausting struggle, he's still here thankfully. Although, the care and support for these "Hero's" has dried up leaving the individual health care worker to fend for themselves, often teetering on the edge of giving up.
Joe survives each day with a positive attitude and faith he will be okay. He was an amazing nurse and touched so many lives in his years in nursing. I'm sure his gift of healing has changed and bettered many lives. I only wish he was acknowledged as the true "HERO" and survivor that he is