As COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise statewide, a SSM Health nurse has shared a gut-wrenching, personal account of the frontline battle inside hospital walls.
The most recent uptick in cases has cause more of a strain which led the hospital to reopen its COVID-19 unit.
"The COVID unit is reopening is the sentence we have dreaded for weeks," SSM Health nurse Regan Wickwire said as she poured out her heart in a Facebook post. "Here we are faced with another pandemic that could have been prevented."
Wickwire has been an ICU nurse with St. Anthony for six years. She worked in the COVID unit when it first opened before shutting it down for a few months when cases dropped drastically.
Wickwire said this time around in the COVID unit has been different with the patients infected with the virus.
"It seems like they are sicker," Wickwire said. "Before we would notice certain symptoms that would show up in a week or two, and it seems like they are coming in with those symptoms already."
The past year has been emotionally taxing on Wickwire and her team.
"The people I work with aren't my friends,” Wickwire said. “They are my family.”
As the nurses have been preparing to face some dark days ahead, she said one of the hardest parts is seeing patients come into their unit but never leave.
"We try to make sure we are family and friends in the hospital," Wickwire said. "Making sure patients don't pass away alone because no one deserves to die alone."
Wickwire is urging any Oklahoman who hasn't been vaccinated to do it to help fight the pandemic with them and not against them.