Domestic Violence During Coronavirus Lockdown

Abusers love isolation.

The mandate came across the television screen. “Stay at home”

Social distancing


The USA is in lockdown.

And unless you are an essential worker, like a nurse or doctor or healthcare employee or medic or police officer or work at a grocery store, you must stay at home. This coronavirus is wicked and travels from one person to the next. Not only thousands have died from this virus, it easily leaps from one country to the next.

Some would think it was a relief to sit at home and watch tv. Others would become restless and uneasy and knowing that a paycheck wouldn’t come in nor bills would be paid like the rent or mortgage or utilities or food.

And to the man or woman who knew the sting of domestic violence, this isolation would become an inescapable trap.

Isolation is an abuser’s best friend.

And with isolation came their ultimate control.

Emma was a young beautiful girl. But as a child, her parents ridiculed her day in and day out. Though Emma was a natural beauty, her entire life growing up, her mother and father would tell her she was fat and ugly and stupid. Her neglect and abuse was early on, as she watched her mother dress in the finest clothing, and her dad drink his gallon of wine a night.

Emma would frequently stay away from the high school parties and football games because she was convinced she was fat and stupid and ugly.

And then she met Ted. He was a big guy. Kind and protecting and eventually never left Emma’s side.

Emma thought his “protection” and always wanting to know where she was, was his way of showing love and affection.

They married. And she was determined to be that perfect wife. Ted would come home from work and the table would be set with a magnificent dinner. But Emma realized that everything had to be perfect with Ted. It’s hard to always be perfect. He eventually became cruel to her and verbally abusive. If Emma’s hair wasn’t just right, he’d scream at her. If the house wasn’t clean, he’d push her into a corner leaving bruise marks on her arms. And the pattern of control and abuse grew. She wasn’t allowed to see her old friends much less her parents. She wasn’t allowed to buy new clothes without his ok. Is she was napping, he’d accuse her of being tired because she must be having an affair. The neglect and torment and control would escalate. And Emma was doomed in her mind to be a worthless person.

And then the pandemic hit. More isolation. And Emma felt paralyzed. She was confined to her home. Ted became more aggressive and angry as he couldn’t work and couldn’t pay his bills. Screaming and hitting Emma to “keep her in her place” and the nightmare was endless.

Emma wanted to get help. She wanted to reach out. But Ted told her if she left the house the coronavirus would kill her. She wasn’t able to get on the phone to talk to her friends. Nor was she allowed on her laptop. The control and isolation grew. Easily she would be punched in her stomach, or shoved into a corner of something was out of place or the TV had the wrong channel on.

Emma tried to get on her laptop to signal one of her friends to help. But Ted slammed the laptop onto the floor.

Emma was trapped in her own house where the isolation got more intense and Ted’s control of her became unbearable.

At 3:00 am, when she thought Ted was sound asleep, she tiptoed down the stairs, with only her clothes, no suitcase.

She had to make an escape. It was now or never.

Slowly and quietly she walked down the staircase. And she made it to the front door.
Ted ran down the staircase and grabbed her arm. Stating that she would never leave him.

He pushed her against the wall. And put his gun to her head. And fired three times.

Emma fell to the floor.

Blood splattered everywhere.

Ted calmly got on the phone and called 911.

I did it.

I killed my wife.

There were no tears.

Domestic Violence Hotline:
1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)
Or text: LOVEIS to 22522

The Protesters

They scream and holler and march. First Amendment, it’s our right. Open up the USA.

This is Socialism. This is a hoax.

THIS, coronavirus, is deadly.

Invisible as the virus makes its trek across our USA. Across the Universe.

Nurses and doctors and respiratory therapists are being named hero’s. Signs and banners and free meals and cookies and doughnuts and loads of adoration come our way. But we don’t want to be named a hero. We are doing our job, our profession, our passion.

What the health care professionals want are safety, and protection, and experienced staff and PPE’s like N-95 masks, and gloves and gowns and face shields. And respect for this virus.

When you go out and march and protest without a mask, without social distancing, you are compromising fellow citizens, nurses and doctors and respiratory therapists. You are endangering us and your family and friends. This virus doesn’t care what you think. It searches for the next host to hook on to. Are you in your 30’s, or 40’s or 60’s… the virus doesn’t care.

Are you washing your hands with soap and water, sanitizer, keeping your distance? Do you walk freely through essential stores without a care; without a bother?

To you, it doesn’t matter.

Because you haven’t been affected yet.

Not yet.

We say our prayers going in. The hospitals test us before we clock in. They take our temperature and ask us questions. We are allowed to stay and work if we are afebrile, lack a dry cough, no loss of smell or taste, no shortness of breath, no congestion. And then we are allowed entrance to work in that ER or that ICU or any unit in that hospital. ICU’s and ER’s are now deemed as Hell.

There are no short breaks. It is 12 hours of relentless pain. Masks and shields and gowns and gloves and the very sickest Covid-19 enter our ICU’s. Pouring blood into these patients and oxygenating with emergent intubation, and vasopressins and lungs crashing and kidneys dying despite dialysis, despite our last ditch efforts of proning a patient, despite telling family members they can’t see their loved ones last breath on earth.

Despite hospitals allowing us ONE N-95 mask per 12 hour shift. Despite us knowing that this special mask should be used only once and then disposed of. Despite hospital units and surgeries closing down, despite nurses being furloughed or physicians being fired for speaking out against the lack of PPE’s, despite administrators receiving $250,000 bonus checks in this turmoil.

Frontline nurses and doctors have died from this virus helping you to survive.
Ministers and protesters, funeral sessions and greater than 10 social functions continue and you go on “blind faith.”

This coronavirus attacks our lungs our heart our kidneys and brain. It attaches and attacks until the patient goes into multi-system organ failure and then death.
To date the US has 58,947 deaths from coronavirus. This number continues to grow.
So please, help yourself to protesting, to screaming and shouting. You certainly don’t scare or intimidate this virus.

Wear your masks, keep your distance.

But if you keep your guard down, you may become the next fatal number.

Hope in the killing fields

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Our 23 bed ICU has been converted to Covid-19 patients.

All of them.

I want to tell myself this is science fiction, but it’s not. It’s real. And we are scared.
As I enter the unit to start my night shift, we have a huddle of the off-going and oncoming nurses.

We are committed to fight this invisible monster.

After a brief update of all of our patients, we bow our heads and say a prayer. A prayer to protect all healthcare and essential workers across our nation. And our Universe. A prayer for safety and strength. A prayer for the patients stricken with this potentially lethal virus. A prayer for the families that are not allowed in to see their loved ones. Not allowed in to say hello, or to say I love you or to say their goodbyes.

ICU has always been my favorite job. The dynamic and strong work here. Fearless and endless, we never stop.

But this is different.

We receive our assignments. If we are lucky, we only receive 2 patients. Both on ventilators. We have a clean nurse to assist with adding our PPE’s. We also pray that we have the right protective equipment. N-95 masks, isolation gown, gloves, foot covers, and face shield. I am the “dirty nurse”.

I have to be prepared to have everything ready to go into that patient’s room.
IV antibiotics, IV drips like vasopressin and Levophed for those dangerously low blood pressures. Lab vials for the continuous need of lab work taken from the patients arterial line. Tube feedings for their nutrition. Morphine IV drips for their pain and discomfort, propofol for sedation.

Beyond all of the technical and mandatory medical needs of this patient, I have to remember there is a person on that ventilator. A person who is all alone. There is no family member with them. It’s me and the patient. And that steady beep of the EKG monitor and the pumping of the ventilator. The noises that provide no comfort.

This virus does not discriminate.

I have 30 year old male who was perfectly healthy and I have 64 year old lady. This virus is an equal opportunity employer.

In my 30 plus years as an ICU nurse, never have I seen this incredible death threat.
I check the ventilator along with the respiratory therapists at my side. Check the settings, suction the patient. Though the patient is in a semi-chemical daze from the pain meds and sedation medications, I squeeze this young man’s hand, I let him know we are here for him. That we are going to do everything possible to make him strong again. To let him walk out of this place and see his wife again and hug his little kids again. And pet his dog again. I tell him to hang in there. That we are doing everything possible to fight this monster.

His breathing is shallow. His lungs have taken a beaten. But I can see his pulse and I can feel his pulse.

I hold his hand. And tell him to be strong. I say a pray for him. For us.

I want to shatter inside myself but I know I can’t . We must stay strong.
He turns his head towards me.

And squeezes my hand back.

Hope.

This is dedicated to all of the nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists who dedicate their lives every day in the face of danger. Thank you for all that you do.

Coronavirus

We are the land of plenty.

But not now

We stand naked.

Our America is not prepared.

With the surge of coronavirus invading our nation, nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists and medics remember our oath, our dedication and our persistence of always putting sick people first.

Everything is urgent, and emergent and downright scary.

We all worry if we’ll be infected. Will we carry this virus home to our family?

Isolation and quarantined.

The front lines are Emergency Departments and ICU’s and not only are there not enough beds, or ventilators, there are not enough experienced nurses, or respiratory therapists or physicians to spread out. Some physicians are dead. A nurse has died.

We are being told by management to use the same mask day in and day out.

Our PPE’s are inadequate and not bountiful.

An experienced nurse has been suspended because she refused to take care of a coronavirus positive patient in ICU, as she was not given a mask or gown to protect herself. Because the hospital was out of supplies.

Suspended.

Nurses are told if they test positive they must report to work anyway.

This devastating list and problems are extensive.

And there is no way out.

We are the killing fields with minimal or no protection.

I say make noise and document.
Report to the state board of nursing.
To the health department.
Report to OSHA.
This is not a hoax.
This is not a science project.
This is the real thing.

A virus spreading wildly with no vaccine.

And when the nurses and physicians and respiratory therapists and medics start tumbling down like a domino effect, in sickness or in death….

It’ll be lights out for those in need.
Game over.