A nurse has shared brutal before and after photos to highlight the harrowing impact working on COVID-19 wards is having on healthcare workers.
Kathryn, who is an intensive care nurse in Nashville in the United States, shared on Twitter photos of herself taken eight months apart.
How it started How it’s going pic.twitter.com/cg32Tu7v0B
— kathedrals🇺🇸 (@kathryniveyy) November 22, 2020
In the first photo, she is fresh faced, groomed and smiling. In the ‘after’ photo she is unkempt, her face rubbed red from wearing a mask, and the smile is gone.
“I love being a nurse,” she wrote on Twitter. “Didn’t exactly expect to be a new nurse in the middle of a highly politicized pandemic but life comes at you fast and even in a pandemic, there’s nothing else I want to do.”
“Caring for the sickest of the sick is an honor and I treasure my patients,” she wrote.
“It is devastating to watch people die when those deaths were avoidable and it’s even more devastating when you watch them die the same way, time after time after time.”
“It’s devastating that basic common sense and decency has been politicized,” she wrote.
The failure of the US government to listen to medical professionals has been “a constant slap in the face”, she said.
“I am fine with working hard, being sweaty and tired and doing hard things. I’m not fine with so many people refusing to acknowledge the situation that has been created through inaction and obstinancy. All these people didn’t have to die,” she said.
“Covid is a brutal disease and I wouldn’t wish the worst of it on my worst enemy. Please understand that you aren’t just protecting yourself, you are protecting the people around you.”
The post has gone viral, with nearly one million likes and 80,000 retweets.
The post has prompted thousands of comments in response, many thanking Kathryn for her service.
“Keeping everyone on the front lines in our prayers. So grateful for your courage and tireless work. Thank you,” one person wrote.
“Please hang in there. You and all of your colleagues are heroes and inspirations. If you haven’t heard it today, I appreciate, respect and admire you. You have courage, compassion, strength of will & so much more. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you,” said another.
But others questioned her career choice. “It’s a job they choose, just like being a cop,” one said.
Others posted their own before and after images, such as Lyssa, with the line, “How it started vs how it’s going”.
How it started vs how it’s going 🙃 pic.twitter.com/dMpeh4qsjV
— LYSS⚡️ (@lyssawulf) November 24, 2020
In an interview with CTVNews, Kathryn said she wanted to show the reality for health workers working on COVID-19 wards. She said there are extreme “physical effects” of wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) for so long.”
“We’re dehydrated all the time because we’re sweating so much and because with the masks on, you can’t drink until you leave the floor or go into the break room to take your mask off and drink.”
Australia has COVID-19 under control – for now. This is a reminder, not only of the crisis we are emerging from, but also the fact the virus is still raging in other parts of the world. We can not be complacent.