“You don’t get to take a moment to cry and breathe, we just do it, we take care of them,” Southeast nurse explains about COVID-19 surge


DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — A shortage of nurses, over-flux of COVID patients, and keeping together day-to-day factors are leaving some fighting on the front-line feeling fatigued.

According to Southeast Health Critical Care Nurse, Cyrstal Ortiz, situations like these are making their job more exhausting both physically and mentally.

“There was nothing else we could do, and she had to sign her own withdraw of life form,” Ortiz said. “She had to sign her own form saying that we weren’t going to do anything to revive her, we aren’t going to do any more treatments, we’re not going to do anything else for her, while her husband and children were in the room, and that was kind of hard. That was a hard knot for me.”

Ortiz has been working in the critical care unit at Southeast Health for close to four years and never thought a bet with her dad, would lead her to a now war-like field.

“You don’t get to take a moment to cry and breathe and stress, so we do it, we take care of them, we do the best we can so they can to take them alive, then we go to our car and cry about it,” Ortiz said.

Ortiz tells WDHN News, this is a very dire situation. She said this is a matter of life or death. This is why she encourages everyone in the community to go out and get their vaccine.

“Sometimes you catch people in the storage room,” Ortiz said. “That is when it is good to have a support system and a team, somebody who can say, ‘hey, it’s okay I’m here, let’s get back to work and we’ll cry about it on our way home.'”

“Just stop, realize people are tired, people are scared, people are sick, nurses are tired everyone is tired,” Ortiz said.

According to Ortiz, there are many ways to support nurses, saying thank you’s and writing cards are some ways, but the one thing that will give the most help to nurses is getting vaccinated.

“You wouldn’t see me at Target tomorrow and have realized I have worked the past three days and I have two sick kids at home,” Ortiz said. “There are things you just don’t realize about people. I think if we just are nice to each other and understanding.”

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