I am Dr. Susan Davis, a nurse who specializes in rescue, code blue preparation, and caring for people in need the best that I can. Nothing prepared me for the aftermath of Hurricane Ian here in Punta Gorda, where the eye of the storm stayed for hours and destroyed lives up and down the west coast of Florida. Death, yes. The. loss of life is definitely the most tragic immediate effect of the storm, but its aftermath is even more sorrowful and vicious.
I have always struggled a bit with publicizing the things that I do as a rescue volunteer or as a nurse, but if there ever is a time that we need to recognize each other for courage, power, and sheer human force of kindness, it is now. I could cry at the thought of what I have watched the nurses around me rally to do, their endless giving to one another, their patients, and our devastated community.
Many of the nurses that I am honored to work with here in Ian-destroyed west Florida do not have homes. They come into the hospital and to rescue command centers regardless of their own personal anguish. They make sure their families are safe, clean, fed, and protected, and then they're off back to the field to help the distressed, and, frequently, dying. There are folks coming in too late for dialysis, with advanced pneumonia, infections, out-of-control diabetes, and cardiovascular failure. The list is as endless as the sadness. Pediatric nurses show up to help with intra-hospital transfers across the state, managing hours of phone calls and logistics to get hundreds of patients the help they need.
Never have I been more proud of being a nurse. I watch my colleagues with no electricity, little gas, limited communication come in and stay longer and work harder. It's unreal the strength and resilience. The words that keep on echoing in my heart and mind are: GRIT and DIGNITY. They push through with grace and kindness, giving worth to every sort of person in need and to each other.
I am rarely at a loss for words to talk about my feelings and observations, but the rescue RNs I am proud to work beside in these past weeks shine with patience, unity, and laughter. Always laughter rippling through the hard, dark, and often ugly work of rescue.
I am so much more powerful now being around all this chaos and destruction trumped by loving kindness, confidence, and competence. I am even more dedicated to not only getting our CodePrep global movement for advanced resuscitation off the ground but to set it off to SOAR. We can save lives and ourselves.
Thank you for listening.
PS If you would like to donate something to the nurses I work with, please email me and I can make sure your gifts and support get into the hands of the nurses who need and appreciate it the most. Contact me at email@example.com