Disclosure: The author of this article wishes to remain anonymous. The author works as a nurse in Fresno and is sharing their experience via uSpark. Their story reflects what many nurses/health workers are currently experiencing in the Central Valley as COVID-19 cases continue to surge.

Heart failure, car accidents, strokes, liver failure, kidney failure, shootings, stabbings, burns, and the list goes on… these are regular occurrences. These have not stopped during a global pandemic, and they sure as hell won’t stop this holiday season with Christmas just around the corner. Heartbreaking but true. People experiencing these things, would normally have the best care in Fresno. Right now, they might be turned away, they might die without even being given a chance at survival.

This current surge of Covid cases could have been avoided with some of the simplest precautions. But no, we couldn’t help ourselves. Too arrogant, too selfish. We don’t care for each other. Our hospitals and medical workers are beyond exhausted. We cannot make it much longer at this pace. Nurses are assigned more patients than the legal guidelines permit. This alone is unsafe and will potentially cause more harm to patients than good. Medical staff are being given responsibility beyond their capabilities. Anxiety and stress gnaw away at our mind and hearts… and bodies. Can we please be done? You may think this is what we signed up for, but it wasn’t. Texts from our supervisors begging us to come into work on our days off. Nurses and other staff being sent to work in areas of the hospital they have never stepped foot in, with patients they know nothing about. The emergency room overflowing.

Our hospitals and medical workers are beyond exhausted. We cannot make it much longer at this pace.

Patients left in the hallways to be looked after by EMT’s and Paramedics until they get called away to bring more patients to a hospital that has no capacity for them.  New patient after new patient. No beds available. So they wait for care, care that won’t happen like it should, not even close. If only you could walk the halls of these hospitals in the tired shoes of a nurse like me. If only you could feel this frustration and exhaustion of living in a nation that doesn’t care.

So we plead with you to please, please, please reconsider your holiday gatherings. Don’t you want to spend holidays with your loved ones for years to come? I do. Can we sacrifice just a bit in this time that is supposed to be filled with love for one another? I sure hope we can. We medical workers are resilient people, but we have our limits. We haven’t been able to get you to care for the sick and vulnerable, but can we get you to think of us? Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Stay home. We need this. Desperately. -RN in Fresno

In a Fresno Bee article, Dr. Patrick Macmillan, a specialist in hospice and end-of-life care with the UCSF-Fresno medical education program stated that, “We’re experiencing a surge right now that’s beyond what we saw in the summer, which stretched us,” he said. “If people don’t stay home for Christmas this year, we’re going to see something that’s hard for me to even imagine.