AURORA, Ill. -- The latest COVID-19 surge in Illinois has a front-line worker in the suburban city of Aurora pleading with people to take the virus seriously.
Nurse Carol Williams shared a photo of herself on Facebook after her shift at Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora with a powerful message that has since gone viral:
Stop thinking this is just like the flu, it isn't .
Stop telling me the survival rate so it's not a big deal, it is a big deal.
Stop saying healthcare workers signed up for this, we didn't.
Stop ignoring science based recommendations of masking, social distancing, hand hygiene, and not gathering in large crowds, they work.
Stop kidding yourself that this isn't going to affect you or someone you love or know, it will.
Stop thinking that only unhealthy people with preexisting medical conditions or elderly people are the ones dying, they aren't the only ones.
Stop being confident that if you get sick from anything, the resources to save you will be readily available, that may not be in this stage of the pandemic.
Stop believing hospitals aren't being overrun because of the massive influx of Covid patients at this moment, they are.
Stop thinking if they make makeshift areas to house more patients there will be properly trained staff to care for them, there may not be.
Stop believing that all frontline healthcare workers are properly protected with PPE, many across the country STILL are not.
Stop ignoring that healthcare workers are also getting sick themselves, it's happening.
Stop believing that doctors are profiting from this pandemic, they aren't.
Stop politicizing this virus, it's a public health crisis
If you are taking this pandemic seriously, doing the best you can to be safe and protect others, THANK YOU.
If you are not, please start now. I am begging you!
Anyone that has asked me how things are going, I have given them my unfiltered Covid ICU nurse experience. No one wants to believe this is happening in their own backyard but it is and it isn't pretty.
Below is me after spending 5 hours inside a Covid positive ICU room working to save a patient. In this moment, I felt defeated because I already knew what the outcome would be even though it hadn't happened yet.
The inability to save a patient despite doing everything you can is mentally exhausting. Now imagine doing that on repeat for 8 months and counting.
Imagine watching a patient suffocating thru a door while scrambling to get your ppe on because they inadvertently removed the mask they desperately need to breathe but you still need to protect yourself first.
Imagine being the nurse crying with your patient when they realize that everything we're doing to help them STILL may not be enough and death is a real possibility.
Imagine being the nurse and doctor telling a patient we need to put them on the ventilator because we have exhausted all other measures. Calling or FaceTiming their family so they can say I love yous and encouraging words while in our heads we know for some patients this is the last phone call they will have with each other.
Imagine being the nurse or doctor holding that same patient's hand and stroking their head weeks later while their ventilator is removed because they haven't improved and their family then says goodbyes and I love yous over FaceTime while they take their last breath.
Now PLEASE IMAGINE BEING THE COVID ICU PATIENT. The breathlessness, pain, fear, loneliness, isolation, anxiety, hopelessness, and sadness. The need to use all your energy just to breathe. The true realization you may not get better and facing your own mortality. We do our best to calm fears, comfort and connect while providing the best care we can in their most vulnerable moments.
I promise anyone reading this that your healthcare team will fight for you with every ounce of their being to get you better until every measure has been exhausted whether you are hospitalized with Covid or any other illness.
Please do not discount all the lives lost or affected by this pandemic any longer. We need to come together as a country, NOW. We need to work together, NOW.
Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin read her post in full during this week's council meeting, bringing some to tears.
"So moved," Ald. Scheketa Hart-Burns said through tears as others nodded in agreement.
ABC7 Chicago Digital Team contributed to this report.