Savannah nurse reflects on past year helping those battling COVID

ByBlair Caldwell|March 19, 2021 at 6:36 PM EDT - Updated March 19 at 7:12 PM

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s crazy to think, but a year ago this day we were just beginning to see COVID-19 enter our community.

While we all were on edge, nurses like Kim Raymond were bracing for the unknown.

“It was kind of unreal, it was just kind of like okay this is it. Like this is, we’re starting,” said Raymond, a COVID ICU Nurse at Candler Hospital.

From the very first COVID-positive patient, Raymond has been there to serve. She volunteered to work on the unit assigned to the infectious disease to help her fearful coworkers. She says the early days were long with several patients to see, PPE to wear and information to learn.

“Like it never ended once you got home you were still working because there was so many emails and new things that came out with how we should take care of these patients, and what to look for and these tips and advisories it was just kind of like that’s what you did. You worked at work and when you were at home you worked,” Raymond said.

She says there were several challenges from PPE shortcomings to little help for their worst patients and more, it started to take a toll.

“You’re doing everything you can and no matter what you’re doing for the patient it’s just not helping them, and it makes you feel like it’s hopeless,” Raymond said.

Raymond says because of these tough days, coworkers banded together to make it through, and they held onto the good moments, like when one of their first critical patients recovered and was discharged.

“It was just kind of like it’s possible, like we do have survivors once they get to us. You know, unfortunately, a majority of them they don’t make it, but there’s always that little chance of hope that they will do it,” Raymond said.

With the community support and the promise of the vaccine she says days got better. Raymond was one of the first nurses in the state of Georgia to get the COVID-19 vaccine and it’s a day she remembers with joy.

“It was very exhilarating it was just kind of like this is it, this is, we finally are going to make it,” Raymond said.

She says they now have less patients in the COVID-ICU unit, but the battle against the virus continues. She knows we haven’t won yet but continues to hope as the vaccine rolls out that we will make it to the other side stronger.

“As we look back it’s always, it’s kind of like wow we did this, like we, it was a years’ worth of hard strenuous work and we made it,” Raymond said.

She says a year ago she never imagined we’d have three highly effective vaccines and encourages those who are eligible to sign up.

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Photo: WTOC

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