By Cheryl Smith
While some have been sending praises of essential workers and those in the trenches, there have been horror stories about people who either don’t like their jobs or they are just plain ornery. They are in it for the paycheck, or they may have started out in love with their career but over the years they’ve become jaded. Not a pleasant thought, and not someone you want to brush with the “show them all some love” paint brush. Then too, however, there are those noble men and women who are so deserving of love.
Which brings me to my truth.
Destiny has always been known as sweet, loving, and respectful. Her mom, LaWonda, and I have been friends for decades and I’ve seen this young lady grow into someone who would make any mother proud. Must be those Alabama roots! Destiny is a registered nurse. She’s been on the front line serving with passion and compassion. Her love for her profession and the invaluable work that she does is worth celebrating and praising.
She says, “I have an affinity for the pride and humbleness the work of nursing offers to those with a caring heart and a thirst for helping those in need.” When she accepted an assignment in New York City, she said she had no idea what her responsibilities would be. She boarded the plane from Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport and arrived in the Big Apple ready to clock in at her assigned hospital.
“When I first got there, it was gruesome,” said the Tuskegee University graduate, who had just completed an assignment in Houston. “But it was a great experience and I felt that if I leave someone in a better condition, I did my job.” Destiny had plenty of time to make a difference, during 12-hour shifts, and she took advantage of every second. The conditions weren’t always the best, she admitted. There was also the concern about being infected with the coronavirus especially since she was assigned to a unit specifically for patients with a positive diagnosis.
“I felt I was going to be exposed wherever I was,” she said, adding that it was extremely challenging because, “they are begging and pleading for help in New York.” Already health-conscious, Destiny said she double-dosed on vitamins and she tried to get rest when she could so she would be better prepared for her emotionally and physically-demanding shifts.
Destiny described conditions where there were three patients to a room, with each at varying stages of care. For Destiny, half the battle was mental. She had to stay focused and she couldn’t be afraid. She came into contact with one patient, who has since gained a special place in her heart. Working on a floor with mothers who had just given birth could be very emotional.
These mothers gave birth but their newborns were immediately taken to another area for at least 48 hours or however long it took to get test results. During that time, mothers had no contact; there was no time to bond. “It was heartbreaking,” Destiny recalled and worse especially if the mother does not live through the ordeal. One mother was recovering and thankfully her newborn tested negative. Still, however, they were not able to be with one another.
So up steps Super Nurse, Destiny! “I learned of the baby’s negative status and I took him and gave him all the love,” she recalled. “I went to the mom and I took the mom’s number and sent her videos and pictures. I also would talk to her and FaceTime daily with her.” What Destiny did was admirable and there are probably some who frown upon her acts of kindness. But I look at her as a real hero. When I think of some of the stories that I have heard about and how so many are isolated from their loved ones; with some living their last minutes on this earth without being able to hear the voice of or touch a loved one; I want to hug Destiny.
Just like Destiny said, it is part mental for those taking care of the COVID-19 patients. Is it possible that recovery is part mental, so having someone who cares is a good thing? Now everyone can’t be expected to go the extra mile, but guess what, when accolades are being given, every essential worker regardless of their level of commitment gets to share in the glory. I urge everyone, regardless of their jobs, to be the best at what they do. After all, putting in the work is the right thing and if you want to celebrate the good, you need to do like Destiny and put in the good work!