Updated: November 23, 2020 06:45 PM
Created: November 18, 2020 03:17 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A nurse who works in the COVID ward at UNM Hospital is asking everyone to do what they can to slow the spread of the virus.
"I want everybody to take this seriously. It surprises me to see how many people still think that this is not that big of a deal," said registered nurse Kellie Souza. "They're not seeing the numbers that we're seeing here in the hospital."
Souza spent ten years working in the trauma room before moving to the COVID ward.
"I've seen more than you could possibly imagine, you know, people die in so many different ways," she said. "But I've never had to do the things that I've had to do here. I've never had to watch someone suffocate by themselves with no family around."
Souza said the pandemic has been emotionally and physically exhausting for health care workers.
"You're dealing with this all the time. And you have people bashing you because you're wearing a mask because they think that you're brainwashed by the government and stuff, and it has nothing to do with politics, this is literally an illness that can really affect you and your family," she said.
Souza said a lot of patients don't understand the severity of the virus until they get it.
"A lot of them regret not doing the proper things that we've, you know, we've all been asked to do, wearing our masks and washing our hands and social distancing," she said. "And not having parties and getting together and stuff. You know, a lot of them told me that they wish that they would have, that they would have heeded all the precautions from the beginning."
At the end of the day, Souza goes home to her 10-year-old daughter and her boyfriend, who is also a first responder.
She said her love of the profession keeps her going.
"God put me on this earth to help people, and I may not be able to save them all. But I can at least be there to comfort them," she said.
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