PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — What do the front lines look like for our health care professionals?
Long days covered in protective equipment amid isolation has become the new normal for one Palm Beach County mom and intensive care nurse who can’t even see her kids during this coronavirus pandemic.
Palm Beach County ICE Nurse Natalia Ramos scrambled to find clean uniforms at work when the washer at her apartment stopped working.
“They did supply some uniforms for me at work until I was able to get that fixed, but no one wanted to come in, the maintenance people,” said Ramos.
Every day she is caring for patients infected with COVID-19 and potential coronavirus cases, it’s pulling her away from her children.
“I’m practically isolated from everybody. All my loved ones, my children, they can’t reside with me. It’s devastating. It’s heartbreaking,” said Ramos.
Her four kids are currently staying with their father and her family is too afraid to come near her.
“He cried, telling me, 'please, I don’t want our children to be affected. We love you. We'll video chat with you. We’ll do whatever it takes,'” said Ramos.
Her days at work are longer than usual, and she has the added emotional toll of worrying every day if she’ll be infected, which can be overwhelming.
“At some point you worry if you get it, you can’t help anybody else," said Ramos. “I have my meltdowns like yesterday. I cried my eyes out, but this is what I signed up for, you know, to be in the front line, to be there when no one wants to be there.”
The silver lining for her is that her property manager had a new washer delivered, but she says workers were given instructions not to go into her unit.
“I was bawling, and the guy felt so bad for me that he said, 'You know what, I don’t care what the instructions say, I don’t care if I lose my job. I’m going in, and I’m going to install it for you because you sit there and fight for us. You’re on the front line, and it could be me one day being a patient that you’re taking care of,'" she said.
A little kindness shown to a single mom working every day to protect others while being away from the ones she loves most.
“They do say that I’m their hero and that gives me strength,” said Ramos.