OMAHA, NE — After taking care of COVID-19 patients for months, a Methodist Hospital progressive care unit nurse was diagnosed with the virus herself. Now, she's sharing her story of having experienced the virus from both sides of the hospital bed.
Katrina Conway has worked tirelessly to help the Omaha-metro community deal with the virus as a nurse at Methodist. Then, one day in September, she thought of how strange it was that she had not gotten sick with all her exposure in the hospital. Turns out, she spoke too soon.
"Ironically enough, the next day I was diagnosed with COVID," she said.
Conway's oxygen levels became extremely low. It was only a matter of time before she was rushed to the emergency room at the hospital where she had treated COVID patients just days before.
"It was kind of a reality check definitely — for me to be in that situation in the ER — because we've had so many people come in that are usually 60s and 70s and I'm in my 40s," Conway said.
Conway was then transferred to the same unit that she has worked in for 23 years, this time as a patient. Her co-workers became her doctors and nurses. Methodist Hospital nurse Jacque Kraft, her co-worker from her same unit and close friend, was by her side every step of the way.
"It was rather scary just because we have seen so much of what can happen and how fast it changes," Kraft said.
Conway said being on the other side of the hospital bed was an eye-opening experience. Thinking her days were numbered, she even began sending heartfelt text messages to family and friends.
"It was pretty scary for a while," she said.
Conway spent about a week in the hospital. Once she returned home, she still dealt with some after-effects of the virus. Things like fatigue and shortness of breath followed her for weeks.
Now having treated COVID patients and having been a COVID patient herself, Katrina is sharing her story so people of any age can learn from her experiences and take every precaution.