OMAHA, Neb. — May is Nurses Month and Thursday is National Nurse Appreciation Day. KMTV is celebrating by recognizing all their hard work and sacrifice, especially during the pandemic.
Methodist Hospital Progressive Care Unit nurse Lucy Gonzalez has worked long 12-hour shifts in the COVID unit for over a year now. 2020 was a year she will never forget.
"We were so overwhelmed that I just felt like...we can't take anymore," she said.
Like all of us, Gonzalez was thrown into the uncertain world of COVID-19. But unlike many of us, she was directly working with sick patients. Information on the virus was scarce and treatment wasn't available until much later in the year.
"As fast as they were coming in, they were going out...and not in the way we would want them to," she said somberly.
When the November peak hit, things got worse. Gonzalez's heart broke for the patients she knew weren't going to make it. She said one patient that will stay with her forever is a 96-year-old WWII veteran who won countless battles on the front lines but was losing the fight to COVID.
"He goes, 'I did a lot of good and I fought them off. I survived. I saved a lot of soldiers, I saved a lot of soldiers. It doesn't look like I'm going to win this one,'" Gonzalez said.
One year later she feels stronger because of how far science has come.
"I see a confidence where I didn't see it in March. I saw more fear and now it's like, let's go, we got this," she said.
However, she doesn't want to see her unit fill back up, and encourages the community to stay resilient until the pandemic is over.