We’d stride down the hall and tip our invisible hat to our wild west nurses.
The N95 mask doesn’t seal properly when you have a beard. So, when our ICU had about 3 to 5 patients with COVID, it was easy for a nurse with a beard to say to our supervisor, “Sorry, I have a beard. I can’t take care of that patient.” And so, the supervisor would say, “No problem. Let’s trade out nurse X with nurse Y.”
Okay, you might be like? That’s messed up. But you hadn’t seen how righteous my beard was. I don’t care what my wife says about it. Okay, I do. (Sorry, honey. I love you.) But seriously, I have a great beard.
Then, 3 to 5 patients turned into 20 to 30, into 45 to over 70. Our ICU turned into 100% COVID patients. There was no way out.
I had to sacrifice it.
Everyone with a beard had to trim down their facial hair. And what that trim turned into was this infamous mustache. (The infamous majestic mustache, might I add.)
I’m a charge nurse and after a few days of craziness, I could tell we all needed a little humor. Well, I figured, I’d wear some of my best cowboy boots to work to pair with this majestic stache. Then, the next day another ‘stache nurse showed up in boots. Then four more came in boots.
Mind you, we were at the peak of death rates. We didn’t know how much PPE we had. We didn’t know how many medications were or were not available. Anxiety was through the roof, stress oozed out of every single patient and staff member. But before I knew it, our entire floor was clicking around with well-groomed mustaches and fancy leather boots.
We became the COVID Cowboys.
We’d stride down the hall and tip our invisible hat to our wild west nurses on the way to serve our patients in style and grace.
The click of the heels soothed patients and staff alike. The sound produced smiles under everyone’s masks. And when someone really needed a pick-me-up? Well I’d take this beautiful, athletic body and I’d give them a jumping, heel click.
Cheered’em right up.
Listen, even in the most stressful environments, humans need outlets. And humor is a magnificent coping technique. We are indefinitely placed in this unit. We don’t know when any of this will be over. I know we’re going to be alright and I know we’re going to do everything we can to save lives.
I ain't shaving the stache 'til this is over and I'll forever be a COVID cowboy.
A Click of the Heels