story by evie colpi | art by alexandra fernholz
What started as a news headline from across the world has escalated into a global pandemic with over 5 million confirmed cases and over 300,000 deaths. The coronavirus has affected the entire world over the course of a couple of months. For Lakota parent and medical surgical nurse Carol Tuttle, COVID-19 has affected her and her family’s lives beyond the average person.
Tuttle has worked at the Good Samaritan Hospital for 24 years and is exposed to the virus during her 13-14 hour work days. The fear of bringing the virus home to her family is a constant. She and her husband, as well as their three teenagers, are coping with the pandemic as best as they can.
“When my mom gets home from working her shift, my whole family watches Jeopardy while we eat.” Caty Tuttle, Carol’s youngest daughter says, “It’s been helpful in improving our moods and keeping us positive.”
Despite the trying times and difficult situations, Tuttle and her coworkers try to give hope to the patients suffering from the virus.
“I try to hold their hands, talk about their families, pets, and what is important to them,” Tuttle says. “The [patients] have hospital-provided phones and their cell phones and we encourage them to keep in touch with loved ones if they can.”
The hospital also has free movies, music, and a meditation relaxation channel on their televisions, so the patients can disconnect from the 24 hour news of the world. Their goal is to keep patients positive and give them hope.
After her long shift, Tuttle comes home to her family exhausted. Her work is mentally and physically challenging, and both her and her family are aware that there is a chance that she could be bringing the virus home with her.
“I try to keep the same demeanor and energy at home to make sure no one worries, but it is very tough and draining,” Tuttle says. “Some days are better than others, and I’m able to power through.”