Fort Lauderdale Moms Blog is honored to pay tribute to our frontline heroes in the midst of this global pandemic.
It is our hope that with this tribute series and the offer of support to #OurFrontLineHeroes, they will feel seen, honored, valued, and so cherished! Frontline workers include (but are certainly not limited to) first responders, healthcare workers, law enforcement, scientist, lab workers, and so many others.
We value and appreciate the sacrifices you make every day, reporting to work.
To all frontline workers: We salute you, support you, and we are grateful for you!
This week we are thrilled to honor Alba Mendez RN, BSN!
Meet Alba Mendez, a Nurse on the Frontlines.
Alba, tell us about your work and what you do.
I am a trauma/ER and Cath lab nurse. My official title is an RN, BSN.
How has being a daughter influenced your work?
I am not a mother, I am however, a sister and daughter. I don’t think it has influenced me in any way really because, as a nurse you have to have some level of detachment, especially if you are doing ER/trauma because patients can come with various ailments and you cannot hesitate. It has, however, made me appreciate life more and pushes me to live my life to the fullest because you may never know if you will ever see your loved ones again.
How has COVID-19 affected your work?
I am using multiple layers of protective gear, breathing is affected because I am breathing my own CO2 for hours, holding going to the bathroom, and not eating or drinking water as much because taking off PPE’s is a whole process. I barely had time to do that when I didn’t have to wear so much PPE’s…imagine now.
A second thing is the fear of the unknown when a patient comes in through the ER or when I am on call for heart attacks or strokes. We do not know if that patient is infected and the testing does take time; and for us to return blood flow or normal function to these organs, we have to get in quickly; sometimes waiting for that test to come back, is not an option.
Thirdly, there is also an anxiety and fear that the hospital will run out of PPE’s, and if that’s the case, fear of getting infected and passing it along to our families when we come home. 20% of the people infected in the US are medical professionals.
What it is like serving every day on the frontlines?
We serve whether there’s an epidemic or not, it is our jobs. I really don’t feel anything towards it because you learn to detach yourself. I was there when Ebola and E.Coli hit and the height of the FLAKKA in Miami. I am good at detaching myself and getting the work done. I probably do not have the same fears as other nurses who have children at home. What has surprised me the most is being called a “hero” everywhere I go. I have people messaging me on social media calling me this and saying “Thanks for your service”. This is what I tell people in the military! I don’t think I am doing anything extraordinary, heroic or out of the ordinary, just my Nightingale Oath.
The most encouraging was when I reached out to various influencers on social media asking them to use their power and influence to get donations of PPE’s to their local hospital. I got many enthusiastic yes’s; so that made me happy because social media is mostly people in bikinis, thongs, shirtless or doing exercise videos. But, here were others that were not only sending “good vibes and prayers”, but, using that thong, for example, to do something and encouraging their followers to donate.
The most difficult was watching on the news how there were people protesting for their various states to open. They were blocking the roads to the hospitals, calling nurses “fake nurses”, calling them names, getting in their face and verbally abusing them. What if it would have been your family member who was having a heart attack, and someone decided to block the road to the hospital because they want to protest their roots showing? It made me angry, we are here putting our lives on the line for everyone and this is how we are treated? Yet, if these same people were to get infected we are expected to take care of them? I get that people want and need to work, get their beauty on and go to a restaurant but to the point that you are putting my life and others in danger?
What acts of kindness and encouragement have you seen during this time?
I would have to say the many care packages I have gotten from friends, followers and family. I have gotten special meals delivered to the hospital from chefs, presents of coloring books, my favorite tofu and even vegan seafood! Yes, I am a vegan, so having my favorite foods delivered by the companies that make them has been awesome and so heartwarming.
How has the global pandemic influenced your family personally?
I don’t see my family as often, one, because I am constantly working, and two, because one parent is immunocompromised and we decided it was prudent. I also have not seen my boyfriend in months because when the pandemic hit he was working in Texas, he is also in the medical field and we decided that it was not prudent for him to return.
In my personal life, I’d have to say staying in on my days off. I hate staying in! Living in Florida, I am at the beach constantly, or at the gym lifting, meeting the V-gang on our monthly dinners; that is what I miss the most. I am part of a group of other vegan medical professionals and because our lives are so busy and hectic, it is nice to set aside a day in which all of us can come together, enjoy a good meal and catch up.
One positive thing is that because I am home so much, it has given me the opportunity to work on my blog called The Veg Nurse Blog. The creative juices have been flowing lately and I can think of new ideas, create and sit and write. It has slowed me down somewhat that I have more time to dedicate to my blog and make it better.
What has kept you smiling through this tough time?
1. My fur babies Kona and Shadow and my boyfriend Jose. 2. The ocean 3. Reading a good book
What message do you want to share with those of us not on the front lines?
Stop wearing gloves!!! If you use the same pair of gloves for touching produce, using the bathroom, opening doors, driving, etc. and you don’t change them or use hand sanitizer on them; you potentially run the risk of catching the virus or spreading the virus. Think of it like this: it would be like me using the same pair of gloves for twelve hours on every-single-patient. Would you like me to be your nurse now?
Do you have a message to share with Broward Moms?
Nothing motherly! I don’t know anything about children, except the best way to get an IV in them…
I think my message is that I salute mothers, I admire women who have children, work and still create a home for them.
As we launched #OurFrontLineHeroes Tribute Series, our hearts filled with so much appreciation, accompanied by a deep yearning to do more. We know that the effects of this global pandemic may not be felt right away by our frontline heroes (because you are “going through it” and so focused on others and not yourself), but it will creep-up and when it hits home we want you to know we’re here for you! Fort Lauderdale Moms Blog is proud to partner with Wellspring Living, Joy Acaso (A Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Anxiety Support Coach) to bring all our frontline heroes a place especially for them. This is an open invitation to join a support group created just for you. It is our goal through this partnership to serve you when you need us, just like you’ve served your community…let us support you! Feel free to join anytime. Even heroes can’t do their job alone and that’s ok. We got you!
Thank you for your hard work!
We admire you, support you, and are thankful for YOU!
Collectively, we will get through this!
Recognize and honor the Moms and Frontline workers in your life by using #OurFrontlineHeroes to nominate someone or send us an email: [email protected]
Looking for helpful resources to support your family during this time? Check out Navigating The Normal: Your Resource Guide to Managing Today, it is packed full of information and updated weekly!