By Nick Archacki, Managing Editor
For centuries the world has relied on the assistance of doctors and nurses in times of need, whether it’s due to worldwide diseases, natural disasters, physical and mental complications, or routine health concerns.
Today, however, doctors and nurses are more than ever the most important people as these heroes are on the job day-by-day, saving the lives of young and old in the battle against the malicious pandemic known as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) that has put the world on hold for an indefinite time.
Luckily for me, one of these heroes lives in my home. She is my biggest supporter and most importantly, my mom: Ann Archacki.
An active nurse since 2006, she works at the Meadville Medical Center in Pain Management at the Grove Street facility under Dr. Anthony Colontonio. She is a BSN, R.N. (Bachelor’s Degree of Science and Nursing, Registered Nurse), and is a Clinical Nurse Leader of the Clinic for Specialty Pain Services. She attended and graduated from Mercyhurst University and Grand Canyon University for her nursing degree.
My mom has experienced many highs and lows in her career as a nurse, but nothing can top what has sadly taken over the world. “This whole situation with the Coronavirus has been very challenging for me and everyone at MMC because so many outpatient services have been shut down which has left a lot of people laid off, which I never thought would happen to an R.N. or any other profession in the medical field,” she said. “Meadville Medical Center is mostly outpatient services, so the hospital is really hurting from the virus, too.”
Not only has the hospital and its employees been struggling from the layoffs and the virus, but patients who are currently at MMC are also struggling, too. “This virus affects the patients in the hospital because they’re not allowed to have visitors,” Archacki said. “It can be a very lonely time for them.”
The hospital is home to many departments, and my mom works in the pain management department. Like many other departments in the Grove Street building, the Pain Clinic has adjusted accordingly to employees being laid off. “In my department, there are 13 employees. We’ve worked as a team trying not to force the same people to be laid off for weeks,” Archacki said. “We’ve all agreed to take turns being laid off so one person isn’t completely burdened from the situation.” For example, my mom is home this week, and then next week, she will return to work and someone who worked this week will stay home.
As expected, COVID-19 has affected every doctor, nurse, and employee of the Meadville Medical Center in a way that’s almost incomprehensible. “The virus has uprooted everything and everyone in a way that no one has ever experienced, in my lifetime. There’s a lot of anxiety and worry with it,” Archacki said. “We don’t know who is walking around with the virus because the ones who are infected may not show any symptoms of the virus.”
“We know how one cough from an infected person can cause a healthy person to get extremely sick,” Archacki said. “We know that people might be unaware that they have the disease and can accidentally expose themselves to someone who has a weakened immune system or is more vulnerable to attracting the virus and infecting them,” she said.
Doctors and local nurses, like my mom, have experienced some of the most difficult moments of their professional career during this time of the Coronavirus. They are doing everything they can to ensure that people stay safe while spreading the message of how to prevent others from getting this awful disease.
“There’s so much unknown about this virus that it’s hard for me, my fellow nurses, and doctors to explain how we feel about the situation,” Archacki said. “We don’t know if this is a one-time ordeal or if this will occur yearly. The scariest part about this virus is that there is no treatment for it yet, and there may not be a treatment or a cure until the end of the year, we just don’t know.”
As an only child, I’m very grateful to have a woman like my mom who can provide me knowledge and love whether I’m healthy or sick. Of course, I worry about her and her overall health during this baffling crisis, but I’m just really proud of the vital work she is doing to ensure the health and safety of everyone around her.
Like all good moms, mine asked me to pass on some reminders:
Additional Facts of the Coronavirus | Tips on How to Stay Healthy
- Coronavirus can live airborne for three hours.
- Coronavirus can live on cardboard for 24 hours.
- Coronavirus loves to live in dark and wet places, like your basement.
- Coronavirus can live on surfaces for 72 hours.
- Stay out of close, confined areas as much as possible.
- Get in and out of stores quickly.
- Soap and water is the best way to kill the virus. Make sure you wash every little surface of your hands and wrists for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer if you don’t have soap and water.
- Maintain six feet between you and others, unless it’s somebody you live with.
- Disinfect tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, handles, and anything that’s touched frequently with Lysol, Clorox, alcohol-based spray and wipes containing at least 70% alcohol, bleach, etc.
- Stay at home, but enjoy the outside environment and the fresh air as much as possible.
- Keep your hands away from your face!
- If you’re sick, STAY HOME.
Please stay safe and stay healthy, everyone.
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Journalism Adviser, Saegertown Jr. Sr. High School