There are countless essential workers who, for the past 2-plus months, have gone above and beyond to take care of others. Back in April we asked our followers on Instagram to nominate an essential worker to receive a simple gift from AQUIS. We were blown away and humbled by the response and the number of nominations, over 1,000.
We wanted to give a special thank you to the healthcare workers who put their hearts into everything they do, every single day — caring for COVID-19 patients, connecting families with loved ones when they are not able to be together, cheering one another on with TikTok dances, shout outs and overall emotional support. Thank you to the grocery store clerks who have shown up since day one to help all of us stock our pantries and prepare to shelter in place, who have patiently and cheerfully checked out person after person, working extra-long hours and managing endless requests for “essentials”. Thank you to the teachers who brought their classrooms online, seemingly overnight, adapting to a new situation as they always do and being there for their students, virtually, emotionally and sometimes showing up at their homes, to sit in the driveway at a distance, and solve math problems together.
The list of essential workers is a long one. The past months have been long as well. Each essential worker has taught us what we are grateful for. They have shown us compassion and humanity. They have taught us a measure of patience we never knew we had, and they have taught us to appreciate the people who take care of us all, every single day, in big and small ways.
We are humbled to share a few of their stories. Meet these brilliant human beings...
I'm Shruti Sakhuja. I grew up in Houston, TX but am currently in St. Louis finishing up my pediatrics residency training at St. Louis Children's Hospital/WashU. This pandemic has been an incredibly difficult time for everyone, everywhere, and unfortunately, it's far from being over.
Over the last couple months, I've mostly been working in the Pediatric ICU, caring for critically ill children including patients with COVID-19. This experience has been challenging at times, as we still know very little about this novel virus and many of the treatments out there are still in the experimental phases. It's also been sad at times, as many of my patients have not been allowed to have visitors, some require high levels of medical intervention including having a breathing tube placed and requiring medications to help support their blood pressure. A few of my patients have even passed from the illness. It's been exhausting at times, particularly when having to wear PPE for entire 14-15 hour long shifts. But it's also been joyful at times. One of my happiest memories working in the hospital during this pandemic is the day that we discharged home our very first pediatric patient who had been admitted with COVID-19.
There is so much tragedy that has occurred over the last 3-4 months, but I like to focus on some of the positives. For once, the world is united against a common enemy. People all over the U.S. have come together to give back to their communities, to help their elderly neighbor or immune-compromised friend get groceries, and to do their part by staying home as much as possible and wearing masks to protect themselves and others so that all essential workers can continue to do their part in providing essential services. We've all spent more time than ever catching up with our loved ones over phone or video calls, and spending uninterrupted time at home with our families.
My hope is that we continue to spread the positives that have come out of this pandemic, and that we don't reverse all the progress we've made towards fighting this illness.
Hi! I'm a physical medicine and rehab physician working in South Florida. Some days are of course more difficult than others work-wise, and others bring more joy than sorrow. This pandemic has brought on plenty of both types of days and I am hoping for more of the latter as we move forward. Aside from work, I am SO grateful for all of the random acts of kindness that have resulted from this pandemic and only hope that it is something our society is able to continue long after COVID-19!
RACHEL FRIEDMAN was nominated by her sister:
Hi! I wanted to nominate my sister Rachel for your giveaway. She has been working the front lines for the past few weeks in one of the busiest hospitals in New York! She’s amazing and truly has not taken a break since this virus started! She goes above and beyond for all her patients, and has been an invaluable source of help not just for her hospital, but volunteering to make herself available to all our friends, family, and community as a whole! I just want to have a chance to show her how much we all love her and appreciate her courage, strength, and perseverance through these difficult times! Thank you so much!
What Rachel said:
While everyone else is quarantined, I’m not sure that I’ve had a couple of minutes to myself since this pandemic started. There have been so many moments. From working in a tent wearing layers of PPE to seeing families as they shout words of encouragement via FaceTime. From swabbing 100’s in a makeshift “covid clinic” to hugging and holding hands as a “fill-in” for loved ones. From flipping patients onto their stomachs, to setting up monitors in rooms so families can virtually be there. Saying viduy (end of life prayer) more times than I’ve ever wanted too. Volunteering to see patients in their homes on oxygen, with the hope of not-overwhelming hospitals.
Last week I got to celebrate the 1,000th covid patient being discharged from my hospital. This week, I watched young children seeing and saying goodbye to their young mom for the last time. This week, I also surprised a patient with a birthday party. We decorated her hospital room as her husband played the piano, and watched videos of her family and friends sending her birthday and get well wishes. Working 7 days a week, staying well after my 12 hour shifts, these past weeks have been full of challenges and uncertainties. I’m so grateful to be surrounded by some of the kindest and most resilient NYC RNs. HAPPY BELATED NURSES WEEK to every superhero! I have never been more proud to be a nurse 💕
CONNIE ZEE was nominated by her sister:
I would like to nominate my sister. She's a medical case worker at a county hospital. She is in one of the many under-appreciated healthcare professionals that is actively working with COVID-19-positive patients. She ensures patients have a place to be discharged to, while decreasing the risk of community exposure. This is exceptionally critical for the homeless populations as many of the shelters are closed and there is a tremendous lack of resources for them to obtain access to continuing healthcare, food, water, and sanitary living conditions. I can't even begin to emphasize the passion she has to risk her life to keep us safe. She truly cares about our community and I can't appreciate her enough for all she does!
What Connie said:
I am a medical case worker for a County Hospital in Los Angeles and work with Covid-positive patients. My primary role is to ensure patients have a safe setting to be discharged to in order to decrease the risk of exposure in the community. I mainly work with the homeless population as many shelters are closed and tremendously lack resources for food, water and healthcare access. I am also 5 months pregnant!
I have been struggling to distance-teach high school art. It has been very stressful and time consuming to figure out, but I am trying to do my best to support my students. At the beginning of the quarantine I fostered a shelter pet for a few weeks since I was home. She has since been adopted by someone else. My mental health, sleep, and motivation levels change from day to day. I've been trying to make time to take care of myself through meditating, working out and journaling. Remembering all the things that I'm grateful for has also helped. Even through this hard time I have found that I am grateful for things that I took for granted before, like being able to be in nature and items being in stock in the store. It has been motivating to see companies like AQUIS appreciate essential workers. Taking a bath or shower and then wrapping my hair up in an AQUIS towel is a great way for me to reset my mindset.
MADELINE COTTO was nominated by her sister:
For being the most serving and loving person I know! She is always positive despite these crazy circumstances, and every time she goes into work at the ER, she truly forgets about herself and does all she can to help those people who need her 💛 she’s the best!
What Madeline said:
My name is Madeline. I am currently a scribe in the ER, we are the first assistant to the doctors. Over the past two years my hospital has battled a mass shooting (Borderline), the Thomas Fire, and now Covid-19. I cannot tell you how bad your face hurts and the nasal congestion that comes with wearing the N95 through the entirety of our shift. I still love my job and the fact that I am able to help others, I am grateful for the team I work with, they make going to work so much more enjoyable!!!
I am working as a scribe because I am applying to medical school this year and have needed to save up money for applications, this job has given me the opportunity to see how medicine works during unprecedented times and I am grateful for all the support from my community!
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to all of the essential workers for all that you do for others. Big love, team AQUIS