TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Melinda Young comes from a long line of nurses and veterans, and every day as a nurse at the VA, she thanks the men and women who served our country for their service. But now, one veteran recovering from the coronavirus is thanking her for her service.
The mental challenge for some healthcare workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic is growing larger every day. Young has been a nurse at the Topeka VA hospital for about five years. But having to rush veterans to the ER for coronavirus tests is something she never imagined she’d have to do.
“I don’t think this is anything that anybody would have imagined,” Young said.
That’s coming from the perspective of Young, who spent years working with cancer patients.
“Dealing with their turmoil of stress and death, and families being uprooted of moving into a hospital for a month this is just something that’s beyond what I’ve ever imagined dealing with,” Young said.
She spends her day calling veterans in northeast Kansas to check up on them. While the halls of the VA hospital are empty, her head is full wondering how she can do a better job.
“This is something I feel like as healthcare professionals we are never forgetting,” Young said.
Take veteran Jose Luna for example. Luna called Young thinking his allergies were flaring up or that he had a simple sinus infection. Even his wife Dolores didn’t even notice anything wrong.
But after having a conversation with him, Young thought it might be more than that. She said he needed to get to the ER for a coronavirus test. While he said he didn’t want to go immediately, she wouldn’t take no for an answer.
She used her own time to call his family for reinforcement, arranging him a ride that might have just saved not only his life, but others in his family. That’s because he tested positive.
After getting his results, they found out his wife and daughter had the virus too. Fortunately, they are all recovering. He said he’s 95% there.
“The other 5% is that I got to get out of the house,” said Luna. “And then I’ll be 100%. I got to cut my grass!”
So he says “thank you” to Young. And his wife is more than grateful for her too.
“I have my husband,” said Dolores Luna. “I don’t want to cry.”