Our Grassroots Manager in the northern part of the Eastern Region, Rebecca Scharler, had a medical emergency in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is her story of the safe quality care she got despite the pandemic.
"Emergency rooms are staffed with wonderful, extremely well-trained professionals, who can help evaluate you and your symptoms. I should know since I had emergency surgery at the end of March at the height of the stay-at-home order in Massachusetts.
On March 26th, I woke up at 2 am with severe pain in my abdomen and tears streaming down my face because the pain would not go away. I tried standing, sitting, and fetal positions to ease my pain while Google searching causes for abdomen pain. My spouse woke when he heard me sobbing and pacing. He knows that I have a high threshold for pain - I only took ibuprofen twice for my c-section and when I dislocated my fingers from falling on ice. He knew we had to go to the ER.
I was scared. I tried to convince myself that this is no big deal and the pain would just go away. I just needed 20 minutes for the ibuprofen to kick in. It’s just gas. This is happening in the middle of a pandemic the hospitals are dealing with more important patients than me. All of these statements turned out not to be true, especially dealing with more important cases than mine. The reality is hospitals are trained and staffed deal with everyone’s case from COVID-19 to emergency hernia surgery, which is what I needed to have done.
I spent 2 days in the hospital and my husband was not allowed to be with me. I was nervous and scared about surgery but also being exposed to COVID-19. Again, the wonderful staff including the janitorial and food service staff followed safety protocols. I was recovering well and didn’t fear exposure.
The AHA has heard from hospitals about the sharp decrease in cases of heart attacks and strokes. Doctors and nurses know that they are happening, but folks like myself are talking themselves out of calling 911 and going to the ER because they scared of being exposed to COVID-19. So, AHA launched a campaign called Don’t Die of Doubt. The site is full of resources to help take the fear out of calling 911 and going to the ER. Please… If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of heart attack or stroke, call 911."