Megan Gulbrandsen’s was supposed to walk down the aisle on May 2, 2020. But instead, she was walking room to room caring for COVID-19 patients as a nurse in the Progressive Care Unit at Jewish Hospital.
“I work on the Progressive Care Unit, essentially a step-down-ICU at Jewish,” she explains. “However, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, my unit has been converted into COVID central alongside the Intensive Care Unit. Between the two of us we are taking most of the COVID patients.”
Becoming COVID central has meant many changes for Gulbrandsen, and a lot of learning.
“There are always many new things one must learn during change,” she says. “We had to learn more about how to operate as an ICU by going through training, taking care of ventilators, how to give out medications for those who are ventilated, learning how to swab for COVID, how to operate other various machines, drawing blood, and other responsibilities to take care of our patients.”
Gulbrandsen says the changes were challenging at the onset of the pandemic but the frontline heroes at the Jewish Hospital have a better handle on how to care for COVID-19 patients as they flatten the curve.
“The hardest part at the beginning was just staying on top of the ever-changing information from work and always reading my emails,” she says.
Although this time has been stressful for her, including the postponement of her wedding, Gulbrandsen says that she’s been taking everything day by day and is mindful about staying positive in the face of this adversity.
“There are a lot of things I’m doing to stay positive during this time of gloom including finding enjoyment in my off days with my family and dogs, getting out and enjoying nature, and really just enjoying time for myself – like reading and baking,” she says.
Once the time has passed and we find a new normal, Gulbrandsen says that there’s a very important lesson she’s going to walk away with. “I’m going to just enjoy what we have in life, enjoy the relationships we have,” she says. “Just living each day to the fullest, never taking anything for granted.”
She’s now looking forward to walking down the aisle on August 1.
Editor’s Note: This feature is part of a special “Hearts to Heroes” issue dedicated to individuals across the Tri-State working on the front lines to provide for our community. Readers nominated and our editorial board selected those included in this week’s issue. Everyone featured is also receiving a heart-filled care package of self-care products, yummy treats, and gift cards to several local shops and restaurants. Many thanks to AT&T and Leslie Young, Vice President, EVER Skincare, Stella & Dot Family of Brands for making this effort possible.