Vanderbilt nurse shares COVID intensive care unit experience in diary entry

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NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WKRN) – Gabriella Falco is a critical care nurse who is a passionate journalist and uses the pages to cover her life’s experiences.

After volunteering in the COVID ICU unit at Vanderbilt University Medical Center for two months last spring, she learned that no matter what you’re going through, you’re never really alone.

Instead of falling asleep after a long, exhausting day at work as she usually did, she stayed up late the night of her last shift to write about an experience she had with a patient. “Even though I was exhausted, the emotions were there in the most intense form, and I thought it was important to honor it that way too and write it down the way I felt,” said Falco.

Falco wrote “To Live & Die Alone,” which details her raw emotions and feelings after holding an iPad for an hour for a patient to zoom in with her family, then held her hand as she took her last. breath. She recently shared the entry on her Instagram and the hospital reposted it on Facebook.

“Even if only one person read it and felt like they had someone else to connect with and relate to, that would be a healthy thing to share, so I just thought that in instead of typing it in and making it more personal, I just took pictures of what I wrote, ”she said.

Gabby has worked at VUMC for seven years and works in an elective procedures lab. When surgeries were put on hold at the start of the pandemic, she decided to work with COVID patients.

“Unfortunately, all of the patients I have had except one ended up dying and these were people in their 40s and 40s with no previous issues,” Falco said. “The fact that it really happened so quickly, I mean you would see people sitting down and talking that morning and at the end of the day they were on a ventilator.”

She says she grew up as a military kid and her mother has been deployed countless times. Falco believes it helped her prepare for her career. Having to learn to always feel connected and to feel loved by the most important people in your life. Gabby wanted to write to honor the patient she bonded with and remind others of an important lesson she learned.

“I think we all felt really lonely at times during COVID and didn’t see our loved ones, especially with people in hospital,” Falco said. “I owe this family for reminding me of her because I just heard them constantly tell her how much they loved her and that they are still with her. It’s a nice reminder that as long as we have people who care about us in our lives and take the time to tell them, we’re never alone during all of this.


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