Both of my parents were hospitalized with COVID-19. My dad was in ICU with a 10% chance of survival, and my mom was admitted several days later. Within two days, she was moved from a regular floor to PCU. The worry and stress were unbearable as my brother and I were interacting with different medical professionals about both parents.
At a very critical juncture, my brother and I had to indicate if we would authorize my mom going from a CPAP mask to a ventilator. I knew that she would not want that, but the decision was grueling. I wanted to be with my mom, and I wanted to talk with my mom. Because of the restrictions on visitors, this decision became even worse and more heart-wrenching. That evening, I spoke with Torrey who told me that she knew how difficult this was, but she needed to be an advocate for her patients. She explained in the most compassionate way that my mom was very clear in not wanting to be on a ventilator. She knew how difficult this was for us, but she also gave us the gift of first-person information that we could not receive ourselves at this challenging time.
In a follow-up phone call a day or two later, I called for an update and was lucky to get Torrey again who told me about my mom's difficult night - pulling off the CPAP mask multiple times and insisting on water. Torrey explained how dangerous it was for both of them to remove the mask, so she had to limit the exposure. I cried, and Torrey kindly told me, "It's okay, I cried tonight, too." I cannot imagine the horror of what these nurses are seeing every day. I can, however, imagine the horror of losing both parents within a 20-hour time span. The pain is immense. In the darkest of my days, Torrey Brubaker was a shining light who should be commended for her professionalism, her kindness, and her compassion.