Photo credit: Veronica Carter
Nurses are rethinking their career choices all across the country. The stress and workload in normal times is already extreme, throw in the pandemic and it’s sent first responders everywhere into no-man’s land. Some are leaving the profession, others say they can’t imagine doing anything else. Coleen Lysaker is one of those nurses. She’s been an RN for three decades and says she was born to help people. Her husband Bob, nominated her for our KXL Everyday Hero. He says she does what she does because she cares.
Here’s the letter he sent in:
“My wife, Coleen, has been a registered Nurse for over 30 years. When COVID first hit, she was afraid, as she had a couple of ‘underlying conditions’. At that time, she was a territory lead nurse for Hospice, covering from Dallas to Hillsboro to Salem area, even had a patient out near the Detroit area. She put on over a hundred miles most days.
When all the wildfires hit the area where her patient lived, near Detroit, they were told to evacuate. The patient was a woman whose husband was in a wheel chair, and had no relatives or friends close by. She drove there through the smoke, and visible flames at times, and was so scared. She said she had never been so scared and just wanted to turn around. Well, of course she got her patient and her husband back to a motel near Portland, and to safety.
In the fall of 2020, she was the only Hospice Nurse to work 2 assisted living facilities with multiple COVID patients, and most of the staff was out with COVID too, so she did extra work, spending all day there, 10-12 hours a couple times.
Last fall, she worked a new position, the nurse in an assisted living facility in Sheridan. She is the only registered nurse there, and with over 50 patients, she is busy. November of 2021, a couple months after she started, a few of the patients there got sick. She tested negative on a Friday, then got a booster, and helped deliver boosters to the patients, then tested positive a few days later. She had some tough days, having underlying conditions, but was back to work after 10 days.
Two weeks ago, she injured her back, making it impossible to put weight on her right leg. Doctor told her to stay home for 2 weeks, even wrote a note for the employer, and was to seek physical therapy. Well, even though she could not drive, she went back to work after only a few days, after and we bought her a cane, walker and electric scooter. She uses the scooter at work and leaves it in her office.
So now, 2 weeks later, today was the first day she could drive on her own. Then she calls me from work and said she had something to ask me. A patient of hers died a couple months ago, and had a small dog. Her husband is still there, but can’t really care for the dog properly, and it is skinny and in bad shape. So she asked/told me she was bringing it home to care for it and get it healthy. She said she was going to ask me, but was planning on bringing it home anyway.
She is injured, using a walker, cane and scooter, and still is rescuing this dog today. She wanted to be there for her patients needs, and most of them are more mobile than she is at this time.
This Hero has needed some help from me recently, but only so she could continue being a Hero.”