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Heroes on the Frontlines

When we say "Superhero" what might come to mind is a courageous masked character in a outfit designed to best fight their opponents. Superheros have a great sense of responsibility. They want to help the world become a better place and are dedicated to protecting the public. The movies we watch portray Superheroes as having extraordinary abilities and powers - they fly, have superhuman strength, transform, and therefore, are not real. However, we'd like to introduce you to a few superheroes who are real, and share their stories.

You may not recognize these Superheroes from afar because their outfits aren't made of skintight spandex. In fact, these heroes may be covered head to toe in personal protective equipment (PPE). The masks they wear are not intended to conceal their identity, but to fight the spread of COVID-19. Meet Richard, John, Ralph, and Nate.

Name: Richard

Super Power: Registered Nurse

Why We Love Richard: Richard is such a gem. He works as a nurse in the cardiovascular intensive care unit at Foothills Hospital with patients facing heart surgery whether they are COVID positive or not. He's a man with a plan and he's ready to be deployed at any time if there is a surge in COVID patients and the COVID unit is overwhelmed. With a wife who is also a superhero nurse at Foothills as well as a 22 month son at home, Richard takes extra precautions and has a contingency plan in place if either his wife or himself contracted the virus and needed to self-isolate. He believes the best offense is a good defense and focuses on staying healthy, rested and taking vitamins to strengthen immunity. He is proud of the way Alberta has responded to the pandemic and is grateful for his team and all others on the frontlines. 

In chatting with Richard he recounted what he calls "the most unforgettable experience in his nursing career." One day while in the airport fixing his coffee, a former patient stopped him and thanked him for taking care of him during his heart attack years earlier. The patient remembered Richard working to revive him and was so grateful for his efforts. Richard reminds us that it shouldn't take a pandemic to recognize the lifesaving work that healthcare workers are doing every day. 

Name: John

Super Power: Environmental Services

Why We Love John: John VOLUNTEERED to be one of the superheroes working in the COVID assessment areas. Volunteered! Often these areas are short staffed because workers do not want to risk being exposed to the virus and after suiting up into the proper PPE for the full shift (head to toe coverings and masks) these isolated areas become extremely hot. John recounts the first day of the COVID response as the hardest; however, he has hit his stride and is now deep cleaning the patient assessment areas after every three patients while the nurses disinfect the high touch point areas after every patient between deep cleans. Our hospitals couldn't function without hard workers like John, and we are so grateful that he stepped up in our time of need!

Name: Ralph

Super Power: Registered Nurse

Why We Love Ralph: Ralph is a registered nurse in a Medical Oncology Unit. Most of his patients are people with cancer, and therefore at high risk for contracting COVID. To protect his patients and prevent the spread, Ralph and his colleagues go through a screening process every day before entering their work area. They answer questions about their possible exposure to the virus, health related questions to identify any symptoms, as well as have their temperature checked to ensure no one enters the unit with a fever. Ralph is one of the superheroes who tests patients on his floor if they show COVID symptoms, attends to these patients while they are isolated for the one to two days while the test results come back and diligently suits up in the proper PPE, which takes 2 to 3 minutes to dress in, each and every time he is called into their rooms. Thank you Ralph for your diligence and for taking care of our high risk populations!

Name: Nate

Super Power: Emergency Medical Call Taker & Volunteer Fire Fighter

Why We Love Nate: If you ever need an Ambulance on Vancouver Island, Nate might be the guy on the other end of the phone coaching you through your situation until the ambulance arrives. Nate is an Emergency Medical Call Taker for the Provincial Ambulance Services in British Columbia as well as a Volunteer Fire Fighter. He's the guy screening the calls and identifying whether our paramedics should take extra precautions and wear PPE when attending a call. If the call is serious enough to require firefighter assistance, Nate may also be on the scene! With more people staying at home, Nate tells us that he's seen an increase in home fires, but a decrease in car accidents and less alarms at businesses. It is people like Nate who keep our world turning, even when the world changes overnight. Thank you Nate for all you do!

We at Devon + Lang are so grateful for all of the efforts of our Frontline Heroes - doctors, nurses, emergency response, environmental services, essential services and all others who have been on the frontlines of this pandemic. Thank you for selflessly serving our communities. We think you are all Superheroes. 

Here are some tips from our superhero Richard on staying safe and stopping the spread:

  • Always wash your hands every time you touch something
  • Do not touch your face - especially in public places (ie. at the grocery or supermarket)
  • Don't handle things you don't need 
  • Don't experiment right now: buy the things/brands you are familiar with so that you limit your handling of items you may not decide to buy
  • Drink water to replenish your fluids
  • Shower everyday: proper hygiene is important
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze with your elbow: wash hands right away if you sneeze or cough into your hands
  • Take vitamins to boost the immune system
  • Always remember to keep social distance: especially when public places start reopening and people begin to be outside their houses more often
  • Be kind: If people choose to keep their distance - be kind. If people choose to stay home - be kind. If people choose to go outside and go to the park - accept that and be kind