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Texas RN Takes on NYC

Charlie Adams Shares Her Experiences Battling COVID-19 in Hard-Hit New York City

While the world watched in horror as the coronavirus ravaged New York City this spring, Registered Nurse Charlie Adams packed her bags and headed there to help.

Adams, who is Clinical Manager at Lone Star Endoscopy in Keller, said the trip was a leap of faith. “The Lord led me to do it,” she says. “I go where I’m needed.”

As of press time, New York City had recorded more than 142,000 Covid 19 cases with nearly 11,000 deaths related to the illness.

Charlie spent three weeks as a medical/surgical nurse at Elmhurst Hospital, which was inundated with patients. She began the Facebook Page “TX RN Takes on NYC” to share a daily journal of her experiences, which, she says, were beyond what she imagined. That Facebook page has garnered more than 4,600 followers.

The following are excerpts from Charlie’s Facebook journal.

March 29, 8:08 p.m.

For those of you that don't know, I leave tomorrow with four of my bad ass co-workers to NY. We are joining the COVID-19 emergency response team for 3 weeks. I will be posting daily to keep all of you in the loop. Enjoy the ride with me.... this is going to be one heck of a roller coaster.

March 31, 4:47 p.m.

Today is day 2 in NYC and I’m getting settled in as much as possible. Hotel is nice, but that’s about it… It’s sad to see this beautiful city in the state that it’s in now. The streets are full of military personnel, police, and people wearing masks. They are building pop-up clinics all over the city to house the overwhelming number of sick patients. The hospitals are at their breaking point. Yesterday the line was 2 hours long just to get into an ER. The morgues are overflowing and they have run out of body bags. They have brought in refrigerated 18 wheelers and are filling them with COVID victims wrapped in sheets. I haven’t even started my assignment and my heart is already breaking for the people of NYC. Please pray for the medical personnel and the citizens that have already fallen victim to this awful virus. Looking forward to my real 1st day!

April 1, 7:43 p.m.

Day 3:

I have been assigned to my hospital.
I must clarify, they call it Med- Surg but it’s full of ICU patients. They usually have a 29-bed ICU and they currently have 64 patients and planning on turning PACU into a 34 bed unit tomorrow. This is not including the patients on Med- Surg that should be in ICU. They have started placing a DNR/DNI on patients without consent. There is no time for consent! It’s not an understatement to say the majority, if not all, of the patient population has COVID. The number of codes being paged overhead and patients not making it hour by hour, is something out of a nurse’s nightmare.

I knew it was bad when part of my orientation was about how to place a body in a body bag. I am witnessing firsthand that the nurses are being worked to the bone.
But they keep going.
They have pressure ulcers on their faces from N95 masks and goggles.
But they keep going.
PPE is scarce.
But they keep going.

Am I hearing anyone complain or give up? NO! I hear how grateful they are that we are here to help. Don’t get me wrong - nurses are leaving - but there are many reminding me that I’m on a mission. I am here to be our Lord’s Servant and help in any way I can for the patients and the staff. Thank you for all the blessings and prayers. Keep them coming!

April 3, 7:15 p.m.

Day 5:

Welp ... today I was just grinding. Doing what I could and helping where I can! Not much to report so I want to take this time to say Thank You!
I’m blown away with the prayers and support! Who knew little ole me could get such a following! I am definitely humbled and feeling the love. So THANK YOU!

April 5, 7 p.m.

Day 7:
NYC, I think you have peaked. I pray you have peaked!
I don't have the words to describe how hard today was.

It's not right, when you have to hold a patient's hand while they are being intubated.
It's not right, that they are alone, without family by their side. It's not right, that these young patients are passing away and leaving their families.
For 12 hours today, it was one right after another.

These are things nurses during this time will never forget. I will never forget!

If nurses gave up...
if I gave up...
WHO would hold their hand?

So many nurses go home daily... I want to give up so badly but I know I need to stay! As long as I can... I will stay... God knows his plan for me!

The Lord blessed me with these thoughts so I'll just "keep running"!

April 6, 8:06 p.m.

Day 8:

We discharged two people home today! DISCHARGED!! We clapped and cheered as they walked out!
AHHHH! I can't even tell you how happy it made every nurse on that floor. Lots of happy tears!
And if that wasn't enough - we blasted a prayer over the intercom to the entire floor. Truly a powerful moment!

It's so nice that GOD knows exactly what you need at the exact time!

THEN... I come back to my hotel and have a package full of sweet cards and goodies!! I could NOT have done this journey without the support of my people at home, and it makes me so comforted to know they are right beside me every single day!

April 8, 8:25 p.m.

Day 10:

… I’m definitely feeling the load of all of this virus. The deaths, the codes, the intubations, the discharges, the families, fellow nurses, the doctors working tirelessly: we are feeling it ALL.

I can’t tell you how many codes I heard paged today, and there were a lot of intubations, BUT- the number of COVID admits have decreased dramatically so that’s a plus!

April 10, 8:58 a.m.

Day Whatever - (Day 12):
Exhausted is an understatement.
The emotional exhaustion is just as bad - if not worse.
Just as the news predicted, and you have seen from other nurses here in NYC, a lot of our patients are passing away. I have reported it before, but I think it’s finally catching up to me!

It’s very frustrating to see the same treatment with the same results. Can anyone just try something different already!

On top of that, there doesn’t seem to be any comfort measures for these patients. These patients are fully awake and scared!! We are trying our best to keep them comforted in probably the scariest time of their life!

As I write this, I’m headed back to the hospital and praying for miracles! I’m praying to stay focused and do what I can to be there for my patients.
Jesus take the wheel!!

April 11, 7:19 a.m.

Day 13:

… Maybe it’s in light of Easter Weekend, but I don’t have too much to report - just new prayers.

I’m praying differently these days. I’m now praying for protocol changes on how we treat Covid patients.
We know that what we are doing is NOT working.

So, today I pray the Lord gives us clarity and guides us with new treatment plans. Plans we can share with others.
I pray that in these plans, comes better comfort measures for our patients.

April 12, 7:03 p.m.

Day 14:
Today was a day!
Patients are very hypoxic and there for confused. Patients are just as scared and crazy as we are ... spit and pee on the nurses, are the norms these days. HOWEVER, no intubations or codes, so I call that a win!!

Missing my family today! Face timing for Easter is just not the same. But I’ve loved every minute!
The patients don’t have their family with them either, so I don’t have any right to complain. We are having Easter together! HE rose for ALL of us!

April 14, 8:26 a.m.

Day 16:

It’s bitter sweet to say, today will be my last day.
I’m mentally, emotionally, and physically spent.
I need rest and I need to see my family.
I will be so sad to say goodbye to my B5 family at Elmhurst and Krucial girls! I’m terrible with goodbyes! I don’t even want to think about it.

I have such mixed feelings about leaving. I feel like I’m letting people down for leaving, but I’m not sure I would be at my best for patients and coworkers in the exhausted state I’m in.

I’m brought to tears thinking about how grateful I am that the Lord trusted me with this mission. Even though, it was one of the hardest journeys I have ever been on, (I’ve been on a lot) I feel so blessed with the beautiful souls I have met, the conversations I have had, and the hands I’ve held along the way … 

April 15, 4:24 p.m.

Flying home today gives me time with my own thoughts.
I keep picturing my patients that have passed, replaying the horrible situation myself and other healthcare workers found ourselves in, and all the things that I wish would have went differently.

I commend the nurses for consistently fight and advocating for their patients. And let me tell you, those NY nurses know how to fight!!
I think about all the family members that had to say goodbye on speaker phone or if lucky over face time. That is not a proper goodbye. My heart breaks for all the patients and the family members that are victim to this horrific situation. My heart breaks for the nurses that call that their everyday life. I hope the hospital systems really put some effort into their employees mental health, because they need it desperately. No one will come out of this the same.

April 18, 8:41 a.m.

Blessings I will never take for granted again...

Holding Ben’s hand
Cuddles from my fur babies
My own bed!
A hot meal
The power of prayer from family, friends and people who don’t know me.
Walking my dog
Happy hours with my work fam
Family dinners
Late night laughs and dancing in the kitchen with my tribe
Going to church
Hugs! All the hugs!!

There has been a lot of tragedy that has come out of COVID-19 but there is always silver lining to be found. I hope we all transition into our new normal remembering the things that truly matter.

To read Charlie’s entire Facebook journal of her experiences in New York, visit