Many of us are trying hard to stay current on the news updates around COVID-19. And while it is important to stay informed about the latest developments, it can feel overwhelming doing so, as many of the stories we hear are grim to say the least.
So how can we remain optimistic in the midst of these uncertain times? One way to do so is by thinking positively – a strategy that can help reduce stress and improve your overall health. Positive thinking does not mean barricading yourself from the outside world. Rather, it involves focusing on the good around you.
It may not always seem like it, but there are plenty positive stories unfolding around us all the time despite the current situation. During times of fear and uncertainty, the very best elements of humanity can triumph, as is the case in these good news stories we've witnessed here at Ochsner Health.
Local businesses pitch in
When New Orleans first began seeing the ill effects of the coronavirus in early March, many local businesses halted their regular operations to dedicate their time and resources to helping us ensure a steady supply of personal protective equipment to best care for our patients and our team.
From prototyping face shields to producing surgical masks
and hand sanitizer, companies such as Scale Workspace, GoodWood NOLA, NOLA Courture, Shake Your Bon Bon, PorchJam, NOLA Brewing and Big Easy Blends stepped up to assist us without hesitation.
The community comes together
Because social connection and communal celebration are so ingrained in our culture here in the New Orleans area, it can feel especially challenging to maintain physical distance from others. Which is why it has been so inspiring to watch our community come together to help fight the spread of the virus by staying home and wearing face masks when running essential errands.
In addition to making these adjustments and sacrifices, we’ve also watched as our community has come forward to help in other countless ways. Some have offered to run errands for their neighbors. Others have donated blood
to save the lives of complete strangers. Still others have donated food, coffee and even face mask extenders to help make our healthcare workers more comfortable.
Tributes to our healthcare heroes
Speaking of healthcare workers, these individuals have worked tirelessly to care for the needs of our community during a time when we need them most. We know our nurses, respiratory therapists, physicians, lab technicians, custodians and all those working behind the scenes are essential workers each and every day, so it has been great to see them recognized as the heroes that they are.
Oprah, Jimmy Kimmel, Jack Black, Blake Shelton and Miley Cyrus are just a few of the people who praised Ochsner’s team through messages on TV or their social media pages.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees paid tribute to Ochsner respiratory therapist Savannah Stuard by replacing his name with hers on his jersey.
Members of the community have left messages of gratitude and hope on signs in their windows and yards, as well as in the form of chalk art around our facilities.
After being in the ICU for 12 days, 57-year-old Kathleen Bennett was the 1,500th COVID-19 patient to be discharged from Ochsner. To mark the milestone, our team – in true New Orleans style – held a socially distant parade as Kathleen exited. To watch patients like Kathleen fight and overcome the coronavirus has been inspiring to say the least.
Of course, children, too, have been affected by the virus, and our littlest patients have been just as relentless. Juliet Daly, one of the first-known children in the United States to suffer from a relatively rare inflammatory condition that appears to be linked to COVID-19, is now making a full recovery after having two heart attacks.
Even a few of Ochsner’s own have recovered from the virus. Anesthesiologist Dominic Carollo, MD, for example, fell ill after volunteering to work in Ochsner’s dedicated COVID-19 unit, but returned to work as soon as he was eligible to do so. Similarly, nurse practitioner Mary Truxillos was determined to get back to helping her patients and assisting her colleagues once symptom- and fever-free after coming down with the virus.
As we continue to ramp up our testing efforts, learn more about the virus through a citywide prevalence study and provide all patients with the quality care they need, much still remains uncertain. One thing is clear, though: we will continue to be inspired and motivated by our relentless patients, our community and our team as we remain positive and overcome these challenging times. We have proved our resiliency in the past, and together, we will do it again.