Rhonda, Chippewa Township, Drummond Island

Storyteller: Jordan Hartley

Rhonda is a 56 year old mother of two, she currently lives and works on Drummond Island, Michigan as a physical therapist assistant, but she also does home health care and out-patient clinic. She travels often, but still has a strict code the hospitals have put in place to keep employees, and patients safe.

Rhonda was one of many affected by COVID-19 and was laid off from her job that she had been doing for 33 years without interruption. She was temporarily put on unemployment, but states that she went nearly 4 weeks without a paycheck, which pushed her scarily close to not being able to pay for items she needed to survive.

Rhonda frequently travels back and forth from Sault Ste. Marie Michigan to Drummond Island, and visits home health patients along the way. She says that the hospital that she works for has enforced strict rules on how she can perform home health. She must wear eye protection, an n95 standard mask, face shield, a standard lab coat, and protection for her feet and hands. Rhonda says this is the most stressful part of her job at the moment. Having to prepare to enter homes out in her car by putting on multiple layers of protection, and also having to carry many safety items in her car.

Rhonda has been directly affected by COVID-19. She says this pandemic has put an unimaginable amount of stress on her and her family. She knows that if she continues to practice her job safely then her family won’t be affected, however there is still worry. She can’t be there for her family outside of her household, but she keeps in check with them by calling them multiple times a week. It helps keep her calm when she is able to speak to her other family members and find out that they are all healthy and at low risk of infection.

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