Shelly, Bay County

Storyteller: Ryley Hart

Shelly is a radiographer at Bay Special Care with her main responsibility is taking x-rays for patients. She is 53 years old and lives in Bay City, Michigan. She did not hear, or at least remember hearing, about COVID when it was affecting China but instead recalls hearing about it first when it came to the U.S in February, 2020.

Once things picked up and the nation went into quarantine, her job became more chaotic. Since she is a healthcare worker she stayed working from the start, seeing sick patients and firsthand the severity of the virus. Her work became more stressful with this added risk and, in a way, less eventful. She wasn’t seeing as many patients as she was used to, but every one of them had a chance of being infected.  

Another big reason for added stress is the increase in hours. She was willing to keep working through the pandemic, but others were not, so she had to fill in. This made her realize how selfish and ignorant some people can be, using this nationwide tragedy as an excuse to call off of work for a few weeks because of all of the stress, but inadvertently putting it all on to other coworkers.

In the midst of all the pandemonium, her mom, who was in and out of nursing homes for the previous two years, passed away. She knew for a while that her health was in decline, with frequent spinal leakage that had to be treated all the way down at duke, and a rapidly declining memory. The worst of it all was that she was unable to have family by her side.

Shelly never really focused on sensory details, so when asked about them she had to pause and think. She said that masks make it harder to breathe and also make her break out and sweat. She added joking that you also don’t have to smell people when you’re wearing one.

She said that COVID has taught her a plenty of things but among the biggest is patients. She also stated, “politics has way too much say so in society,” this is because of all the rules and regulations put in place by the government.

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