Chicago Suburban Family

Family Wellness

Appreciating Medical Moms

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Most people who work in the medical field are selfless professionals that want to help others. With the recent Coronavirus outbreak, this quality is even more apparent as they risk their own life to do their job. That is why we wanted to highlight some moms who work in the medical field so that we can further appreciate all that they do.

Sarah Ofstedal Ramer, Physical therapist in home health
Sarah goes to the homes of patients and works with them on restoring independence by improving their mobility, usually after an illness or hospitalization. She works out of her car with all her supplies in the back seat.

She has been a physical therapist for 16 years and for the past two years in home health. She loves getting to know her patients. She helps them develop a plan so that they can live their lives outside their home. But due to the current suggestions of staying at home she likes going to their home, so they don’t have to leave and seek rehabilitation in the community and increase their risk of exposure.

Her current biggest challenge is managing her supplies. She has a strict system in her car to control the risk of cross-contamination. She must reuse masks because of the shortage, and home health agencies are struggling to get restocked. She says she isn’t sure where the state stands with assistance from the California government, but home health was not included in the package put together in Washington.

Another challenge she faces is that her job demands that she stands close to her patients or even physically assists them, putting them both at risk for possible transfer of the virus.

In relation to the Coronavirus she is trying to figure ways to be safe. She wants to serve her clients while protecting them and herself. Due to the lack of supplies, she is working as a team with her coworkers to make a system that helps stretch their resources, while not ignoring good infection control.

She made the difficult decision to be one of the PTs on staff that would treat patients the are/were positive for COVID. These patients will have gone through a crisis and will need extensive rehab to get their lives back. She struggles with wanting to take a break from work to spend time with her children because her husband is also an essential employee. But then she remembers how much she loves what she does, and that early rehab is important. People receiving PT cannot wait until they get the all-clear to work on their physical restoration.

At home she struggles with her kindergartener who started the homeschool process. Because she’s at work all day, and her daughter is in daycare, they can’t start school work until the end of the day. And also her husband has to work at night.

Sarah struggles with self-regulation to be patient with her daughter who is struggling with feelings of excitement, frustration, and sadness of not seeing her teacher and friends. All while she must make dinner, eat dinner, and then racing the clock before bedtime. But she has received support from her daughter’s teacher, and she says she knows that they’ll get through this together.

Jennifer Zeidberg, MD., Obstetrics and Gynecology doctor in private practice
As an OB/Gyn doctor, Jennifer in an ordinary week sees about 100-110 patients in her office. She delivers anywhere between 2-5 babies and 1-3 surgeries per week. Her patients are there to see her for obstetrical care, well woman exams, evaluations for abnormal bleeding, infections, contraception, and cancer.

Currently she is seeing less than 40 patients in a week and she is trying to space out necessary appointments such that no patient waits in the waiting area and so they can disinfect all patient areas between visits.

The most difficult part for Jennifer of parenting under COVID is seeing her special needs kid flounder when he’s been so very supported for so long. He thrives on routine and consistency and having all that removed, along with all the places that help care for him in an inclusive way is truly devastating for her.

Ordinarily her discussions with her patients are about them. How their health is, what’s happening surrounding preparing for their babies’ birth, or celebrating family events. Currently, Jennifer spends more time talking about COVID and how to best prepare for prevention without increasing anxiety. She has seen an increase in postpartum depression, especially around the loss of employment and/or insurance coverage. She talks a lot about the mythology being propagated on social media. Things like, “no… we don’t induce you automatically if you have COVID. And, no, if you have COVID and don’t  want to be separated from your newborn we don’t  remove your baby.” There is so much fear and anxiety and it breaks her heart to see this. She feels fortunate to live in a state and county that adopted guidelines to keep the numbers low.

COVID has had a huge impact on every aspect of her life, from home to work, even though she has not been directly touched by the virus.

Jordan Fredrickson , Registered Charge Nurse at a local nursing home
Jordan is a registered nurse who works in the skilled nursing wing of a local nursing home. She works with residents who need long term, high needs care or short-term care while recovering from an illness or injury. Jordan oversees the daily medical needs of the residents, including giving them medications, administering treatments, and monitoring any chronic medical conditions they may have.

Jordan has been a nurse for two years and in her current position for 6 months. She loves being able to take care of the elderly population and provide them with the loving, compassionate care that she would give her own parents or grandparents. Unlike a hospital with acute patients, she mostly works with long term residents, so it is easy for her to develop relationships and become attached to them.

A lot of the residents have families that live out of town and so she sometimes is like their second family. Jordan receives personal satisfaction and happiness knowing that she can make the lives of these people easier and brighter on a day to day basis One of the unanticipated difficulties is that the facility has been on a visitor lockdown and it’s hard for some of the residents to understand why their loved ones aren’t coming to see them anymore. So now medical providers are the residents’ only real connection to the outside world which places a lot of pressure on the staff who are caring for the residents physical and mental wellbeing.

Jordan tries to help facilitate phone calls, video chats and visits through windows as much as possible but there is an air of anxiety, especially for some of the residents who have memory issues and thrive in a structured, scheduled environment. It is stressful, but the staff is devoted to making the residents lives as normal and as happy as possible though and will continue to do so through this crisis.

Jordan’s biggest fear is getting infected and bringing it home to her family. She also worries that she may be an asymptomatic carrier and bring it into the facility. When not at work she is diligently sheltering in place to minimize contact with the outside world.

Her husband is a master’s degree student at NPS and their daughter goes to daycare on the days that she works. She worries about potential exposures there, but she does not have much of a choice and feels fortunate that daycare is still open.

Thank you Medical Moms – We want to say a huge thank you to all the medical moms that took the time to share their experience and continue to work in their professional despite possibly risking their own life. Also, thanks to all the other medical professionals. We truly appreciate all that you are doing.

…and, Happy Mother’s Day

By Cheryl Maguire

DuPage Medical Group

Shriners Hospitals for Children

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