As a former Los Angeles law enforcement officer, Allen comes from a long background of critical care and has a passion for pulling people out of a bad place in life. An ICU nurse at Montrose Memorial Hospital for less than six months before COVID-19 struck our community, he has been on the front lines caring for patients with the coronavirus since it emerged in our region. Allen works the night shift. Reflecting on the care he and his colleagues have given in the past year, one thing that stands out to him is the investment he makes into his patients.
“These aren’t just names and numbers on a sheet of paper,” Allen said. “These are people – and we take care of them and become part of their life. We learn what kind of things they like as they stay with us, and sometimes they stay with us for an extended period of time.”
“We had a gentleman from Oklahoma who happened to be traveling through,” he continues, “…and wound up in Montrose – short of breath, coughing – he couldn’t handle the symptoms he was having, so he came to the hospital. He tested positive for COVID. His symptoms were so severe and lasted so long – he was with us for six weeks. We all came to know him by name. My wife and I even got him a care package.”
Allen said he and his colleagues find themselves invested in the patients’ success and wanting them to get better.
“We’ve had a number of patients where we get to know them and their families very well. We get to know how it started, and how they dealt with it. We’ve gone through their ups and downs, we’ve seen them sometimes almost totally give up hope and rebound from that – and get better, and go home, and the tears and the gratitude of taking care of someone for an extended period of time. It’s been a blessing.”
“These are people I might see in Target tomorrow. These are someone’s family members I might see in the grocery store. These are friends and family. I’m going to take care of someone today who I might see in the store two weeks from now.”
It’s been several months now. All of the Montrose region have been impacted by COVID-19 – but many would have a hard time facing its harsh reality up close every day. Allen says he and his colleagues are doing great, but there are moments where they feel “raw.”
“It wears on us all,” he says, “We just want people to be better and want life to go back to normal.” Many in Montrose feel the same way.
Allen recommends people make wise choices. Take precautions when you are out, and if you are traveling, look and see if you are going somewhere that is experiencing a high number of COVID cases. ”Be aware of your surroundings. Make good decisions.”
Allen and other members of the ICU care team have had to be flexible and shift how they care for COVID-19 patients based on new information, new research and experience. Each day he comes to work, he comes ready to adapt to whatever is needed to ensure his patients have the best care possible. One word to describe his experience as a care provider during the pandemic? “Adapt.”
Thank you, Allen, for adapting. Thank you for being one of our Hometown Heroes!