LOVELAND, Colo. (KDVR) — As COVID-19 cases surge, local health care workers are having to sacrifice more and more to be there for us on the front lines.
Michael Halaska would have never guessed he’d be spending his 31st birthday working a 15-hour shift in the emergency room at the UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies last week.
“No, that was not the ideal way to spend it, but that’s kind of how the pieces fell and we went with it,” Halaska said.
Halaska says this is probably the busiest he’s been in his entire life. He’s an emergency department nurse fighting on the front lines of a growing pandemic with a virus many could be carrying without knowing it.
“You can get exposed to anyone with COVID at any time,” Halaska said, adding, “We have to treat every patient as they have COVID when they come into the front door to start with so you never get to take a break, you just go, go, go.”
Halaska’s wife Ciarra sent us selfies of her husband wearing different masks that left marks on his face from his shifts recently.
“When you are having to put on your N-95 or your respirator and then the gowns that don’t breathe and are impermeable to everything for the 10 to 15th time that hour and you haven’t sat down and you haven’t had a drink since you don’t remember last, you just get totally worn out,” he said.
Halaska became a first-time father six months ago. While he treats on the front line, Halaska says he misses his son Ashton and his wife Ciarra.
“It’s really really hard, I get to see him for about 15 to 20 minutes in the morning before I leave,” he said.
Halaska says the sacrifices are worth it seeing the appreciation from the community he treats and the hard work of his co-workers pushing on right next to him.
“Just because this is the 15th COVID patient that you have seen for the day, it doesn’t mean that you can’t not make a difference in your lives and their families lives that you were able to get them back home to their family, particularly for Thanksgiving or even Christmas at this point.”