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Hometown Healing: Vidant MICU nurse asks for love and motivation to get through pandemic

Myra Thompson in Vidant’s Medical Intensive Care Unit helps lead a team of nurses on the front lines of the fight.
Published: Feb. 24, 2021 at 9:11 AM EST
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - COVID-19 is a part of life every minute of every day for nurses.

The nurse manager of Vidant Medical Center’s Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) says it takes more than being a hero to work in their department.

”We can’t get away from it,” says Myra Thompson, who is the manager of patient care services in Vidant’s MICU. “It doesn’t go away. It is in my head all the time, whether I’m here or not.”

Thompson oversees the MICU.

“We don’t get to see our family, we don’t get to go out of town to visit our loved ones because we put them at risk if we do,” she says. “I don’t ever want to see my mom in a hospital bed here and I don’t ever want to be the one who gave her COVID because I work in this unit. I couldn’t live with myself.”

We’ve heard stories from healthcare heroes throughout the pandemic, but read Thompson’s words:

“We deal with this day in and day out,” Thompson says. “We have families too and we have things we are worried about at home and all kinds of other things and we come here, we are expected to put that aside and do what we do. It’s more than being a hero for working in this unit.”

Day in and day out, Thompson says treating COVID patients and being in this environment almost does not feel real. So much so, it is hard to even paint a picture to show how intense it is for those who doubt the severity.

“I say this as respectfully as possible, they have no idea what they’re talking about,” she says. “Until you come in here and see the people that are dying, there are no words.”

When the work is so taxing with no end in sight, these nurses look for any escape they can find for their own benefit. Thompson says they have created a tranquility room where they can have a minute to get away from the action.

“In the MICU we have to laugh,” she says. “It’s either laugh or cry sometimes and sometimes we just choose to laugh together to get through the day. We’re a fun bunch and I’m thankful we have each other because that’s what gets us through.”

They notice your support. Not only do they notice it, but they embrace it and it pushes them forward.

“Just love us,” she says. “Motivate us. It’s the hardest work that we’ve ever done, and we do it well. Just don’t give up on us.”

One of their biggest pushes is to be a part of the solution.

“Please wear your mask,” Thompson says. “Please wash your hands. Please stay home unless you have to be out. Just keep loving and supporting us.”

As of Monday, there are 104 people in the hospital with COVID-19 across the Vidant Health system.

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