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ICU nurse talks about overwhelmed hospital staff: ‘I don’t know if there are words’

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It’s been nearly two years, and Kadee Klafka is still trying to wrap her mind around COVID-19.

“I don’t know that there are words,” Klafka said.

Klafka is a nurse at the Indiana University Health Ball Hospital intensive care unit in Muncie. Despite her efforts to save people, she says some things are just out of her control.

“A patient was intubated two weeks ago. I got the news he died last night at 2 o’clock in the morning,” Klafka said.

In September, Klafka took to Facebook and wrote an open letter called “From a Nurse’s Eyes.” So far, it’s attracted more than 71,000 shares, 30,000 reactions, and 11,000 comments.

“I just felt like, at the time, what people needed to hear was the real-life stories of the 50 nurses working on my unit holding the hands of dying people, and that is still happening,” Klafka said.

She also recounted a patient she referred to as Henry whose health took a nosedive in the post.

“It is hard to stand there with your friends and co-workers to be the last people with them before they take their last breaths,” Klafka said.

She coupled the post with pictures of herself and two other nurses after a 12-hour shift.

“That was an effort to try to express our grief and a way we can share it with our social media following. We are wanted to show people what that grief looks like [in the hospital rooms]. That was us after a long shift ending in death,” Klafka said.

She added that health care workers have “become close in this time of tragedy, hardship, and chaos.”

Many front-line workers share a similar experience. Klafka is only hoping her voice will sound the alarm and help emphasize the importance of vaccinations.

I wish that I could wear a camera and share that with some of my family members and others who think it won’t happen to them,” Klafka said.