For it to be the busiest airport in in the world, Sansone witnessed Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport almost empty.
“To think that usually you’re having to bump into people here,” said Sansone, “It’s a ghost town.”
She worked five straight nights during her first week in New York, documenting her experience through a video diary.
“The unit I’m working on is all COVID patients. There’s not a person on there who’s not COVID-positive or wasn’t at some point," she said about the course of one of her shifts.
Sansone is working in a Med-Surg unit. Medical-surgical nurses typically care for several patients at one time. They administer medication, educate families, communicate with their healthcare team members, as well as discharge and admit patients. Sansone said she is currently caring for five COVID-19 patients.
“They were about to intubate the patient, and he did not make it,” said Sansone, “That was on my first shift, and I just thought the rest of my shifts were going to be like this.”
More than 1,100 New Yorkers died from COVID-19 during Sansone’s first five days in the state.
“I remember I was sitting at my desk, and the body rolled by on the stretcher to go to the morgue, and I’m thinking, ‘That’s just joining all the other bodies down there,'" she recalled.
"They have a tent outside the hospital where they take all the dead bodies before they get picked up by these trucks, because they don’t have enough room in the morgue. It’s not normal for people to be dropping like flies like that,” said Sansone.
She welcomed her days off as she described her body beginning to feel the stress of the job.
“We’re told to go in and out of the room as abrupt as we can, to protect ourselves and reduce our exposure as well,” said Sansone.
On her day off, her uncle and cousins who live in New Jersey came for a surprise visit. They let her borrow a car to use during her stay.
“I just didn’t realize how much human touch and hugs matter,” said Sansone, recalling the moment.
She is now back to work, caring for her patients and doing her part to help fight the pandemic.
“I definitely feel like I’m where I need to be. I’m where God wants me to be,” said Sansone, “I’m just going to keep on keeping on and just shedding my light.”