From New York City to Oshkosh, Wisconsin

From New York City to Oshkosh, Wisconsin

“It was the strangest feeling in the world to be dropped off at the Milwaukee airport in early April, with a one-way ticket, not knowing when I would be home again,” Paula Kasuboski says.

As a nurse practitioner at Aurora Medical Center in Oshkosh’s Urgent Care, Kasuboski is currently using the knowledge she learned during a 5-week stint in New York City, where she both tested and treated the metropolis’ sickest COVID-19 patients.

“In Brooklyn, the buildings are so close together that there isn’t room for a ‘drive thru’ testing site, so what they set up was a ‘walk thru’ site,” Kasuboski says. “People literally lined up and down the sidewalk, walked into the waiting room of the clinic, were tested standing up and walked out through another door.”

Though that was months ago, she can’t help but note the parallels between patients’ experiences with the virus between the two cities, nearly 1,000 miles apart.

“Unfortunately, the hardest part is the frustration from patients that there is very little that can be done to manage the symptoms, other than time,” she explains. “There is lots of fear and anxiety that comes with the COVID diagnosis, because patients don’t know how bad their symptoms will get and if they will end up hospitalized.”

Being first-handedly exposed to these types of emotions daily can be draining, however, as health care workers are inclined to be heavily invested in their patients’ care and wellbeing.

She gets by in large part because of her unwavering family support and stress-reducing pastimes like exercising, cooking, spending time with her mini donkeys (one of which was born while she was helping out in NYC), dreaming of post-pandemic vacation plans (including her daughter’s postponed 2022 wedding in Jamaica), and reflecting on what it meant to be able to lend a helping hand every day – both in NYC and in Oshkosh.

“My last flight was full of nurses and providers who were doing what I was doing: Going out to provide help, in whatever way we could,” Kasuboski says. “Going to help a city in need is the best thing I have ever done, personally or professionally. If ever any health care professional has the opportunity to do the same, embrace it and don’t look back! You will not regret it.”

With her NYC experience behind her and looking down the road to the hopeful end of the pandemic, Paula encourages the public to cross the finish line triumphantly together.

“COVID fatigue is real,” Kasuboski  says. “With the vaccine being rolled out, we need to stay strong as a community, continue to follow the CDC guidelines and get vaccinated if it is available to you, or when it is available to you.”

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About the Author

Brianna Wunsch
Brianna Wunsch

Bonnie Farber, health enews contributor, is a communications professional in the Public Affairs and Marketing Operations Department at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. In her free time, Brianna enjoys living an active lifestyle through biking, hiking and working out at the gym, but even more than that, she especially loves spending quality time with her two cats (Arthur and Loki), son and husband.