Christina Peyroux, July 29, 2020

Dublin Core

Title

Christina Peyroux, July 29, 2020

Subject

COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-
COVID-19 (Disease)

Description

Christina Peyroux discusses her experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic including how it has effected her job in nursing and living with her grandmother, a retired nurse.

Publisher

Special Collections and Archives, Trexler Library, Muhlenberg College

Date

2020-07-29

Contributor

This oral history recording was sponsored in part by the Lehigh Valley Engaged Humanities Consortium, with generous support provided by a grant to Lafayette College from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Rights

Copyright for this oral history recording is held by the interview subject.

This oral history is made available with a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0). The public can access and share the interview for educational, research, and other noncommercial purposes as long as they identify the original source.

Relation

40 Years of Public Health Experiences in the Lehigh Valley LGBT Community

Format

video

Language

English

Type

MovingImage

Identifier

PH40_33

Oral History Item Type Metadata

Interviewer

Kristen Leipert

Interviewee

Christina Peyroux

Original Format

video/mpeg

Duration

44:33

OHMS Object Text

5.4 Unknown Date Christina Peyroux, July 29, 2020 PH40_33 00:44:33 LVLGBT40 40 Years of Public Health Experiences in the Lehigh Valley LGBT Community Muhlenberg College: Trexler Library Oral History Repository This oral history recording was sponsored in part by the Lehigh Valley Engaged Humanities Consortium, with generous support provided by a grant to Lafayette College from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020- COVID-19 (Disease) Christina Peyroux Kristen Leipert video/mpeg PeyrouxChristina_20200729_video.mp4 1:|20(2)|43(8)|59(11)|72(1)|87(13)|103(6)|114(4)|125(4)|138(8)|155(9)|165(5)|177(12)|191(2)|202(14)|212(5)|226(13)|240(9)|252(7)|263(8)|273(12)|289(7)|300(14)|309(16)|320(10)|332(9)|344(12)|358(7)|367(12)|381(5)|392(13)|402(11)|417(15)|429(13)|443(7)|453(15)|464(5)|476(4)|484(4)|495(12)|503(4)|511(12)|527(7)|535(1)|544(7) 0 https://youtu.be/IrX6vj-n6qE YouTube video 0 Interview Introduction KRISTEN LEIPERT: My name is Kristen Leipert and I’m here with Christina Peyroux to talk about her experiences in the Lehigh Valley LGBT community during this time of the Covid-19 pandemic as part of the Lehigh Valley LGBT Community Archive. Our project has funding from the Lehigh Valley Engaged Humanities Consortium. We are meeting on Zoom on July 29, 2020. Thank you so much for your willingness to speak with us today. To start can you please state your full name and spell it for me? CHRISTINA PEYROUX: Yes, my name is Christina Peyroux, C-H-R-I-S-T-I-N-A Peyroux P as in Paul, E-Y-R-O-U-X as in x-ray. 139 How the pandemic has affected home life and working in the Lehigh Valley Health Network KL: This is a really general starting question and you can take it wherever. How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected your life and this could be your work life, personal life, social life, sex life, anything. CP: First off, I graduated college in Washington, D.C. and then I moved back to Pennsylvania to live with my grandmother. I am a registered nurse, so I started nursing this year, she finished nursing this year. She retired. 291 Starting nursing job before Covid-19 pandemic KL: So you graduated this year? CP: May 2019. KL: Were you still in school when this started and then got the job or was it kind -- I don’t know how that works because now I’m fascinated, now it’s like I’m just asking you this for me. CP: That’s fine, absolutely, my hospital does this program for nursing students where you can be something called a technical partner, sometimes known as nurse aides, throughout nursing school so that you maintain a job and then you can be an internal hire. So I already had the job upon graduating[...] 505 Experience living with grandmother KL: Yeah, so you’ve been protecting your grandmother but has she also been -- I mean she’s obviously a good person that you can bounce your whole day off of and I bet she is just I was going to say loving everything you have to say to her, but I don’t know if that’s the right word. CP: Yeah because, it’s funny because, you know, we’re two generations apart and in the nursing or any medical field that’s huge I mean every five years they come out with new studies let alone sixty years. 589 Socializing during the pandemic KL: I was going to say because you’re working, and you know so like your social life are you like maintaining friendships, I don’t know, video friending? CP: When you’re in nursing school you don’t really have a social life. The on-running joke is like choose three: eating, sleeping, social life, and good grades. You can’t have it all. So usually, nine times out of ten your social life is what is nonexistent and it’s really unfortunate because when I was in college, you know it’s, you’re focused. 757 Exercising during the pandemic/taking care of self during the pandemic KL: I had a question and now I don’t remember it. Oh so you’re active in sports are you trying to get outside now, do you -- I know those are like the mental things I think that during this time are probably like super helpful. CP: Yes, I actually for the first time since I was like four years old decided to not be on a team sport after college, I am working out like by myself. 867 Spending time with girlfriend during pandemic CP: And I’ve also been able to spend more time than I thought with my girlfriend. She actually moved to Virginia after college but then Covid hit and her job became remote, so she actually moved back to PA to live with her parents which is a like an hour or so from me. So on times when I have like a few days off or long weekends, I go there or she comes here. 929 Positive results of the pandemic KL: What other positive things have come out of it, do you have any like fun hobbies or no you’re just? CP: Positive: my grandmother has a pretty large property and she has a large house for being here by herself for so long. She bought a house that would be able to comfortably live her, her son’s family and my mother’s family. So she has enough room for eight people in this house. 1063 Wondering about future work/staffing prospects CP: I wonder how life is going to be like in the future after all this kind of calms down? I think it’s made a lot of business owners and a lot of people realize what jobs aren’t really needed per se. And I don’t want to say needed for lack of a better term, but there are a lot of people that I feel like their staffing is going to drop, because they realize that they can function without it. 1131 Working at full functioning capacity during the pandemic at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest branch KL: So now has your unit gone back? CP: Yes, we have. We are at full functioning capacity. I mean think about it, people who were intending to come into the hospital for all these things got delayed, now everybody’s coming in all of a sudden and everybody’s coming in worse because everybody delayed it. 1240 Taking care of mental health during the pandemic KL: Well some of our categories are about social life and personal pursuits which gardening is now your new. And then mental and physical health. CP: Yes, on that note my therapist was like, who I’ve been seeing for years, is like maybe you should start journaling, and I’m really not the kind of person that opens up a journal at the end of the day and says “today I did this,” I’m just not that kind of person. 1351 Taking precautions because of Covid/Being mindful of potentially effecting the health of others CP: I’ve also had to invest in other gear, like other uniforms, because they’re getting used so heavily. I’ve bought other like scrub caps, yeah, I’ve gone through a lot of stuff. And my floor, they try to keep completely free of anyone who has the virus. They send people to my floor who are immunocompromised, so my floor is like relatively safe unless I get floated somewhere else. So I bring everything home, we have a shower on the first floor, I hop right in the shower, I throw my uniform right in the washer and she stays upstairs the entire time. 1643 Wearing a mask during the pandemic CP: Someone else might literally die from it, so people come up to me because they see me and like, they know I’m a nurse, and they’re like “so what about these masks, do you believe they work, blah blah blah”, and I tell them straight up front I’m like “I’m wearing my mask for your benefit. I’m wearing my mask, not because I think I’m going to get sick, and I’m afraid of me getting sick, but because if I have it or I get it and I pass it to you, you might die”. 1884 Changed work routines at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest branch during the pandemic KL: Now I’m totally asking you, are you tired talking about this yet. Do they have Covid patients? I mean how is that for you every day go into work, I mean everything’s isolated, but do you get daily briefings of what’s going on? CP: So when Covid originally started and all the procedural units that were like ours, but couldn’t be customized into a medical surgical, like a generalized floor, a lot of their staff was either furloughed or floated, and they had staff posted at every entrance to the hospital scanning temperatures for every staff member and every visitor. 1971 How working during the pandemic has affected nursing career moving forward/may affect the nursing career in general CP: There are people in the nursing profession for like I said 60 years and they have never experienced anything like this. And I was right on the end, the tail end of normalcy, so I’ve seen both worlds. And like I said, there are nurses who have been in this profession for years and they’re like we’re all on the same level - now there’s no seniority with this. One has no practice with all of this, it’s just everybody’s trying to help each other survive. 2113 Comparisons between the AIDS epidemic and Covid-19 pandemic KL: But I mean you know listening to some people saying how you know people didn’t want to take care of people that had AIDS in the beginning, you know like all this stuff and having to suit up when going into their brother in a hospital room and like the nurses not wanting to take care of them so the family had to do it, you know, and it’s interesting to see that comparison or just yeah all of this you know. CP: Yes, and you make a valid point. Like, when we learned about the AIDS crisis, that happened and the nursing care that was provided, or even in some cases not provided, it’s, I’d like to think, very different from how we’re handling it today -for the better. 2211 Finding humor when nursing KL: What a sad conversation, anything fun you want to talk about? CP: I mean I don’t know. It is what it is, this is my life now. That’s another thing I think nursing really, like a lot of the people if you ever have nursing friends or colleagues that were nurses, their view of life and their sense of humor are vastly different from common Joe, just because, I mean at the end of the day or night when we give a report and we’re like all of our patients are alive, like that’s great! 2360 Communicating with LGBTQ community members digitally CP: I think that during Covid, a lot of people in the LGBTQ community have found each other over long distances, because they’ve been forced to, because you weren’t able to see your normal web of people in person. You were forced to use a lot more social media or long distance things which almost eliminated the distance. 2501 Looking forward to going to LGBTQ businesses/LGBTQ community events after the pandemic CP: I am looking forward to going to more events with people, like from the community. Like I miss, like D.C., there’s so many LGBTQ friendly bars or dance floors, clubs, anything, you name it. I miss that and I do go to like Pride whenever it’s available but it’s nice that we have been able to like enjoy ourselves and have pride in ourselves without the big fanfare and the big parade. MovingImage Christina Peyroux discusses her experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic including how it has effected her job in nursing and living with her grandmother, a retired nurse. Christina Peyroux 2020-07-29 KRISTEN LEIPERT: My name is Kristen Leipert and I&#039 ; m here with Christina Peyroux to talk about her experiences in the Lehigh Valley LGBT community during this time of the Covid-19 pandemic as part of the Lehigh Valley LGBT Community Archive. Our project has funding from the Lehigh Valley Engaged Humanities Consortium. We are meeting on Zoom on July 29, 2020. Thank you so much for your willingness to speak with us today. To start can you please state your full name and spell it for me? CHRISTINA PEYROUX: Yes, my name is Christina Peyroux, C-H-R-I-S-T-I-N-A Peyroux P as in Paul, E-Y-R-O-U-X as in x-ray. KL: Will you share your birthdate? CP: Yes, 11/22/1996. KL: This is the consent portion. Do you consent to this interview today? CP: I do consent. KL: Do you consent to having this interview being transcribed, digitized, and made publicly available online in searchable format? CP: Yes. KL: Do you consent to the LGBT Archive using your interview for educational purposes in other formats including films, articles, websites, presentations, and other formats? CP: Yes. KL: Do you understand that you&#039 ; ll have thirty days after the electronic delivery of the transcript to review your interview, identify any parts you would like to delete and/or withdraw your interview for this project? CP: I understand that. KL: Okay and this project has been approved by Muhlenberg College&#039 ; s Institutional Review Board and you may contact Dr. Erika Iyengar with any questions and if you want her email address I&#039 ; m happy to give it to you. CP: Okay. KL: All right, so you are where are you currently located, your zip code? CP: Let me think, 18104. KL: This is a really general starting question and you can take it wherever. How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected your life and this could be your work life, personal life, social life, sex life, anything. CP: First off, I graduated college in Washington, D.C. and then I moved back to Pennsylvania to live with my grandmother. I am a registered nurse, so I started nursing this year, she also finished nursing. She retired, she&#039 ; s been a nurse for 60 years, so we kind of helped each other transition into and out of the profession. So I was born here but now I&#039 ; ve moved back. My life has changed because my grandmother, being an eighty-two-year-old woman she&#039 ; s immunocompromised and I still work at the hospital. So I have to completely change my habits of what happens when I come home from work where I keep dirty clothes goes right into the washer, our water bill has gone up. Different cleaning or rather different ways of cleaning my shoes, so I&#039 ; ve had to kind of think outside the box in order to still do my job and keep her safe as well. KL: So you work at the hospital? CP: I work at Lehigh Valley Health Network yes and obviously Covid-19 has affected my work life drastically. My unit is actually a step down cardiac unit, we handle people who are going for pacemakers and cardiac procedures of the like. And most of our people are elective surgeries, people don&#039 ; t usually come to the hospital and end up on our unit unless it&#039 ; s planned. And since Covid was like raging people weren&#039 ; t doing these elective surgeries, people weren&#039 ; t choosing to come into the hospital I mean as they shouldn&#039 ; t, it was good because we could keep people who were like really really sick in the ICU and other patients who really didn&#039 ; t need intensive care could come to our unit. So we turned into like a generalized what you would say a medical surgical unit. So I got patients that I really had no previous training on it was a great learning experience but it was also very nerve wracking because when you came into work every day you had no idea what you were going to get. KL: So you graduated this year? CP: May 20. KL: Were you still in school when this started and then got the job or was it kind -- I don&#039 ; t know how that works because now I&#039 ; m fascinated, now it&#039 ; s like I&#039 ; m just asking you this for me. CP: That&#039 ; s fine, absolutely, my hospital does this program for nursing students where you can be something called a technical partner sometimes known as nurse aides, throughout nursing school so that you maintain a job and then you can be an internal hire. So I already had the job upon graduating, I had already signed a contract, I had signed a two year bonus for ten thousand dollars all they said you just have to graduate. You&#039 ; ve got the job all you&#039 ; ve got to do is pass your boards which was a huge lifesaver for me because I know a large portion of my classmates while they were in senior year of nursing school studying for tests, studying for their degree were like well now I&#039 ; ve got to find a job, it was a huge help for me. So I was already on that unit and when I had graduated May 2019 Covid obviously hadn&#039 ; t happened yet. When I started actually my orientation process in July 2019 we didn&#039 ; t, we were not affected by Covid yet, so I was completely on my own like a full functioning nurse off of orientation, had my degree when Covid happened. So they had to let us go and to be on our own and to like practice fully functioning by ourselves without someone like directly observing us when Covid started really ramping up. So it was a huge challenge I just (break in audio) people who are in school this year so drastically affected because their second semester, their clinicals were probably all cancelled. I know a lot of people couldn&#039 ; t get their nursing degree because the testing centers were closed so everything&#039 ; s been pushed back. So once again there&#039 ; s a nursing shortage. What&#039 ; s next. KL: Oh my gosh. So yeah amazing. So you&#039 ; ve gotten to, you had like that experience of doing what you want to do let&#039 ; s say and then suddenly all new things to learn. That&#039 ; s a good start to your career. CP: Yeah, I feel like I had just kind of gotten secure like I can take care of patients now and then the rug was pulled out from under me so to speak. KL: So you have obviously still been working showering five hundred times. CP: I&#039 ; m grateful, because people their life turned upside down, they don&#039 ; t know how they&#039 ; re going to pay bills. I mean I&#039 ; m just out of college because I&#039 ; m living with my grandmother I&#039 ; m already done with my student loans, I bought my first car, huge like milestones that I would not have been able to complete had I not been living with my grandmother, had I not kept an essential job and had I not planned ahead of time and had the foresight to like really attack bills while I could. KL: Yeah, so you&#039 ; ve been protecting your grandmother but has she also been -- I mean she&#039 ; s obviously a good person that you can bounce your whole day off of and I bet she is just I was going to say loving everything you have to say to her, but I don&#039 ; t know if that&#039 ; s the right word. CP: Yeah because it&#039 ; s funny because, you know, we&#039 ; re two generations apart and in the nursing or any medical field that&#039 ; s huge I mean every five years they come out with new studies let alone sixty years. I come home and I talk about a situation she&#039 ; s like, &quot ; When I was your age what we used to do.&quot ; And it&#039 ; s just really funny to hear the differences and there are nurses on my unit that are kind of in between our stages. So I&#039 ; ll go to them and I&#039 ; ll be like do you ever remember doing this, this or this were you around during the days where on night shift you did this, this, or that. It&#039 ; s very interesting and it&#039 ; s a great talking point. KL: I mean you&#039 ; ve obviously been like very aware of protecting her. CP: Yes. It&#039 ; s a complicated life but it&#039 ; s made it interesting and I accept the challenge, I appreciate it. KL: So I don&#039 ; t know do you, what else?  CP: What else? KL: I was going to say because you&#039 ; re working, and you know so like your social life are you like maintaining friendships, I don&#039 ; t know, video friending? CP: When you&#039 ; re in nursing school you don&#039 ; t really have a social life, the on running joke it&#039 ; s like choose three eating, sleeping, social life, and good grades. You can&#039 ; t have it all. So usually nine times out of ten your social life is what is nonexistent and it&#039 ; s really unfortunate because when I was in college you know it&#039 ; s you&#039 ; re focused, I had the nursing major degree, I actually have a Spanish for Healthcare certificate which is almost a minor, I think I was like one class short of it actually being a minor. So I was really focused on school, I had jobs, I was on the varsity soccer team and I was on club rugby, I had a lot going on. So really my school and my sports were my social life, I didn&#039 ; t really have one. So after graduation I was like wow I can actually hang out with my friends, we can go places, we can do things, and then I had about five months of that and then Covid hit and now we&#039 ; re back to I don&#039 ; t have a social life because there&#039 ; s nothing open anymore. But I am video chatting, I am calling, texting, obviously you hang out with people at work while you&#039 ; re at work but it&#039 ; s entirely (break in audio) so I&#039 ; m looking forward to when things open up again and you can go places like go to a park and just be outside and people watch and go to a restaurant, meet up with friends, you know that kind of thing. I actually miss -- from D.C., I miss having the ability to just bar hop. [Near here?] I lived on the same block as three different bars so if you wanted to go out and some place got boring you could walk down the street. If you needed to go somewhere that was far away you could just call an Uber or a Lyft, much less or I should say there are not as many people who drive for those programs around here. So, like the one day I pulled up Uber or Lyft just to see if there was anyone even around and I don&#039 ; t think Uber had anyone and I think Lyft had one person. I&#039 ; m kind of in culture shock in that aspect but I&#039 ; m getting through it. KL: Yeah that&#039 ; s always interesting. I had a question and now I don&#039 ; t remember it. Oh so you&#039 ; re active in sports are you trying to get outside now, do you -- I know those are like the mental things I think that during this time are probably like super helpful. CP: Yes, I actually for the first time since I was like four years old decided to not be on a team sport after college, I am working out like by myself. I was going to the gym but obviously that&#039 ; s kind of changed now, I&#039 ; m lucky enough to have a huge driveway so I actually work out outside in the driveway, I can go for a run, there&#039 ; s lots of trails around here. I&#039 ; m enjoying the fact that I can choose when and what I want to do when I work out which isn&#039 ; t the case when you have any kind of sports team usually. And I&#039 ; m also enjoying the fact that I&#039 ; m just like you know what I have a lot of errands to run, I can&#039 ; t work out today, like no required practice and I believe it or not am really enjoying that and I don&#039 ; t know maybe I could go back to like an adult recreational league in the future but as far as now is concerned I&#039 ; m really enjoying me time because for a long time, I mean sports, school, it wasn&#039 ; t me it was what I was doing, so I think what Covid taught me to be honest was just be which I&#039 ; ve enjoyed because obviously my work life is very busy, so when I get home it&#039 ; s nice to just be. And I&#039 ; ve also been able to spend more time than I thought with my girlfriend. She actually moved to Virginia after college but then Covid hit and her job became remote, so she actually moved back to PA to live with her parents which is a like an hour or so from me, so on times when I have like a few days off or long weekends I go there or she comes here. So able to spend a lot more time with her than I would have been, had this pandemic not happened, so you know. KL: That&#039 ; s good I&#039 ; m glad it worked out. Like a lot of people have been saying that you know, I mean of course you know it&#039 ; s taught people to really just slow down and kind of take care of themselves or realize how taking care of themselves, like what that means to them. CP: Most definitely. KL: So that&#039 ; s good. What other positive things have come out of it, do you have any like fun hobbies or no you&#039 ; re just? CP: Positive, my grandmother has a pretty large property and she has a large house for being here by herself for so long. She bought a house that would be able to comfortably live her, her son&#039 ; s family and my mother&#039 ; s family, so she has enough room for eight people in this house. So it&#039 ; s a very large house, obviously many beds, many bathrooms, multiple stories, and she has the yard to support it. So I&#039 ; ve been really trying to help her clean the house, get rid of extra stuff she doesn&#039 ; t need, work on the yard, it&#039 ; s a lot of upkeep. I realized that in the process I don&#039 ; t want a big yard when I grow up or a big house, it&#039 ; s a lot of work and I&#039 ; m really -- you know like to each his own, I&#039 ; m proud of people for doing that if that&#039 ; s what they want but like I don&#039 ; t need that and that&#039 ; s okay. KL: Yeah, I hear you there. CP: I feel like when I was a kid my mom was like I just cleaned the floor oh my god how did it happen I&#039 ; m like well yeah it happened. But now I&#039 ; m the person saying oh my god I just cleaned the floor how did that happen. KL: I mean I get that, being home all the time now I have two children and it&#039 ; s like just I&#039 ; m like working and then I walk to do whatever, I get water and I&#039 ; m like where are there dishes, it&#039 ; s never ending all the things. But it&#039 ; s also been nice to just be like I&#039 ; m working and now it&#039 ; s ten o&#039 ; clock in the morning let&#039 ; s go for a walk and then I&#039 ; ll get back to work afterwards, like there&#039 ; s something about this you know like yeah. CP: I wonder how life is going to be like in the future after all this kind of calms down, I think it&#039 ; s made a lot of business owners and a lot of people realize what jobs aren&#039 ; t really needed per se. And I don&#039 ; t want to say needed for lack of a better term but there are a lot of people that I feel like their staffing is going to drop, because they realize that they can function without it. I feel like a lot of businesses have found a way around it. Like I know for example there are a lot of places who are suddenly creating outdoor seating when they never had it before, because people are requesting outdoor seating they&#039 ; re not going to eat inside, to each his own. But it&#039 ; s very interesting because people are like throwing up tents and then buying extra tables and they&#039 ; re like oh we have ten tables outside now. I don&#039 ; t know, I kind of hope they keep that stuff.  KL: So now has your unit gone back? CP: Yes, we have, we are at full functioning capacity. They need to think about it if people who were intending to come into the hospital for all these things everybody&#039 ; s coming in all of a sudden and everybody&#039 ; s coming in worse because everybody delayed it. So, length of stays are longer, the amount of people getting treated raises exponentially. It&#039 ; s also forcing people out sooner because they don&#039 ; t want people to stay into the hospital too long. Like they&#039 ; re goal is to get up and walk the same day, that night of as opposed to just rest. And I know you know a couple of generations back you would have same day surgeries that people come in for in the morning and they leave that afternoon people would be in the hospital an entire day before, have the surgery and then be in the hospital an entire day after. We&#039 ; ve drastically changed things. KL: Yes, that&#039 ; s interesting, I mean do you think that people probably do better at home or they&#039 ; re more comfortable at home or it depends on what they have? CP: It depends on their whole (break in audio) take that into consideration, we have special nurses to do case management for that. But I mean if they have a support system they&#039 ; ll probably thrive better in the hospital or at home than at the hospital, there&#039 ; s less noise for sure, more rest ability, better healing capabilities, yes. KL: I don&#039 ; t know, anything else, I&#039 ; m trying to look at my list of subjects.  CP: I can&#039 ; t think of anything off the top of my head. What are your other questions, it might trigger something? KL: Well some of our categories are about social life and personal pursuits which gardening is now your new. And then mental and physical health. CP: Yes, on that note my therapist was like, who I&#039 ; ve been seeing for years, is like maybe you should start journaling and I&#039 ; m really not the kind of person that opens up a journal at the end of the day and says today I did this, I&#039 ; m just not that kind of person, I know it works for a lot of people, it&#039 ; s just like my job is so busy like I don&#039 ; t want to think about it when I get home. Like I leave it at work for a reason. So I bought these books and it&#039 ; s like three thousand questions about me, three thousand would you rather and I fill those out and that&#039 ; s my version of journaling, because it asks you questions that you would not think about. Some of them are like surface value that you just know the answer right off the top of your head, and others you really have to think about. And she like we go off of those deep questions and it&#039 ; s like what made you think today kind of thing. That&#039 ; s my form of like that keeps me sane, that keeps me grounded. KL: I purposely did not look at your stuff that you filled out on the form so I wouldn&#039 ; t be asking you those things that you wrote about. I feel like you know when you talked about well living with someone who you have to be careful with health wise I know someone who&#039 ; s a doctor and yeah I mean she just like showers at work, puts real clothes on, goes home, showers when she gets home, changes, you know there&#039 ; s just like a process that&#039 ; s a new process really that you wouldn&#039 ; t have done before. CP: I&#039 ; ve also had to invest in other gear like other uniforms because they&#039 ; re getting used so heavily, I&#039 ; ve bought other like scrub caps, yeah, I&#039 ; ve gone through a lot of stuff. And my floor they try to keep completely free of anyone who has the virus, they send people to my floor who are immunocompromised, so my floor is like relatively safe unless I get somewhere else. So I bring everything home, we have a shower on the first floor, I hop right in the shower, I throw my uniform right in the washer and she stays upstairs the entire time period and I&#039 ; m just like hey I&#039 ; m out of the shower now, the stuff&#039 ; s in the washer, you can come down we can have dinner. KL: I feel like, yeah there&#039 ; s like a lot of mental pressure on, you know, someone like you who&#039 ; s just like in a hospital all the time. To just worry about everyone else around you. CP: Yes, you try to limit your interactions with people too especially when you&#039 ; re just coming home from work, like if I have to get gas, I try to use the pump farthest away from people. If I have to go shopping, I like to try to give people an extra wide berth, but you know I try not to go shopping or get gas on days that I had just worked in the hospital. I do what I can because I&#039 ; d want people to do that for me as well. KL: I went to a doctor recently, a dermatologist and you know I had to take my mask off and I thought oh my gosh it was like my first time really doing anything and then I&#039 ; m like of course like for anything that she needs to see I&#039 ; ve got to take my mask off. And you know she was saying too that not that she ever really stopped working but because nothing was emergency unless it was, she would come in. And she said at first it was just like even though she&#039 ; d see a few patients during the day, and it wasn&#039 ; t a lot of work and she was just looking at people&#039 ; s faces and then she&#039 ; d go home and she said she would be totally done, like mentally done just from the fact that people were taking their masks off in front of her. You know how quicKLy that mental -- that&#039 ; s changed for just being like normal being close to people and suddenly that&#039 ; s like something scary, that just takes your energy. CP: It does, it really does. It&#039 ; s definitely taxing. KL: I mean I thought about her saying that and I was like yeah and she is afraid to see her parents and like they live in Pittsburgh and because she&#039 ; d have to do like a two week quarantine and then stay with them you know it would just be like this extended time of vacation that she can&#039 ; t afford to take. Or, you know, is willing to do that or just be around them because they&#039 ; re immunocompromised and yeah like the mental energy, for like just the day to day everything and then to add that, you know. CP: I think the terrible or most stressful I guess you could say is god forbid something were to happen who you interacted with you&#039 ; d be like was that my fault. And obviously you&#039 ; re never going to know who gave who, like if you had it, people go round they have no symptoms. Like you know what I&#039 ; m saying, I think that right there is what is the most detrimental to people&#039 ; s mental health because I mean like I wear the mask because whoever I&#039 ; m encountering might be immunocompromised. I feel confident that I&#039 ; m young enough, I&#039 ; m healthy enough, I don&#039 ; t have any comorbidities should I get it I would probably have like a fever, an upset tummy and body aches for like a day, think it&#039 ; s like a 24-hour bug and be fine. Someone else might literally die from it, so that&#039 ; s when come up to me because they see me as like they know I&#039 ; m a nurse and they&#039 ; re like so what about these masks, do you believe they work, blah blah blah, and I tell them straight up front I&#039 ; m like I&#039 ; m wearing my mask for your benefit. I&#039 ; m wearing my mask not because I think I&#039 ; m going to get sick and I&#039 ; m afraid of me getting sick, but because if I have it or I get it and I pass it to you you might die. And that really makes it very simple and makes it very clear for people. And that might seem very abrupt and very like grim but honestly that&#039 ; s what people understand when it&#039 ; s stressful and it&#039 ; s all complicated and that&#039 ; s the easiest way for me to explain it to people. KL: Would you have worn a mask beforehand like in your unit normally on a regular just like checking people, no? CP: Only if they had some form of virus, illness, that required something called droplet precautions. So if they had the flu we would go in with a mask and goggles and that&#039 ; s our droplet precautions. If they were actively coughing we would ask if they would be willing to wear a mask when we came into the room or if they&#039 ; re doing a breathing treatment during it we would actually have to gown up and we&#039 ; d put on scrubs and we&#039 ; d put on bootees as well as the mask and the goggles and then we&#039 ; d go in the room. And you know everyone that has a cough, everyone that has a breathing treatment now we&#039 ; re treating as if they might have Covid even if they&#039 ; ve tested negative because they might have picked it up in the interim. It&#039 ; s stressful, it obviously costs a lot of money and time and energy and supplies. But I mean for the mere fact that I&#039 ; m going in this room, that room, all day long I&#039 ; m going to do it because like I said if I get it it probably won&#039 ; t be as detrimental but other people in the hospital they are, I mean obviously they&#039 ; re there because they&#039 ; re sick, they&#039 ; re not choosing to be there because it&#039 ; s fun. Then the people who have to wear the N95s that would be normally people who wear N95s or would require it would be in special rooms called negative pressure rooms. And you would hardly ever need to actually use it for that intended purpose for things like tuberculosis. Like you don&#039 ; t see it very often anymore and the fact that they ran out of negative pressure rooms like the first day that we went into red phase was kind of mind boggling to me because it was almost like you always learned about it but you never actually saw it happen. And now we have to wear those any time someone&#039 ; s having a breathing treatment because they just might have it. KL: So are you at the big hospital, you&#039 ; re at Cedar Crest? CP: Yes. KL: Now I&#039 ; m totally asking you, are you tired talking about this yet. Do they have Covid patients? I mean how is that for you every day go into work, I mean everything&#039 ; s isolated, but do you get daily briefings of what&#039 ; s going on? CP: So when Covid originally started and all the procedural units that were like ours but couldn&#039 ; t be customized into a medical surgical like a generalized floor a lot of their staff was either furloughed or floated, and they had staff posted at every entrance to the hospital scanning temperatures for every staff member and every visitor. Now when we opened things up again and we opened those units they are now only scanning visitors because they don&#039 ; t want as many staff members sitting at those desks, they want to open up the units again. So now we get a text message every morning that says this is your health screen, have you been in contact with anyone, do you think you have it, do you have any of these symptoms, are you feeling any different? If the answer is no to all these questions, you&#039 ; re cleared for work today and we do that every single day that we go into work. And yeah, it&#039 ; s changed things. KL: I feel like this is good for you at the beginning of your career -- maybe I&#039 ; m making this up but it&#039 ; s like such an experience that you&#039 ; ve probably again only talked about in classes and then you just get to experience it. CP: There are people in the nursing profession for like I said 60 years and they have never experienced anything like this. And I was right on the end, the tail end of normalcy, so I&#039 ; ve seen both worlds and like I said there are nurses who have been in this profession for years and they&#039 ; re like we&#039 ; re all on the same level now there&#039 ; s no seniority with this. One has no practice with all of this, it&#039 ; s just everybody&#039 ; s trying to help each other survive.  KL: Yeah and I wonder like moving forward how much of this is just going to inform everything about your career moving forward or you know change how all this works totally. CP: I am sure it will because in the future when they&#039 ; re in classes or they&#039 ; re in textbooks when they&#039 ; re rewriting stuff they&#039 ; re going to talk about the generation that dealt with the pandemic, or they&#039 ; re going to talk about the new nurses that started right before, during, right after, like a hundred percent. Like there&#039 ; s going to be an era almost as if it were like talking about a generation like Millennial or Gen Z but there&#039 ; s going to be something, there&#039 ; s going to be an era of nursing pre-pandemic, like an era of beginning of nursing like kind of when it started getting scientific, pre pandemic, post pandemic, there&#039 ; s going a hundred percent. Not necessarily before to really people think it was kind of like I was part of the generation that did bed baths with a washcloth and a basin and I used a washcloth. Like those are the two defining lines. But most definitely there&#039 ; s going to be so when did you start nursing before or after, yeah. KL: I know so you know this project it&#039 ; s doing forty years of public health with the interviews, so it&#039 ; s from like AIDS and HIV to Covid-19, so we have I think ten of these interviews that are with people who you know talking about AIDS and the AIDS epidemic and so like the comparisons have been interesting. But I mean you know listening to some people saying how you know people didn&#039 ; t want to take care of people that had AIDS in the beginning, you know like all this stuff and having to suit up when going into their brother in a hospital room and like the nurses not wanting to take care of them so the family had to do it, you know, and it&#039 ; s interesting to see that comparison or just yeah all of this you know. CP: Yes, and you make a valid point like when we learned about the AIDS crisis that happened and the nursing care that was provided or even in some cases not provided it&#039 ; s I&#039 ; d like to think very different from how we&#039 ; re handling it today for the better. But it&#039 ; s just interesting because that&#039 ; s the only thing that really pops up in comparison, and I just think that the world kind of grew up a little bit in-between, or at least we all tried to. KL: What a sad conversation, anything fun you want to talk about? CP: I mean I don&#039 ; t know it is what it is, this is my life now. That&#039 ; s another thing I think nursing really like a lot of the people if you ever have nursing friends or colleagues that were nurses their view of life and their sense of humor are vastly different from common Joe just because I mean at the end of the day or night when we give a report and we&#039 ; re like all of our patients are alive, like that&#039 ; s great. Like that&#039 ; s our status quo as opposed to yeah, I got all these assignments done, or I graded all the paperwork. We are just very, we&#039 ; re trained differently, our mind works differently. Things don&#039 ; t really shock us [38:00] to an extent like when you talk about some person went into the hospital for something our immediate brain goes to well what did they do to -- what happened to cause that rather than oh my gosh that&#039 ; s crazy, because we&#039 ; re just used to it.  KL: Like the sad things but also like so much that comes out of it you know like helping people and being with people and you know I would think like those relationships. I&#039 ; m like an archivist, right, I just spend a lot of time in people&#039 ; s papers or now with the LGBT archives I&#039 ; m lucky enough to meet people who I&#039 ; ve already looked at their papers and then either I get to meet them in person or watch an oral history. And yes, you know, I have liked never cried from like both from sadness and like joy and happiness about any archives of like ever until these. It&#039 ; s like that description of yes there&#039 ; s just you know life right life stories it&#039 ; s like joyful and terrible and it&#039 ; s like everything. CP: I think that Covid a lot of people in the LGBTQ community have found each other over long distances, because they&#039 ; ve been forced to because you weren&#039 ; t able to see your normal web of people in person. You were forced to use a lot more social media or long distance things which almost eliminated the distance. Like now I talk to people that I wouldn&#039 ; t normally talk to because it&#039 ; s normal for me to text people five minutes away and an hour away or lives in the next country. Like everything is digital now which isn&#039 ; t necessarily good or bad it&#039 ; s just it&#039 ; s forced people in the community to find others in the community through technology. Now I know for me who personally doesn&#039 ; t like human interaction to an extent, I like my time period to have me and be alone, I&#039 ; m also when I&#039 ; m comfortable very extroverted. But it allows people to interact more comfortably I think so I think people have found support in people that they never would have met or encountered prior to this because they have nothing else. They can&#039 ; t find people any other way so now that they&#039 ; re choosing to use electronic platforms, digital platforms they are finding so many more people. KL: Yes, I totally agree with that, even you know for me and seems like my work life. I&#039 ; ve totally contacted people that I never would have seen, you know, around campus or that I&#039 ; ve said hi to but just been like oh my gosh I&#039 ; m going to email you let&#039 ; s talk. CP: Yes, it&#039 ; s interesting. KL: All right so we&#039 ; re coming to the end so if there&#039 ; s anything else that you think that you forgot to say, or you want to talk about? CP: I&#039 ; m trying to think. KL: I asked you so many medical questions. CP: I am looking forward to going to more events with people like from the community. Like I miss, like D.C. there&#039 ; s so many LGBTQ friendly bars or dance floors, clubs, anything, you name it. I miss that and I do go to like Pride whenever it&#039 ; s available but it&#039 ; s nice that we have been able to like enjoy ourselves and have pride in ourselves without the big fanfare and the big parade. Which you know everybody loves a good parade but I&#039 ; m looking forward to really ,really is relish the right word, like really really enjoying it when it comes back. Not necessarily taking it for granted because I think a lot of people did for a long time and I was really only coming into like actually fully enjoying it and getting to know my place in the community and what I understood. And I really didn&#039 ; t have a chance to be me at all these different functions until after college and obviously the five-month period before the pandemic hit. So I&#039 ; m looking forward to it when everything calms down and it&#039 ; s safe for everyone again just because I will be so much more grateful for it, because I recognize that we could not, that there was a time where we couldn&#039 ; t have had it, or there was a time where I wish that we had it and we couldn&#039 ; t because I missed it because of this or that. That&#039 ; s it. KL: Great, I love it. All right well thank you so much for your time to do this, it&#039 ; s been great, totally fun. All right I&#039 ; ll stop recording and then I&#039 ; ll say goodbye to you in a normal way. END OF VIDEO FILE Copyright for this oral history recording is held by the interview subject. video This oral history is made available with a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0). The public can access and share the interview for educational, research, and other noncommercial purposes as long as they identify the original source 0

Files

PeyrouxChristina_Thumbnail.png


Citation

“Christina Peyroux, July 29, 2020,” Lehigh Valley LGBT Community Archive Oral History Repository, accessed May 28, 2024, https://trexlerworks.muhlenberg.edu/lgbt_oralhistory/items/show/47.