A Catoosa nurse is nearing the end of her heroic journey serving COVID-19 patients in the country's epicenter of New York City and now needs a place to quarantine back home.
The hours have been long and the job emotionally and physically demanding.
"I’m in the ICU,” Katie Banas, a local nurse serving in New York said. “We see all COVID. It’s 100 percent COVID."
That's been the reality for the Catoosa nurse for the last eight weeks. Day in and day out her focus is the patients all on ventilators.
“It takes you so fast that we have patients that come in on Friday and are gone by Monday, and they had no problems whatsoever,” Banas said. “They're young in their 30s or 40s."
She joined the frontlines in New York as a relief effort for the nurses there who worked tirelessly for weeks without a day off.
"They lost colleagues,” she said. “They lost family members. They lost neighbors. So not only were they overworked, and understaffed, they were emotionally distraught because they are going through losses."
Banas’ decision to leave Tulsa and serve in New York was not made lightly. A mother of twin boys, she realized her line of work in Green Country exposed her family to the dangers of COVID-19.
"It's been the hardest thing in the world, but I’m protecting my children more by not being there and not exposing them to this virus,” she said.
Banas has seen the unthinkable, such as the sadness of a lonely patient and the pure joy of a miraculous recovery.
Her time at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn comes with an emotional toll she'll carry back to Tulsa, but there is one thing lifting her spirits as she heads home.
"I cannot wait to get back to my kids,” she said. “I'll be there just in time for the twins first birthday."
But that reunion won't be possible unless she can find a safe place to quarantine for two weeks. Her program is providing some nurses with the option to stay at hotels for free, but it’s not available in Tulsa.
"What they didn't really advertise was that those free hotels were going to be in harder hit areas,” Banas said. “Since Tulsa is not a harder hit area, we only got a $10 discount per night."
A two-week hotel stay is pricey, so Banas is looking for other options for her arrival home on June 2, such as an RV, paid-for hotel room, or any place secluded.
"Just a place to stay that's not going to infect anybody,” she adds. “I've been tested so often here that I know I don't have the virus."
Although the stress of coming home looms as she searches for somewhere to stay, Banas said she'd do it all again in a heartbeat.
If you or someone you know can provide a place for Banas to quarantine safely when she returns home Tuesday, please call our Problem Solvers at 918-748-1502
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.
Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox. Select from these options: Breaking News, Severe Weather, School Closings, Daily Headlines and Daily Forecasts.