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  • Writer's pictureWendy Jameson

Volunteering with ProtectAZ

Yesterday was both scary and exciting. I had the opportunity and pleasure of volunteering with these other two brave souls willing to visit an assisted living center in Scottsdale to test staff and elderly patients for COVID-19. Since I'm not a healthcare professional, I wasn't allowed to swab anyone (not that I wanted to!), but I was able to provide documentation support as we traversed the hallways and Center and patient rooms. Mostly it's pretty boring stuff--organizing paperwork, coordinating with staff, documenting who/what/where/when--but I felt brave and useful...things I haven't felt so much during this outbreak and in this economy lately. The staff were amazing, and I have so much respect for them in particular, since they deal with with these patients every day, and not all of them are easy or friendly--dementia is common, and it can make the sufferer angry and generally unpleasant. Nonetheless, the women of this center (and nearly everyone working there is female) were patient, careful, and above all, caring.

What you don't realize until you've been around people potentially infected is how careful our healthcare providers have to be, literally at every moment. If I needed to just move my glasses up my face (which I did often), I had to sanitize my hands before and after. If I wanted a drink? Same. If I used a pen? Same. It's mentally exhausting to be so conscious of every single move or touch.

When I got home, as advised, I had to strip in my garage, leave my shoes and handbag outside (for 3 days), wash clothes immediately in hot water, and scrub my entire body. I showed up in sandals (not smart), and even though I had shoe coverings, I had to focus on scrubbing my feet and ankles and any exposed skin. Can you imagine doing this every time you finish a shift over months and months? Let's just say I have even more respect for our frontline workers.

In all, this was an eye-opening experience, and I'm glad I participated (p.s. I was pretty scared to do it). ProtectAZ, Dr. Southwell, his staff, and all the volunteers involved are amazing...continue to support their work by contributing at

Volunteered on documentation with Morgan
Selfie with volunteer Morgan

Our volunteer nurse practitioner, Dina, just finished swabbing a patient
Selfie with our FNP volunteer, Dina

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