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Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

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My Covid Story (2 of 2)

Dan Dodge

In late March 2020, part of the ICU in the hospital where my niece Catherine Grinnell (Cathie) worked was turned over to treat adult COVID patients who were starting to fill hospitals and nursing homes in the Boston area. Cathie tended to these patients never having had prior experience with this type of severe illness.

Exhausted from her time as a front-line worker treating COVID patients, she was given her first shot of the Moderna vaccine in December 2020. Her second shot shows her faith, pride, and jubilation at getting vaccinated. Our family is proud of the work Cathie has done and her great upbeat spirit amid constant difficulties.

Cathie has four children, who like others, sheltered at home during the pandemic. Coming home from working in a COVID unit meant she had to exercise extraordinary precautions to ensure her family was shielded from COVID. Despite all her precautions, she still could not prevent her only daughter, also named Catherine, and her oldest son Shaun, from contracting the virus. Thankfully, it was not caught at home. Young Catherine became quite ill but quarantined at home under her mother and father’s watch and has since recovered.

(Left) Boston Medical Center (L-R) – Catherine Grinnell RN, Anna McDonough RN, Patti Marciano RN, and Lindsay Kilpatrick RN. These PICU nurses were reassigned to the SICU and this was our first day on April 3, 2020. All wore caps because COVID is a lipid which can stick to hair. The Tupperware was used to carry N-95 masks.

The rewards any front line worker received during the Pandemic were few and far between but when they did come, they made Cathie’s day!

(Right) Spring 2020, entrance Boston Medical Center. Flowers handed by a mother and her three children to nurses as they exited work.

(Below) One day in May 2020 upon arriving home from work Cathie found this poster on her front lawn gifted from sister Colleen.

Appreciation comes in all forms. We can all agree that Front Line Health Care workers during normal times find their own method of relieving pressure and stress from watching human suffering on an almost daily basis but that must be especially difficult now during the Pandemic when there is exponentially more human tragedy to deal with. Hence they and their colleagues band tighter together like soldiers in a combat zone. Whenever they can make each other smile or laugh they will. They become almost superhuman in the care they pour out for others. We see that in these next pictures.

                           Big Bird (right) was made by RN Anna McDonough to show how the unit felt.


(Left) One patient was 6 years old.

Front line health care workers are family members. They have to maintain the normalcy of life in an abnormal world as mothers, sisters, wives, etc. Cathie was no exception to this. She is a beloved daughter-in-law to my 85-year old sister Evelyn Grinnell and has been a long-time confidant to Evelyn on health issues. She also helped her husband Kevin look after and watch over Evelyn who was suffering with dementia. Evelyn was placed into Mary Ann Morse Nursing Home, Natick, MA where she became infected with COVID, following a State decision to begin housing COVID-infected patients in the nursing home. Some residents perished from it.



(Left) July 2020 – My niece Catherine RN and my sister. Happily, as seen in this picture, we were blessed that Evelyn did not become too ill from COVID and recovered. Cathie was there, even if only in a visit allowed outdoors.






(Left) September 12, 2020 – Cathie’s daughter (also named Catherine) along with her cousins Maxwell and Harry, the children of Cathie’s Brother-in-law. They are my “Great Niece and Great Nephews.” The photo is from Harrison’s first communion. Masks were required and only eight guests were allowed per person in the church.

(Right) First communion for a Catholic is a life event. As every family who experienced the 2020 pandemic knows, life does not stop, it must continue, especially for our youth. In September 2020, masks were required even outside in Massachusetts.

(Right) October 1, 2020 – My sister Evelyn Grinnell on her birthday outside of her nursing home, again visited by Cathie and Kevin. Sadly, my sister passed away in September 2021.

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