MUNCIE, Ind. — A nurse at IU Health said COVID-19 is the worst it's ever been at her hospital in the past few weeks.
Kadee Klafka and two other nurses in Muncie can be seen in a photo hugging each other tight.
"I love what I do, and it is a privilege to be with someone at the end of their life, and I would rather not be at so many," Klafka said.
Their hospital, IU Health Ball Memorial, is in "full crisis mode," treating anywhere from 80 to 100 COVID patients at a time.
"What we started with is not the same virus we're dealing with now. So, it's a version of it, but it's the worst version of it," Klafka said.
She said COVID-19 and its highly contagious delta variant is to blame, and it's infecting mostly unvaccinated patients.
"It hits people harder than the first time. So, I feel like we're seeing a lot of middle-aged men, with a few risk factors like obesity and diabetes. They're taking it the hardest right now from what I can see," Klafka said.
It's been nearly 19 months on the front lines.
"I hold on to a lot of frustration and anger. We've been doing this for a long time. We're exhausted," Klafka said.
Klafka took out her frustration by writing about the struggles of losing patients.
"I speak for myself and some of my coworkers that I love to say, 'This is not an agenda. This is real. This is what I see every day. And I hope you can listen to that part,'" Klafka said.
The hospital posted her message on Facebook to urge people to get the vaccine.
"I’ve been surrounded by a lot of different views of the global pandemic. I am entirely full of anger."
"You don’t see nurses sharing their stories, because we protect our patients’ privacy. But more and more, I’m realizing it might be our experiences that speak louder than numbers."
"We are so tired. Exhausted. Mentally and emotionally undone….because we don’t see numbers. I see my patients and their family members. I see the grief and share it with them. Now, there’s a vaccine, which makes this virus preventable and/or so much more mild that patients wouldn’t need the hospital if they did get it. Some of my closest family members continue to decline to get the vaccine and I’m so frustrated and tired and angry."
"There’s a way to help, and that way is masking and getting the vaccine. Help us so that maybe we won’t be the one to hold your loved one's hand while they pass away. It’s an honor to be that person for these patients, but right now, it doesn’t have to be this way."
"Somehow I’m crying and grieving a person I never knew. Shouting in a dirty utility room. Putting myself in time out so I can walk into the next room while others live comfortably unaware.”
More than 30,000 shares later, she knows many won't hear her but is hopeful someone does.
"I get no one wants to be told what to do," Klafka said. "You're 17 times less likely to need hospitalization and at that most basic form, take away everything else, the vaccine makes sense."
Right now, the president of IU Health said COVID patients occupy about 40 percent of beds at Ball Memorial Hospital.
Across the state, there are more than 2,400 people hospitalized with COVID. That's about the same number as last January.