QUEENS, N.Y. -- ICU Nurse Sheila Milanov will work at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens until July. With one week under her belt, Milanov is feeling what's written all over the faces of many nurses working in the New York City area during this pandemic.
"I can't put into words," Milanov said. "Thirteen years of nursing, I thought I was prepared. It doesn't equal one night of this, not one night."
She says it's been a roller-coaster of emotions and that every unit in the hospital is COVID-19.
"The entire hospital is a COVID ICU," she said.
What brings her relief is knowing she's bringing relief to the medical staff in the hospital.
"There are people from all over - other countries- all different aspects and backgrounds and you're all coming together for the same reason. Patients come in at all different stages of the disease with all different symptoms," she said. "We just know the progression follows the same path."
Milanov says there doesn't seem to be an age bracket or gender particularly hard-hit.
"That could be your brother, sister, son, daughter, and you are sending them into the hospital alone," Milanov said. "We try to talk to families as much as possible but every phone call takes that much time away from the patient."
Milanov will be at Elmhurst through July 11.
When she comes home to Central New York, she says she'll have a lot to process.
"There may be days I don't want to talk about it but it’s definitely something that I am reflective upon and at the end of every morning I kind of sit back and reflect and recap and write down memorable things or things that stood out."
In her own words, Milanov says what she is handling on a daily basis in the hospital is "life changing."