Madawaska Native Shares Experience of Volunteering as CNA Amid Pandemic

Published: Jan. 19, 2021 at 12:30 PM EST
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MADAWASKA, Maine (WAGM) - A Madawaska women will soon be heading back to her day job after helping on the frontlines at High View Rehab and Nursing Center.

“Any questions I had somebody was there, anything.”

After taking a step back from her business and family, Jenney Dionne spent 8 days working along-side other CNA’s who were struggling to keep up at High View Rehab and Nursing Center during the Covid-19 outbreak at the facility.

“When I first got there you can tell everybody was completely drained, it was – it was hard to watch. The CNA that I walked around with the first couple of days she was going through the motions she knew these people she’s probably been there for 20 something years so she knows everyone and their ins and outs. It’s a routine go to this room go to this room go to this room, I’ll take care of that, you know she tried to make them smile but you can tell she was running on empty she hadn’t had a day off in who knows how long.”

Dionne didn’t know what to expect when she first took on the job. But she had soon a routine starting at 4:15 in the morning before heading in her 6am shift.

“The one thing I made sure I did that I was a little neurotic about – my mask. My mask, I was fitted for an N-95 so before I even went into the building I had it on – I changed my shoes before I went in to the building and you have your process you know you have to sanitize take your temperature all that stuff. The face shield was something else, so all day long you had to wear your mask and the face shield completely covered your face and you had to wear gowns which you change often and the face mask and the shield you really try not to touch much all day. So for the first couple of days, I was sweating all day long sweating like in and out of the rooms you can feel the sweat dripping a little bit it felt really good to go outside for like 2 minutes to take it off and breathe.”

During her 8 days working at the center, Dionne journaled on Facebook. She says it helped her to process her experience. She adds that he support she received has been touching.

“The outreach from people has been incredible, the support from so many people, all the prayers - I’ll take all of them like I want to go home to my kids soon.”

On her last day at the nursing center, Dionne was emotional saying her goodbyes to the residents and the reality of how tough times are right now.

“Saying bye was hard, saying bye I cried. That last day I wasn’t expecting to get that emotional but I think it could’ve been a mix of everything not sleeping you know, eight days of work- it was hard saying goodbye because the thing is they don’t- they don’t have all the help, they are running on low staff – So I spent an hour feeding my friend you know every meal and I don’t think the rest of the CNA’s can do that, they’re running around taking care of everyone else so that was hard for me and it’s still hard for me.”

Dionne wasn’t able to spend her sons second birthday with him due to quarantining, she says. She says that day she said was very hard for her. Her quarantine ends depending if her test comes back negative or positive.

Dionne says the experience has been life changing and that she is still processing it all.

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