‘They possibly wouldn’t survive it and I don’t think I could live with myself if that was the case’: Home health nurse makes extra sacrifice on Thanksgiving


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)- Throughout the pandemic healthcare providers have made many sacrifices- Thanksgiving being no exception. While some are spending the holiday working, others are choosing to stay home and celebrate the holiday virtually despite family deciding to gather.

“We decided that it was safer for my patients and for my family as well that we stay home and didn’t interact or risk anything,” said Lauren Barnett who is a home health nurse from Kingsport. “I actually go into my patients’ homes to do education and that kind of thing with them so I’m in close contact with different individuals on a daily basis.”

Barnett primarily works with patients who are older and immunocompromised.

Normally, she and her boyfriend Chase would have lunch at his family’s house and dinner at hers. This year- their families gather but they chose to stay home.

“If I were to come into contact with Covid-19 I could potentially bring it to them and they possibly wouldn’t survive it and I don’t think I could live with myself if that was the case,” said Barnett.

Instead- she Facetimed and Zoomed in with both families.

“Facetime made it a little better but it’s still not the same thing as being there…I’m a mom and I always want my kids there,” said Lauren’s mom, Kelley Barnett who hosted Thanksgiving with her husband, parents, and son who was in town from Nashville. “I’m proud of her perspective although I’m not great with her not being there but, I understand.”

In those calls- some tough questions, especially from Chase’s four-year-old nephew about why they weren’t there.

“My boyfriend’s stepmom said ‘There’s a sickness going around.. they just want to keep you safe,’ but it’s very hard to explain that to a four-year-old because they don’t understand,” Barnett said. “They think that you’re just purposely not coming.”

All in hopes that sacrifices made this holiday can bring some normalcy for the next.

“I don’t know yet of course because that’s a month away but I’m hoping it will kind of settle down to where we can do normal Christmas,” Barnett said.

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