Nurse Loree Riesterer typically works in a medical oncology unit at Aurora Medical Center in Manitowoc County, but with the rise in COVID-19 cases, her unit began treating those patients as well. When Riesterer herself was diagnosed with the disease in October, she felt guilty about not working.
“I wasn’t able to do what I love which is being a nurse and helping others,” Riesterer said. “It was a challenging time.”
Riesterer now hopes to be an example for others by getting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as she’s able. She won’t be eligible to receive it until 90 days after her initial diagnosis, but she’s using her experience to shine a light on the vaccine’s importance.
“I have told patients and my colleagues that once you get COVID, you don’t want it again, believe me. You have no idea how bad you’re going to feel,” Riesterer explained.
Though she never needed to be hospitalized, she was extremely fatigued for over two weeks. She now shares that diagnosis with patients to quell their fears to know that recovery from the virus is possible. She also shares her experience with fellow team members, along with encouragement that they get vaccinated when they can.
“I have talked to some colleagues who were on the fence about it but after our conversation, they made their appointments to get it,” Riesterer said. “I feel like as health care professionals, we can be role models for the public. If we get it, maybe they will get it. It gives me hope.”