Brandon Keith’s mother inspired him to become a paramedic.
She was an acute-care nurse, and he saw the impact she had on people.
As a paramedic with a private ambulance company in Chicago, Keith, like other first-responders, is now putting his own well-being at risk to treat those who contract coronavirus.
“This is overwhelming for everyone and not just for people like me who are on the front line,” said Keith, 30. “I’m just a person doing my job, and I’m not doing anything out of the ordinary.”
Friends, coworkers and his mangers praise him for being in the trenches of the COVID-19 fight.
He’s seen a growing number of COVID-19 patients. His increased contact with these highly contagious patients worries his family. It’s not that he isn’t concerned, too. But he doesn’t want to fixate on that.
He tries to focus on things he can control, like being aware of his surroundings. The pandemic has made him and his colleagues more “vigilant with keeping things clean and following evolving” guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he said.
Keith said that, in the days before the pandemic, he would decompress after stressful work days by watching sports. But with sports leagues of all varieties canceled, he said he’s learning more about himself. He’s also reading more books and going on walks around his Morgan Park neighborhood.
“I’m just taking it one day at a time, and I keep telling myself that this will eventually go away,” Keith said. “We are all going to come out of this.”