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From combat in Afghanistan to COVID-19 in Orange County, he comforts the hurt and dying – Orange County Register

Although he is only 31 years old, Nathan Solares is already prone to injury and death in two wars.

The first war in Afghanistan was when he was in another war, Coronavirus Pandemic.

The end of both is visible. On April 14, President Joe Biden said US troops would leave Afghanistan by September 11 to end the 20-year war. On April 23, the Biden administration announced that 200 million COVID-19 vaccinations had been given in the United States, reducing the damage caused by the deadly virus.

But in all of that, the work of Solares has been sharpened. As a hospice nurse, his job is to facilitate the transition from life to those who have died of COVID-19 and other causes, as well as to educate and comfort the families they have left behind.

He seems to have been made for it.

Solares, as a young non-commissioned officer designated as a medic of the US Navy, handled military and civilian casualties while stationed at Kandahar Airfield, a NATO base in Afghanistan.

Today, Solaris is working night shifts for the Orange Cadence Hospice. His shifts usually run from 4 pm to 8 am and the second half is spent as a “night runner”. That is, he goes to the endangered patient and waits to deal with a family emergency.

Solares, an associate nurse, started working at a hospice service about a year ago, shortly after COVID-19 began to surge in casualties.

Solares has served his hospice patients fearlessly, as he did in Afghanistan. Only now, instead of desert-colored combat uniforms and helmets, he’s layered with protective gear (face masks and gowns) over a nurse scrub, including a blue and pink set worn by chunky Solares. It suits you.

The father of the two boys shrugs off the concept of courage. As the pandemic went into full swing, he explained that when he started, there was an urgent need for hospice nurses.

“I felt like someone had to do it.”

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Solares volunteer Cooperate with COVID-19 patients.

In hospice, nurses handle much of the hands-on work with the patient and carry out the doctor’s instructions for hours or months before the patient dies. At Cadence, a crew of 20 nurses examines patients in a variety of situations. Board and care homes, assisted living centers, skilled nursing facilities, and patient homes.

If the patient is infected with COVID-19, the nurse may be exposed.

“I’ve always known that he’s a great nurse with great compassion,” said Chantic Horner, supervisor of Solaris.

“The fact that he was willing to go surprised me … (it) was proud to be his boss.”

Since childhood, Solares has been driven by the urge to serve. He said the family influenced him.

Born in Los Angeles before moving to Anaheim, Solaris was a descendant of El Salvador and Guatemala and was once thinking of becoming an immigration lawyer. Instead, his brother urged him to join the military. And the mother, a certified nursing assistant, made him think about nursing.

Initially, Solaris wanted to follow in the footsteps of his brother and join the Marine Corps. However, military rules prevented the brothers from serving in the same branch, he said, so he became a naval corpsman knowing that it meant taking care of the Marines and sailors. I chose that.

He spent four years at ROTC while in Anaheim High and signed a Navy contract at the age of 17 in his third year. But he couldn’t serve until he was eighteen.

“That was my graduation motive.”

He served for eight years from July 2008 to July 2016. His year in Afghanistan ignited his passion for pursuing nursing after returning home. His right shin tattoo — the winged hospital corpsman’s insignia dated 2012-2013 — commemorates that period of his life.

He also volunteered for that development.

Kandahar is located in southern Afghanistan and was first launched by the Navy in October 2001 as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. For the next few decades, Kandahar was a fierce encounter with the Taliban. Just recently in early April, the Taliban targeted the airfield with a rocket attack.

Solares’ medical unit advances “outside the wire” during a year in Afghanistan to cross protected airfields and teach Afghan soldiers about the medical procedures they can use to take care of them. There was a thing. He also dealt with US soldiers, Afghan soldiers, and the Taliban, following bombings and other encounters.

He saw a steady stream of locals injured by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or gunshots.

“We took care of children, adults and teens every day.”

There were also cases of mass casualties. He remembers the Navy’s wedding anniversary, an IED attack at the airfield on October 13, 2012. Three large cars rushed through the gate and one passed. The subsequent explosion initially injured more than 20 people. Some have lost their limbs, some have been injured by shrapnel, and some have died later.

Solares was not physically injured during the battle. But his knees have been destroyed since the time of service, and his back is causing problems for him, he said. He also suffers from nightmares and depression. And he added that there were a lot of parties when he first got home.

Like many veterans, he initially hesitated to seek help through the Department of Veterans Affairs, but eventually he did.

“I felt like this.’I don’t need this. I can get over it myself.” Then I felt like I couldn’t. So I reached out. “

Veteran nurse

Healthcare has been a constant part of Solares’ life, but sometimes it’s on a different path. His first state mission in the military was Texas, where he worked on records and helped with care at the Navy’s dental office. He did a similar job in California three years later when he was discharged. He eventually began thinking about his career and took college classes to become an associate nurse.

He has worked with the Department of Veterans Affairs to handle disability claim patient charts for service members. He also worked at Mission Viejo’s Mission Hospital, transporting patients, including survivors of a car accident.

“It definitely reminded me of Afghanistan.”

In August 2019, he graduated from Concorde Career College and began working in home health care. He was hired by Cadence a year ago this month.

There was a setback in his personal life: his marriage to his eldest son’s mother collapsed. So was his relationship with the mother of his second child. Solares likes to say that he is now “single as a Pringle”.

He lives alone in an Anaheim apartment, but when he’s not focused on his job as a hospice nurse or a second part-time job providing health care, he can work with boys aged 8 and 2 as much as possible. I spend a lot of time. Service for those who cannot leave the house. He also has a third-side gig, draws blood and oversees the dosage in clinical trials.

He listens to classical music to cleanse his mind. Beethoven is my favorite. He starred in Ben Carson’s favorite movie “Gifted Hands” about his life, or in the actual role of Cuba Gooding Jr., the Navy’s first African chief petty officer, Carl Brashear. Re-watch “The Man of Honor”. -American master diver.

Like other healthcare professionals and first responders, Solares and his colleagues, even I’m afraid of exposure..

About 15% of people treated with cadence are veterans. Mary Christie, the company’s community liaison, said Solares was particularly good at working with these patients.

“He connects with our soldiers really fast.”

The last word

Even if the patient does not respond, Solaris encourages the family to discuss the military service of their loved ones. We recognize that such approval is the last salute for the patient and can be comforting for relatives.

Regardless of who the patient is or when they are dying, Solaris encourages loved ones to share their favorite stories with them. According to Solares, the language is well understood and is a reaction that can be tracked by observing vital signs and subtle facial expressions. He added that it was true over the phone Solares held over the patient, whether his loved one was in the room or talking on FaceTime.

But sometimes there are no relatives or stories. Solares just at their bedside when they die.

“I’ll just tell them. It’s okay that they weren’t alone, everyone loved them because of who they were, and they missed them.” Don’t fight it, “he added.

“We try to make them feel cared for,” he said.

For Solares, the work he did during the pandemic, and his role as a hospice nurse, was not much different than when he was in the Marines, providing comfort to the injured.

“They will ask you for hope and say,’Tell me I’m okay.'”

But sometimes it meant that comfort was okay to let go of someone.

“Most of the time, you’ll know when you’re ready. They will tell heaven,” I want to go home, “to make their peace.

For COVID-19 patients, the situation is often different, he said. They are not talking. There is no body language or facial expression to let him know they are ready to go.

“They breathe really fast and then it will stop.”

Last year’s experience only strengthened his desire to continue working as a hospice nurse. He likes the pace. He likes teamwork.

“After all,” Solares said he sounded like a military veteran and “you must be mission-oriented.”

From combat in Afghanistan to COVID-19 in Orange County, he comforts the hurt and dying – Orange County Register Source link From combat in Afghanistan to COVID-19 in Orange County, he comforts the hurt and dying – Orange County Register

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