Linda Ashmore Adcock
Registered Nurse/Clinic Manager
Denton County Medical Reserve Corps
I have been a member of Denton County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) for over 10 years. Since that time, I have participated in many education and training programs, several flu shot clinics, and other activities that required the assistance of MRC.
As an RN for almost 50 years (retired in 2019), I did feel somewhat useless when the pandemic began. I really wanted to get back on the front lines with my nurse colleagues, but knew that, at my age, working in the hospital environment was not in my best interests. So, when the call went out from our MRC for volunteers to handle the COVID-19 Call Center at Denton County Health Department, I knew I had an opportunity to use my nursing knowledge and background to assist the community. I had no idea that it was the beginning of a journey that continues today.
I worked in the Call Center handling the many calls that came in regarding COVID-19. Calls that ranged from questions about the virus itself to concerns about interrupted travel plans. It was quite a challenge attempting to answer questions when the science was changing in real time. Some of the questions from the callers had no clear-cut answers creating frustration for both me and the caller.
I specifically recall an individual that called us concerned about his wife’s symptoms. After he relayed information about her extreme difficulty breathing, her poor skin color, and her frequent coughing, I knew that this individual needed to get to a hospital. The husband was quite reluctant to take her since the most recent recommendation from the authorities was to remain at home. Frankly, he was afraid for them to leave the house. So I recommended the husband to call an ambulance immediately, and get his wife to the hospital—reassuring him that it was definitely the right thing to do for her safety.
The next phase of my MRC work was volunteering at the testing sites. Most of these were outside, so that created some creativity to stay cool or warm depending upon the weather. The extremes of Texas weather didn’t stop us from volunteering at the clinics.
When I began volunteering at the vaccination clinics, I was consistently amazed at the intricate logistics necessary to make them look effortless. This was especially evident when the clinics took place at Texas Motor Speedway. It wasn’t unusual to have 17,000 people a day drive through to get vaccinated!
So many of the people coming through the clinic were amazed at the number of people who were volunteering their time to help. We recruited quite a few new MRC members because they came to one of our clinics and decided they wanted to be a part of the effort. In fact, one of my life-long friends was so captivated by our work that she started volunteering at a drive-through clinic. She is now one of our very active MRC members.
We received a call from an individual that said her special needs foster daughter was immunocompromised and needed the vaccine, however she was deathly afraid of anything medical. She was terrified to come into the clinic. To accommodate her circumstances, we sent two nurses out to her car to give her the injections and observe her for the recommended time. Sometimes logistics needed to be modified to suit the circumstances.
I’ve been asked why I volunteer with MRC. I’ve enjoyed it from the beginning, but the pandemic has caused me to really ask myself “why?” Actually, it’s an easy answer. We are surrounded with confusion and negativity these days. Somehow, people have used the pandemic to force us apart. When I work with MRC, we are a group of individuals who sincerely want to help our community in any way we can. We don’t work for money. We work because it’s the right thing to do, and it's a way we can help others. When I work with my MRC colleagues, I have an opportunity to work with individuals that are committed to helping in any way they can.