TEP: Salute to LGBTQ Healthcare Workers

The Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) is collecting a series of first hand stories of LGBTQ people in Tennessee who work in the health field during the COVID-19 pandemic. Matthew Fuson, a critical care paramedic with Nashville Fire Department, wrote this about his life as a first responder during Covid-19. If you are an LGBTQ person working in the health field and want to tell your story of working during the pandemic send it to Jeremiah at volunteer@tnep.org .

By Matthew Fuson

As a Critical Care Paramedic for the Nashville Fire Department since 2005, I’ve witnessed and responded to many disasters ranging from the flood of May 2010 to the more recent March 2nd-3rd tornado. I’ve also worked multiple large-scale events in Nashville such as the NFL Draft, the CMAs, the Nashville Predators playoffs, 4th of July, and the New Year’s Eve celebrations, as well as many other special events that make this city such an amazing place to work and live.

With all of that said, during my almost 15 years with NFD and having lived in Nashville my entire life, I have never experienced such a drastic change in my work/life balance. Responding to 911 calls in general has changed from simply putting on a face mask and shield for every patient encounter to the complexity of donning all of the additional PPE needed to care for a positive or potentially positive COVID patient. This PPE is hot and cumbersome which reduces our movement and as you can imagine makes treating patients in the dynamic environment of a scene or in the ambulance en-route to the hospital even more challenging. With all of the additional PPE, I’ve found it also changes the ability to communicate. The mask and face shield not only make it difficult to talk but also to be heard and understood by those we are caring for, their family, and even my coworkers. Additionally, the extra layers of PPE make non-verbal communication almost non-existent. Not to mention how frightening I must appear and sound while wearing all of the PPE. One of the biggest challenges I have noticed is I go home after every shift with a sore throat from trying to talk and project my voice from behind the mask.

Once my shift ends, the fear and questions begin to set in as I give my handover report to the oncoming crew and prepare to go home to my fiancé, Stu. I am constantly asking myself, “Am I unknowingly bringing this virus home with me?” The mental game COVID-19 plays on me is something I have never experienced. The fear of knowing that even though I have no fever or signs and symptoms to watch out for (according to the CDC), I could potentially be an asymptomatic carrier of the virus, which weighs heavily on my mind. Even though I wear the appropriate PPE for each patient encounter and immediately afterwards decon myself, my equipment, and my ambulance, I constantly fear a potential gap in my PPE measures that could have been missed. All of these worries and concerns lead me to the same fear, “Am I unknowingly bringing the virus home?”

Additionally, my once normal means for destressing no longer exist. I can’t mentally decompress by going to the gym and working out or swimming laps as I once did. I can’t go out with my co-workers to relax and talk over the shift anymore because they too have sore throats from talking behind their masks all day and because they share the same fears of unknowingly exposing their loved ones to the virus.

So, for now I go to work caring for the citizens of Nashville. I go home hoping the virus didn’t follow me. I look forward to the day when I’ll be able to tell stories of how I lived through the Corona Virus Pandemic just as I do for past disasters such as the May 2010 floods. These events have changed and shaped how we respond to 911 calls and other health emergencies. I am confident that through these experiences future generations of health care workers will learn how to keep themselves and their coworkers, their patients, and their loved ones at home safe from what has now become part of our daily lives.

WhistlePig + Alfa Romeo F1

SHOREHAM, VT (September 13, 2023) — WhistlePig Whiskey, the leaders in independent craft whiskey, and Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake are waving the checkered flag on a legend-worthy release that’s taking whiskey to G-Force levels. The Limited Edition PiggyBack Legends Series: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is a high Rye Whiskey selected by the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, with barrels trialed in their wind tunnel to ensure a thrilling taste in every sip.

The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

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Nurse Practitioner Ari Kravitz

When I started medical transition at 20 years old, it was very difficult to get the care I needed for hormone replacement therapy because there are very few providers trained in starting hormones for trans people, even though it’s very similar to the hormones that we prescribe to women in menopause or cisgender men with low testosterone.

I hope more providers get trained in LGBTQ+ healthcare, so they can support patients along their individual gender journey, and provide the info needed to make informed decisions about their body. I’ve personally seen my trans patients find hope and experience a better quality of life through hormone replacement therapy.

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Descanso Resort, Palm Springs' premier destination for gay men, just received Tripadvisor's highest honor, a Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" award for 2023. Based on guests' reviews and ratings, fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor's 8 million listings around the world receive the coveted "Best of the Best" designation. Descanso ranked 12th in the top 25 small inns and hotels category in the United States. Quite an accomplishment!

Open less than two years, Descanso Resort offers gay men a relaxing and luxurious boutique hotel experience just minutes away from Palm Springs' buzziest restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Descanso has quickly established itself as a top destination for sophisticated gay travelers, earning hundreds of 5-star guest reviews and consistently ranking in Trapadvisor's top positions alongside brother properties Santiago Resort and Twin Palms Resort.

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