SoCal nurse compares frontline battle against COVID-19 to her time serving in Iraq

MARINA DEL REY, Calif. (KABC) -- A local nurse compares dealing with the coronavirus pandemic to her time serving in Iraq while with the Air Force.

Joni Stokx, a registered nurse at Cedars Sinai Marina Del Rey hospital, has been caring for COVID-19 patients for the past 10 months.

"It's really hard for the patients and the family members, they are not seeing their loved ones while they are suffering, so it definitely weighs on us as health care workers to be part of this horrible situation they're going through," said Stokx.

And the Air Force veteran knows firsthand. She came down with the virus herself early on in the pandemic - the recovery taking a few months.

"I was off work for about three weeks, returned to work, but definitely still felt the symptoms, they would come and go, the fatigue, definitely still had headaches... and body aches. I just didn't feel myself," said Stokx.

That's why, when she heard the COVID-19 vaccine had arrived, it brought her to tears. While she and her coworkers of course take precautions by wearing personal protective equipment, receiving the vaccine has already made her feel safer.

"We are holding onto any piece of hope that we can, so this is something we are all definitely optimistic about and we are thankful for," said Stokx.

The veteran, who served three deployments, says the past year feels comparable to when she served Iraq, and much like her fellow soldiers, she says her fellow nurses are right there in the trenches.

"We are all in this fight together, just as I was with my fellow airmen in the military. We all have the same goal in mind," said Stokx. "It's to treat every patient the best that we can, be as safe as possible and really try to get through this pandemic together."
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