The Long Bike Ride Home: A Nurse on Surviving the Early Days of the Pandemic in NYC

With nurses in New York City out on strike today, we are looking back at our December 2020 interview with Tanya Martinez. Like so many other healthcare workers, Tanya has braved every single day of the prolonged COVID pandemic — including the darkest days of the early crisis, when she would ride her bike through a seemingly deserted Manhattan after sloughing off her PPE following an arduous twelve hour shift. With the banging of pots and pans long behind us, it’s easy to forget how frightening the situation was when a vaccine was far off and all of us faced a cloud of confusion about the virus was and how it even worked.

Tanya, of course, hasn’t forgotten. In our interview for The Tactile World, she reflects on the conditions she and other nurses have contended with throughout the crisis, her journey from Orlando to the Bronx and Harlem, and what the experience of work as a nurse in general is like — as well as the values and priorities that brought her to this literally vital profession. The interview is a reminder that when nurses fight for themselves, they are always really fighting for their patients.

See also our interview with Maliha Ahmed, also part of The Tactile World series: