Skydiving Stories #2 - Covid-19

April 27, 2020

Coronavirus & Skydiving

We have many customers and staff members who are working hard right now to protect us all. Skydive Danielson would like to extend our gratitude towards all of you! Thanks to everyone out there right now working to keep us all safe. Your service is not going unnoticed.

An awesome skydiver in our New England skydiving community is a paramedic who also contracted Covid-19. We want to thank her and share her story with all of you.

 Skydivers working with Covid19

Q & A with a Paramedic -Katrina D.

Q: When did you start skydiving? 

  A: My first tandem skydive was in 2012. My brother had been given a gift certificate to skydive for his high school graduation and he asked me to join him! We both loved it so much that I went on to earn my skydiving license and skydive instruction ratings in 2014 and my brother became an IFLY indoor skydiving wind tunnel instructor. 

Q: How many skydives do you have?

A: 700 skydives

Q: With the skydiving center being closed right now due to Covid-19, what do you miss the most about skydiving?

A: My favorite thing about skydiving is meeting people from all walks of life. I have met people I never would ordinarily have been friends with. With the vast expanse of life experience and occupations in the skydiving community, I now 'have a guy' for just about anything I could possibly need.

Q. What is your favorite part of the skydive? The airplane ride, freefall or flying your parachute?

Skydiving in CT licensed skydiver 

A. I miss the energy in the airplane while it climbs to altitude, as well as the Spring/Summer nights spent with a beer next to the bonfire with my friends. I think that we are all feeling a lack of community these days. 

Q: What is your current job?

A: I am currently a Paramedic in Massachusetts, working for a town located in the hardest hit county in the state.

Q. What do you like most about your job (pre-Covid-19)?

Skydiver with covid

A. I have been lucky over the past decade to have dedicated my life to helping others and doing everything I can to fix their medical conditions. Nothing gives me a stronger sense of purpose than making someone who is sick feel better. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, our protocols allowed for aggressive life-saving treatment of patients with respiratory problems including nebulized medications, continuous positive airway pressure, and intubation. These treatments generally have great success when performed appropriately, and numerous lives have been saved with them. It feels good to be able to make someone breath easier.

Q: You have had Covid-19 yourself, right? Can you tell us about that?

A:  Yes I have. On 3/18, just before I was scheduled to go into work the night shift, I started to feel feverish. I had a horrific headache for the entirety of the day, and an infrequent dry cough which I thought was left over from the flu I had a few weeks earlier. My fever was low-grade, went down with Motrin, and I didn't feel sick enough to not actually go to work. With 'everything going on', I decided to call my supervisor who told me that under no circumstances would I come into work, and to go get a Covid-19 test. 

There were hardly any tests to go around on 3/18. The hospitals in MA were not testing unless the patient was being admitted. Luckily, I live in NH and my local hospital was very generous with the testing. Since I was a healthcare provider and high-risk, I was tested and instructed to isolate for 2 weeks. I would not receive my results for 8 days.

The next morning my symptoms had worsened. My girlfriend also developed a fever, headache and had difficulty breathing. I also received a phone call from work. The patient I had treated on 3/15 had tested positive for Covid-19 and I needed to fill out an unprotected exposure form.

On 3/20, I learned that the firefighters who were on that call with me were in the hospital with positive test results. The other paramedic I was working with that day was also sick and awaiting results. 

After 14 days of isolation in my home, the first 5 or 6 of which felt like the worst flu of my life, I received news that my test was positive on 3/26. By that time, I was asymptomatic and considered 'recovered' by the NH Dept of Public Health.

Throughout my time in isolation, I received daily phone calls from my supervisor checking on me, and as much support as I could want from them. 

Q. What was it like when you returned to work?

Parachutes and skydiving in CT

Pictured Above: Finding my main parachute after an emergency cutaway. It landed in a field!

When I returned to work on 4/1, everything had changed. They moved the Paramedic's Day Room out of the police department and into the basement of Town Hall so that we would not get the officers sick. 

Police are not even being dispatched to medical calls anymore. All patients are to meet us outside their homes unless they can't walk- even if they are short of breath, even if they are having a heart attack. We wear face masks on every call, no matter what it is for. N95's and full gowns/face shields if they have COVID symptoms. We are no longer encouraged to give nebulized medications or use CPAP on patients, even if they really need it.

If a patient is in cardiac arrest, we are to work on them for 20 minutes at home. If we are unable to revive them after 20 minutes, we pronounce them dead and do not transport them to the hospital. We are encouraged not to intubate patients in the ambulance, but to use other less direct airway adjuncts that do not work as well. Our nursing homes are on lock down. If they need to send patients out, they put on full PPE and bring the patient's bed out to the parking lot. Hospital staff is in full PPE for the entirety of their days. They write their names on tape and stick the tape to their face shields to identify themselves. There are no visitors allowed in the hospitals, whatsoever, period. People are dying without their families. Our protocols and operating procedures are changing every single day. It is difficult to keep up. 

Q. What is the hardest part for you?

A. I can say that I did not get into this line of work to not be able to do everything I can for a patient. It is frustrating that there are certain procedures and treatments that I need to withhold for the greater good and health of my fellow healthcare professionals. But knowing that I am protecting my coworkers is even more important to me. I am looking forward to the day where life returns to normal and I am able to do my job in its entirety. 

We are glad you have made it through being sick, and want to say Thank you Katrina! 

We want to hear from you! If you have been a customer at Skydive Danielson and would like to share your story with us, please send an email to