Alexis Duplantis Romero often thinks ahead to a few years from now when her toddler son and unborn baby, another boy, are old enough to hunt and fish.
Romero, 28, and her husband, Ray Romero III, can’t wait for those days to unfold. The call of the wild, though, has been muted for the moment as she prepares for a birth within three weeks, works full time as an RN at Iberia Medical Center and copes with 2-year-old Ray IV, who is trying to adjust to changes in his young life due to restrictions resulting from COVID-19.
Well, Romero was working full-time as a case management nurse until this past week. After a doctor’s appointment and subsequent advisory Tuesday, her last day on the job before the due date and maternity leave was Friday.
“I’m doing good. It was a busy day. It wasn’t too bad but it’s always busy,” Romero said Monday evening after a full shift at IMC.
She talked about the pending visit with her doctor. She believed the doctor would decide to curtail her work duties. She was correct.
Romero said she will miss keeping in touch with elderly patients about to be discharged from the hospital, which helps determine if her patients need home health care, a nursing home or in-patient rehabilitation, and said she truly loves the job.
“I do. It’s different than being a floor nurse,” said Romero, who was a floor nurse at IMC for two years starting in 2017.
After leaving the local hospital to work with a hospice company, she returned to IMC in February.
Several weeks ago, considering her pregnancy and the coronavirus pandemic that exploded into worldwide attention in March, she started communicating by phone rather than visit patients in their room.
“It’s harder now to see the patients. A lot don’t have family there to help keep them on track. I do like to see people leave the hospital and get extra care outside of us,” she said, noting she is saddened by some of the cases she encounters.
Romero chose to keep practicing her profession during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s definitely put a little extra stress on just being pregnant in general, and knowing the world will be a little different now, bringing a baby into the world. But I’ve got a good support system around me, which helps a whole lot,” she said. “I’ve got to do it. I’ve got to work. I’ve got to go full force.”
Young Ray was confused and out of sorts once his routine changed, she said, after March 23 when “stay-at-home” and other restrictions were ordered by Gov. John Bel Edwards.
“It’s been a little harder on our 2-year-old,” the mother said about the toddler.
Romero, a Catholic High School graduate (Class of 2010) who played basketball at CHS, earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2017. She wasn’t an outdoorswoman growing up but that changed when she was a teen.
“Me and Ray met when we were 14 and started dating then. We would hunt and fish. I really enjoy fishing and hunting. It gave us something to do together. We were almost always out there summertime, whenever we could go,” she said.
Outdoors adventures beckoned and she answered wholeheartedly.
The Atchafalaya Basin and Lake Dauterive-Fausse Pointe are her favorite getaways for fishing. As for her favorite species to target, Romero said, “Probably my favorite thing would be sac-a-lait because usually you catch a bunch when you find them.”
Romero had a banner day speckled trout fishing once, she said. And she pulled up beaucoup fish on an offshore fishing trip to an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
The couple also hunted ducks a lot when they were younger but, lately, not so much. She appreciates the duck hunting experience perhaps most of all.
“I like it. I’m not that great at it but I enjoy being out there, waiting on the birds flying in and getting to see the sunrise,” she said, adding the duck calling part fascinates her. “It’s cool to see them change direction and come to see you. It’s cool. ‘Look what I did!’ ”
Her husband, who grew up hunting with his grandfather, then got into hunting with his buddies, got into a deer lease recently so has focused on deer hunting. She has gone deer hunting with him occasionally but has yet to harvest a deer.
That accomplishment and more fishing and duck hunting trips should take place in the future, when her two boys are old enough to appreciate outdoors activities handed down generation-to-generation.