Several weeks ago, I was interviewed by a young lady for a topic she wanted to write about. This girl was my daughter’s friend, and they grew up together, both home-schooled until high school, and went to the same university for their college degree. In fact, this young lady interviewed me when they were in high school for an article she wrote for a school project, and it was about my writing and blogging.
She always wanted to be a writer. And now she works as a journalist for a popular local magazine. She said that it came full circle as she is now the professional writer. She was reporting about “COVID, after 3 years.” Being a Pulmonologist and ICU doctor, she interviewed me as a front liner who have experienced the brunt of this COVID.
I remember those dread-filled early days of the pandemic when nobody knows what we were about to go through. It’s like going to a battle and we don’t have the right gear, or don’t have the right equipment, or the right artillery to combat the enemy.
However, it also stroke an air of a challenge to me and my colleagues, knowing that this was our calling. This is what we were trained for. We should just strap our boots and fasten our belts, or should I say, strap our masks, fasten our protective gowns and put on our latex gloves.
I can vividly recall my first time intubating a COVID patient: laryngoscope in hand, peering directly into the patient’s mouth and larynx, praying that my flimsy mask would somehow protect me from this invisible foe.
There was also the ever present fear of getting the virus ourselves and wondering who would take care of us if we were the ones to go down. Are we endangering our families too as we may pass the disease to them when we go home?
I’m glad it is much better now. Though there are things that we never want to go through again. One aspect of the pandemic is that it divided our communities as everything was politicized. Maybe there are lessons to learn from this ordeal and perhaps one of them is respecting each other’s opinion and beliefs.
After the interview, I did not think much about it, though the young lady texted me the website link of the article when it got published early this month.
A week or so later, I received a mail from our realtor, the one who helped us get in to our current home where we live now for 18 years. In the mail was a clipping of the article (photo below) with a very recognizable picture of me on it. I guess people have noticed. Am I famous now?
Then 2 weeks ago when I walked into the ICU the pharmacist teased me that I am a celebrity now. He told me that a page from the magazine of my published interview was posted in the bulletin board at the nurse’s break room. I don’t think it’s because they are particularly proud of me, or maybe just a little, but I think it’s more as an inspiration to them as well. For in that article, I gave credit where the credit was due – to the nurses who really are the front liners.
I mentioned in the interview that during those trying times, visitors were prohibited to come to the hospital, and patients were dying a lonely death, as no family members were present in the room when they passed on. So the nurses took upon themselves the responsibility, especially if we had a dying patient, to be in the room to hold the patient’s hand when they die. As I highlighted in that article, to me, that is dedication to the highest degree. And these are the dedicated people I am honored to work with everyday.
As for being almost famous, the neighbors have not knocked on my door yet to get an autograph. But I have my signing pen ready just in case.
(*I’m sorry not to share the link of the article here, but I still would like to keep some anonymity on this blog)
Thank you for your service! You and all the health care workers who helped face the pandemic are heroes!
Thanks for the kind words.
You are so kind, Doc.
Thank you too for being in the frontline of during those early days of the pandemic.
God bless you more. I really hope to meet you when you come home for a visit.
Isa po akong nurse dito sa UK, and I definitely could relate with your article about patients being on their own in the hospital during the pandemic.
I only just started working in endoscopy then, but got redeployed to the cardiology ward during the first wave of the pandemic. People were dropping left, right, and centre (like you said) pretty much alone apart from us being there. Our PPE was a surgical mask, nitrile gloves, a pinny, and a plastic face shield.
I remember an alcoholic who had encephalopathy but had lucid intervals. Her husband died of C19, and she only viewed the funeral on a tablet. Ang sakit nun.
Then there was another one who was palliative but cannot see family because of the restrictions. The cancer nurses pushed hard for him to be transferred to a hospice where they at least allowed the spouses to come and be with their loved one. He was more worried about his wife than himself. I had to turn around as I started to choke. It was hard to swallow the lump in my throat, yet I needed to remain professional.
No, I don’t wish to go through that again. I now work in research, and found the opportunity to study some more, kahit 40 na ako in a couple of months. The opportunity is there, and I still have dreams to fulfill!
I better cut this short before it turns into a blog entry within a blog! 😁
Nice to hear your story. I checked out your blog, and for some reason, I noticed a hint of Pinoy in it. Keep on blogging and may you find satisfaction and purpose in your work.
I will always have Pinoy in me, especially the inclination to keep things lighthearted 😁 I’ve lived here for 13 years now, though.
Thank you kindly. I’ve only started doing this to unload tangled thoughts in my head so I could siksik more “rubbish” from daily life 😂