Fearless

I am fearless. But that’s not true. It’s not that I’m scared of spiders or cockroaches. It’s more than that.

I think we all know that we are in a middle of a war. The casualties from this COVID-19 pandemic continues to rise and it is devastating. More devastating are the news that healthcare frontliners are becoming casualties themselves. The news of doctors – from China, Italy, France, Indonesia, Philippines and more – dying from getting infected with the novel corona virus from patients they are trying to save, sends shivers to my spine.

I know there are risks from my chosen profession. From being overworked and being sleep deprived to being cursed by patients and being sued, that goes with the territory of our duties. I can live with that. But to risk your own life from contracting a possible deadly disease and even worse, to endanger your own family from passing on the illness at home makes me afraid. Very afraid.

For those people who are not taking this pandemic seriously and continues to party or not follow the recommended social distancing and community quarantine, or for those who think they are strong and invincible, please think again. If it’s not you who would be severely affected, it may be someone that you love that could suffer, because of your foolish actions.

Today, I came face to face with only my mask in between, with this deadly disease in our ICU. As I place an endotracheal tube to the patient’s passageways to hook her to a ventilator, I can only pray that my personal protective gear will be enough shield from this invisible enemy. Though I pray even more that heaven’s hand will be my shield.

I know this is only the beginning of my daily battle and confrontation with this foe. And it is expected that the worse is yet to come.

Fearless or not, I swore an oath to do this job. So help me God.

(*photo taken at Jardin du Palais Royal)

Panic Mode

With the novel corona virus or known as COVID-19 hugging every story line and preoccupying our thoughts and conversations, here are my reactions to these current news:

COVID-19 cases in the US continues to rise, and there are confirmed community spread now here in Iowa.

Bring it on. Our group has been preparing for the worse, and we are ready to be in the frontline of this fight. Just to let you know, our group of Critical Care/Pulmonary specialists, me included, have been brainstorming now for a while on how to respond to this crisis. We have instituted disaster mode schedule to man our ICU’s, though we hope that it will not go to the extreme like what is happening in Italy, where they have to decide who lives or who dies, as there’s shortage of ventilators and ICU beds.

The stock market continues to free fall.

That’s alright. Nothing much you can do about that. Besides, I’m still working and I don’t have much invested in stocks anyway.

The school is out for a month.

Good! At least I know where my kids are. That is they’re at home, and they are safe.

Almost every business are shutting down, including bars, restaurants, shopping malls, and movie theaters.

That’s fine. That would curtail some of our family’s spending

The NBA season and the NCAA March Madness have been suspended.

No big deal. Even though that’s the only thing I watch on TV nowadays, this would give me more time for sleep or tunganga. Or perhaps I could read that book I always wanted to read.

There’s no more toilet paper in stores.

No problem. We still have the tabo (dipper). We Filipinos are not fazed with this toilet paper shortage.

There’s no more rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizer in stocks.

No worries. We still have soap and water. Plus we can improvise with solution of bleach and water for disinfection. Or for kicks, use cheap vodka or whisky as hand sanitizer as some of those strong drinks have more alcohol content than 70% isopropyl alcohol.

All canned goods in grocery stalls have been hoarded out.

I don’t care. We have stocks of gourmet tuyo that our relatives from the Philippines brought us when they came to visit us last month.

There’s no more rice in Costco, Walmart, and all Asian stores here in our area.

Oh no!!! We’re doomed! It’s the end of the world!

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Here’s a song from the days of my youth: