It was 31st December 2019, finally, NEW YEAR EVE had come, we all eagerly awaited to welcome the new year 2020 but not every passing year gives the happy new year and yes this stood true for the year 2020 as the whole world got hit by a deadly disease which started from a Chinese city namely, Wuhan.
Nobody knew what the disease was exactly when people started to come with respiratory distress and pneumonic lung. No one knew what to do next. Was it influenza? MERS? There were blank faces all around … cases increased rapidly and people started dying. Dying every day and in large numbers …It was contagious, it was infecting everyone. And we finally found out that it is the deadly SARSCOV2 COVID 19.
After its rapid explosion in different parts of the world, WHO declared it as a PANDEMIC on 11th March 2020. There was a red alert for the whole world. Now all the burden came to health infrastructure of every country…people started to come in large numbers with symptoms like fever, cough, body ache which seems very normal but it’s only the tip of the iceberg where we can see people who have symptoms but not those who are not showing any symptoms and eventually spreading it to many more groups. Indeed it was a serious matter. Now, this was the time when nurses had to become corona warriors as frontline workers. We had the responsibility to see every patient who needs care and as we were the first contact of patients, we couldn’t hide in such a critical situation. Our Government converted many hospitals to COVID dedicated centres and mine is also such a centre which is very prestigious, and here I got the chance to serve my nation as a COVID warrior. It was going to be hectic for me as I have a double responsibility of a woman: to look after my family and work both. But work comes first. I was appointed in COVID ICU and the scenario that day was like this: it’s my first day away from my family ….with an unknown infection which till now has no proper cure… a bit nervous but ready to go. I am wearing suffocative PPE in layers of scrub, mask, goggles, face shield, gloves, shoe covers …Am I covered? Is anything else left to do? Ohh…that’s my name on my suit. I have entered the ICU where patients are lying on beds with ventilator support, with infusion, IV fluids, monitors, and even some on oxygen support. We took the hand over about patients…now the task begins. You have to perform the best care to patients with the so-called PPE barrier which makes all the inconveniences of moving, seeing, hearing, breathing but your topmost priority is your patient….from changing their bedsheets, suctioning, feeding, positioning, treatment to file maintenance, exchanging information with seniors on phones, all have to be done by you “the warrior”. Suddenly a patient’s heart rate drops and its CODE BLUE…chaos is created, procedures of CPR begin but unfortunately life game ends! Believe it or not, it is so depressing that with all efforts made you can’t save the life of your patient. Now we have to Inform seniors, write a death report, pack the person whom you met in the morning which is now a body to you. You label it…it is packed in layers as it is contagious even after the death. It’s 2:30 PM, now my shift is over & handover has been done. It is a sigh of relief as I finally have to doff off the PPE in which I was sweating and suffocating for last 6-7 hours continuously. Doffing is one procedure which takes around 20 to 25 minutes to take off all the layers you were in. I took a warm bath and then got to see the pride on my face as the marks are graved in my skin. Now I am are free to have water and food and free to use the washroom. However, I am not done yet as it was only the first day…the cycle has to go on and on till there are no cases. Now it’s my personal time for my family and my baby & my husband through a video call or calls. I didn’t talk to my 2-year-old baby for one week and it was the first time I left her for so long…tears start rolling from eyes when I see them on video call but can’t say a single word…but I am telling my family that I am fine but you don’t even know if you are sick as you are taking care of patients & being with them for the whole day.
It may seem to be a story but this is the reality of every nurse who is on duty right now. You have to keep working with many hours of dehydration, without water and food, you have seen your family from a distance to protect them from any infection and the foremost thing you have to do is to protect yourself from the Virus. New cases are rising with great speed every day…health workers are getting sick too by working for long hours in PPE and getting infected in the work areas. We have to work hard with a stable mind and body with positive vibes that this pandemic will end soon & keep believing that we will win over it with our Nobel work and pride.
Kiran Yadav working as a nursing officer in Jai Prakash Narayan Trauma Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. She worked for more than a decade in the nursing profession emergency room. She completed a Diploma in Nursing from GTB hospital, Delhi and Post Basic BSc Nursing from RAKCoN through IGNOU. She is passionate about teaching, She worked in emergency nursing and sine eight months shifted to academic section within emergency department.