Honestly, when all of us nurses were called for service to the hospital to fight COVID-19, I was scared. I have two daughters and a husband at home, who’s health I was concerned about. At that point, my 4th grader was naively just happy that her exams were cancelled and my other daughter was paranoid that I’d catch the virus — she begged me to not report. All I could do at that point was assure her that I’d be okay, because when duty calls, you show up — there’s no plan B. So my husband took over the house and I left for work.
Even getting to the hospital was a challenge, because the risk in taxis was so large. So my husband drove me, but that put him at risk. The other nurses and I decided to carpool, but soon we realised that it was best for us to just stay at the hospital.
I still remember the first day — between admitting patients, allocating beds and calming down panicked patients… it was like a war zone; we didn’t even get a minute to rest. But the hardest thing we had to do was keep families apart. I was handling a couple from Pune who was begging me to leave to go home to their children — but I just couldn’t let them leave. It was heartbreaking.
I thought of my own children and how much I missed them — it had been 5 days since I’d been home last. My daughter’s kept calling to make sure I had my mask on or was eating, but even those calls lasted a few seconds.
There was so much to be done that we had to work extra shifts — we kept morale high by sending each other motivational messages. One of the nurses left at 6am and returned at 9am because a new batch of travellers had arrived — she worked until midnight again that night. But all of it is worth it when we see the look of relief on our patient’s faces when they test negative. Just last week this group of travellers literally thanked us with folded hands for taking care of them — in these situations, I always just say it’s our first and only duty to serve.
These are trying times, but we will get through them together. Believe only credible sources for information, take our instructions seriously and please stay at home. Help us by not getting out unless it’s for essentials or if there’s an emergency.
And once this is all over, we will all celebrate. You celebrate with your friends and family and us nurses will celebrate with ours — we can do it together, by just being home alone.”
Reproduced from Humans of Bombay.