“I had a patient who was very sick a few weekends back. She was COVID positive – I knew she was going to test positive the moment I took over her care. She was so scared. She didn’t want me to leave the room. I felt so bad. I’m a nurse – I’m supposed to be there. She wanted to hold my hand and keep me by her bedside, but I couldn’t stay near her for long. I went home and could not sleep. I couldn’t comfort her in her time of need. All she wanted was my comfort.
“Am I going to die?” she asked me. I said I didn’t know, even though I knew. Till today, I cannot forget what I experienced.
Normally, we sit down and hold the hands of our patients. Here, we drop off a dinner or check vitals quickly, as distantly as we can, and leave. How can we show how much we care? The toughest part of the last few weeks is seeing how helpless we are in trying to support our patients. It’s hard to see someone breathless and in pain, and not be able to do anything more to help them. It’s traumatic, for us and for them.
My family is really scared. I have little kids. They normally climb all over me and hug me when I come home. I’m the only parent at home.
I go home and tell them, no hugging – they haven’t hugged me since the pandemic started. They just motion heart signs to me to show me their love.
I go upstairs, shower and don’t talk to them till I’m clean, and that too, at a distance. That’s tough for them, especially the little ones, and for me.
This reminds me a little bit of SARS. I was one of the RNs taking care of SARS patients. But this is different. So many people are dying, and the infection is spreading so rapidly. I feel much more scared now. It is paralyzing.”