It is stunning how twelve months can flash by in an uneventful second. 2020 not that uneventful. It has been a year of mixed emotions for me. I have smiled, laughed, cried and felt absolute rage.
Being able to sit still, reflecting on the significant moments, good, bad, big or subtle, is always good for the soul. For it is during these contemplative minutes that I can assimilate all my encounters. Encounters which, as I move through this life, shape and define who I become.
Gratitude washes over me as I prepare to hail the new year on this crisp, winter day: I am alive and well, and so are my loved ones. Need I say more?
I had hoped by the time I pen this blog, 'rona' would have relented. Unfortunately, our invisible enemy still rages.
The disease has me ruminating over the moment when, as a frontline healthcare professional, it dawned on me, that I had to don my PPE kit and get on with it.
As nurses, we are trained to handle medical emergencies. This was a medical emergency like no other. The shift was sudden, and the fear of the unknown had my stomach, churning.
But COVID 19 had declared war on the population, and there was a job to be done. I was not being punished but merely assuming my position.
I recall the dragon ride and some of my colleagues' sentiments: 'The first morning, I had the shits. Went four times and in the end, I had to tell myself come on now. It was hard to sleep. I kept waking up and looking at the time. I felt like a corona animal,' one of them said.
I burst out laughing. Not funny. Not funny at all.
'But it was alright,' he continued. 'It's not all doom and gloom; many patients recover.'
Another felt embarrassed at first because 'I was thrown into the fire, and wasn't sure what I was doing. Also, it's a new environment, new people, everything is strange. But I always wish the patient to improve and hope my hands do something for them.'
'When I think about a shift that's going to happen tomorrow, I'm drained of energy. It's not about the work; I can work like a buffalo. It's the environment. But when I look around, I feel like I'm not alone. Everybody is there, and it's not like I'm working 24 hours,' said another.
For the doctors and nurses, and other healthcare professionals, it was an emotional rollercoaster. Still, we had an understanding: the job at hand was bigger than our trepidation.
I'm outraged by the conspiracy theories on social media. The preposterous assertion that COVID 19 is a hoax.
I hope you never have to live through the nightmare of not being able to hug or kiss your loved one (s) goodbye or attend their burial.
Your thoughtlessness is an insult to those who stood by the roadside to clap and salute departed colleagues as they took their final journey. Oh, the rage!
My heart swells with pride as I reflect on the courage with which we coped with our new reality. In addition to our undeterred spirit, the show of gratitude and constant reminders of our good deeds propelled us.
'I never want to see another pizza again. There is food everywhere,' a colleague quipped. I had never seen so many presents in my life.
The #clapforthenhs soon became a ritual. All done as a way of saying, 'thank you.'
The occasional I-don't-eat-the-clapping-I-will-still-have-peanuts-in-my-bank account outburst could be heard in the hallway. (Human beings got needs, I suppose.)
'Still, it's nice That they are doing that. It's not always about money,' said the voice of reason.
I'm reflecting, how in our workplace, messages of hope and goodwill poured, via social media and the intranet. How as colleagues, we cheered and praised one another more than we had ever done before. It was this sense of camaraderie that nourished our courage and determination.
I would have wanted my COVID reflection to be a thing of the past, but alas, this enemy won't yield. Still, there is hope at the end of the tunnel. Vaccines are being rolled out to the population, and something tells we will soon breathe a sigh of relief.
Soon, we will be able to make plans, travel and reunite with our loved ones. Soon, we won't have to live in constant fear. Soon, we will tell the story of how we overcame.
Without hope, what else is there?!