Pune: Jitters went down her spine as soon as she arrived at her workplace for evening shift. This Pune-based nurse had been in the field for some time now, yet the case she received on March 9 made her numb. It was the first case of coronavirus in Maharashtra, a deadly disease, till then known to have wrecked havoc in China and had made inroads in Kerala.
"It was 7:45 in the evening when those test reports came. I was about to take charge of my night shift duty at 8 o'clock. Covid-19 positive — the report was showing and I shook from inside. It was the first coronavirus positive couple from Maharashtra and I was alone as a nurse in the night to take care of them and telling them about the report," Deepali Pingle Kamthe, a coronavirus warrior nurse, told News18.
The patients were a Pune couple, who had returned from Dubai.
Deepali Pingle works for Pune Municipal Corporation's Dr Naidu Hospital since last 10 years. "I'd handled patients of TB and HIV daily till then, but this deadly virus is new and I'd heard a lot about the dangerous covid-19 situation abroad. We were shown a few YouTube Videos as well during our training before Covid-19 isolation ward shift started."
"My duty was at the suspected corona isolation ward and the first ever positive reports were in my hands. For the fraction of second my own home, my 5 year old son Avdhut came in front of eyes, but the next second I prepared myself to serve those 2 patients", the nurse recollects while speaking on phone.
Both the patients treated by Deepali and other nursing staff at Naidu are now healthy and discharged from the hospital a fortnight ago with Covid-19 report coming negative.
Deepali said that, she was scared at first but her family along with husband Ramesh Pingle gave her the support and strength. She was concerned about her son. "But very maturely Avdhut - my son himself told me - 'Don't worry about me mommy. I will stay at Mama's Maternal Uncle) place. You go ahead.' His words gave me the real strength to go for my duty and fight the situation", Deepali said.
Deepali is away from her only son since more than a month now. She has left him with her mother. 'This kind of quarantining is necessary when we are exposing daily to coronavirus', Deepali says. Her sister is another Corona warrior, as she is in service of Pune Municipal Corporation and is out on surveying Coronavirus spread in the city.
Challenges with PPE Kit
Deepali also states how challenging is the situation to work with the PPE suit for 12 hour long shift. "We cannot remove the 2 layered suit frequently. We have to wear a double mask protection while we work at isolation ward. We can't even breathe properly in that layered protection. I can't even sip a cup of tea or even water for hours."
"My left leg is swollen as it was operated recently. Donning the plastic layered suit in the scorching heat is not easy in this situation. I just want to share these experiences with your audience so that they should not leave home. Stay safe, stay home and don't violet lock down. We are working here for you. Please do a bit for ourselves and for us", Deepali urges.