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How Working In A Covid Ward Has Changed My Outlook Towards Life, A Doctor Writes

Representative photo.

Representative photo.

I value people in my life more than before: our families, friends and people who we see every day. We should treasure each moment we get to spend with them.

This pandemic has been a weird yet important learning period of my life. Over the months, I realised how working in a Covid ward has changed my outlook towards life. I value people in my life more than before: our families, friends and people who we see every day. We should treasure each moment we get to spend with them. But, being a young doctor, all these deaths and unfortunate losses around us have taken their toll. I feel stressed and drained off energy.

The hectic work means I miss a lot of my meals. I don’t have any fixed schedule, which has brought a lot of change in my lifestyle. Being a doctor, we are trained to care for lives without really worrying about the supply of  important equipment and medicines that assist in the care. This pandemic has opened my eyes on the importance of efficiency in caregiving in order to ensure that the maximum number of lives can be saved.

There are so many people battling for their lives. Families are being torn apart and lives of many young kids are being devastated due to the loss of a family member. Some patients are the sole breadwinners for their families. In one instance, I met a father and his son who were admitted for Covid treatment. While the father recovered, his son died. I still am unable to fathom what the father must be going through. It is all very heart-breaking. Losing patients under my care now feels like losing a member of my family; it gets to me every single time. Even after witnessing so many deaths from Covid, each new death’s emotional impact has remained constant — and extremely sad.

Relatives in some cases request us not to resuscitate patients or choose non-aggressive treatments, in an attempt to avoid hurting their loved ones further. We, doctors, empathise with the families, grieve with them for their losses. I have held the hands of all my patients when their conditions have taken a turn for the worse, and tried to joke and make them smile — anything that can help ease their pain and suffering even if it is for a short time. Patients have to be constantly motivated. As a doctor, it is our duty to try and make them feel better emotionally and help them heal mentally.

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Most patients undergoing treatment are away from their families for days. It is painful to see them lonely because visitors are not allowed in Covid wards.

They hug me and tell me their dreams, troubles and worries. I feel glad to be their friend even if it is just for some days. I have had patients holding my hands and asking me — their eyes filled with tears: “I will not be able to survive, na?”. In such moments, I really am unable to find any word to respond, but we still have to remain positive and work harder to save lives.

Breaking the bad news to the relatives of patients is the most difficult part of my job.

Loss of life of a dear family member or a friend is often incomprehensible, especially when it happens suddenly. We have had so many instances where relatives have turned to aggression and picked fights with doctors and hospital staff.

The best we can do is counsel relatives to help them understand the situation better, help them understand that we tried our very best. Many a times, relatives are unable to express.

Doctors everywhere are doing the best they can to save as many lives from Covid as possible. Now, with the inoculation drive rolling out, we can envision some sort of an end to this pandemic. I am confident that we will come out victorious over this pandemic, and there will be a realistic change in the way we look and tackle healthcare henceforth. To other doctors and healthcare workers who are in a similar situation, keep up the brave work you are doing.

Personal Problems:

  • I have to constantly wear a (N95) mask. This has caused rashes and pimples on my face.
  • Improper dietary habits have caused me to gain a lot of weight.
  • I feel very exhausted after completion of my duty. There is hardly any time for personal errands or for any social calls. I do not have time to connect with my friends over social media as well.
  • My mental health has suffered a lot. It is depressing to see so much death and broken families all around me.
  • Whenever I get some time, I try to connect to check with my old friends and relatives.

My message (please…):

  • Follow social distancing.
  • Keep a positive attitude.
  • Spend as much time as possible with your loved ones.
  • Cherish your relationships while the people are alive.
  • Take occasional breaks from work to do what makes you happy.
  • Health is of utmost importance, give it priority.
  • Live every moment to the fullest, it might be the only time you have left to live.
Disclaimer:Dr Nida Sarfaraj is an Assistant to Physician at Global Hospitals in Parel, Mumbai.

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