“Am I exposed to COVID-19?”, is the feeling that comes in my mind after every shift. Not just because I fear for myself but because I fear for my aging parents more.
Today my country Nepal is one of the worst hit nations in the world. Seeing my patients die, seeing one of my beloved professors along with many other front liners succumb to Covid-19, I stand feeling so handicapped because there’s nothing much I can do as a front liner.
I work in one of the hospitals in Lalitpur district of Nepal and witness COVID wards, COVID-ICUs and cabins being filled up rapidly on a daily basis. In the past three weeks, Nepal’s daily case trajectory has only shot up, with stats reporting every two out of five people tested now returning positive.
Knowing that the pandemic is in its most severe form, it requires much more strength and resilience to work all day long especially cooped up in the PPE suit, sweating, and starving. Duties for us just doesn’t end in hospitals, even after coming back home from such devastating sights, I get to hear that one of my relatives died and the other one requires a ventilator urgently. Just when in the process of coping after turning away patients due to lack of oxygen and ventilator throughout the day, it does really hit you hard when you have to turn down your own family. You start to ponder upon your own capabilities as a front liner. Not to forget the social media, adding up to the stress and frustration not just for me but the entire family. Every time my mother hears that a front liner died she will look at me, won’t say much, just ask if I’m taking proper measures to keep myself safe but I can see the pain, the fear in her eyes every single time I leave my house. It’s definitely shattering to see my parents fear for my life every day.
Every day, I along with the other front liners must choose between staying home as a responsible son or serving the nation in urgent need, and every day we choose to be the latter. Not that we regret it a bit, but we too are humans and sometimes it just gets too overwhelming.
Therefore, I humbly request everyone to stay home & remember your safety is in your hands. Together we can and we will overcome this.
Dr. Samyam Bickram Pathak (MBBS)
KIST Medical College and Teaching Hospital