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Wednesday , 1 December 2021

A day in the life of a COVID healthcare worker

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By Jasmin Salegumba-Ong
Disability Service Manager of Yooralla

Please spare a thought and prayer to all our healthcare workers and frontliners. Please follow social distancing and mask and hand hygiene.

I have been tasked to look after COVID individuals since Thursday last week and it is just a matter of time before I get it (or not). I must say I am not feeling 100% these days and I’ll get my test tomorrow. I am double vaxxed but still, I am worried. No matter how careful I am, my immunity can weaken because I am too scared to remove my PPE to eat or drink.

I work a minimum of 13 hours a day due to a shortage of staff. Staff are too scared to come to work sometimes because of the increasing number of COVID cases lately. My personal journey with COVID individuals

It takes at least 20 to 30 minutes or maybe more before I can get myself ready at work upon my arrival with full PPE, QR code, and handover. Just going to the toilet, I need to remove my PPE and start all over again so I think, just forget it! I can wait until I get home. I am thirsty, hungry but just the thought of putting it back on makes me wonder, perhaps leave it! I’ll get my drink when I drive home and this is after 12 hours.

Upon arrival at home, I need to use the backyard to enter. A table is set up with surface wipes, alcohol and Glen 20. I leave all my stuff and spray them, even my personal and work phone (I wonder how long my phone lasts with the spray and alcohol?) I remove my clothes and leave them outside to wash while I keep my fingers crossed that no neighbours peep as a 58-year-old woman run naked going inside the house just to shower and scrub. (I do not want to bring my contaminated clothes inside). Well, if they do peep, Goodluck! All they can see is the body of a wrinkly saggy old woman. Well, consider the indecent exposure towards my family and grown-up sons, oh boy, what an eyesore to them! Maybe it’s best they get the practice so when I need care as an elderly one day, they will be ready for it.

Consider the water consumption just to put my clothes every night in the washing machine for 6 items. I do not want to handwash in case I got the virus. I will have my dinner at 8 pm alone. I do not want my family to wait or for me to be in close contact with them just in case I am a carrier.

Another bothersome thing is my sons getting irritated as I need them to get their COVID test as well. I myself need to get tested every second day.

After dinner, I want to rest and relax and watch TV or go to sleep but I am restless; I worry in case I get infected. If I do sleep, wake up the next day, I am already anxious about what is waiting for me or if staff cancel shifts and I will need to do extra overtime hours. I try to take supplements and do all the things I used to do to keep healthy. Would it deter and protect me from the virus? No, because my immunity weakens because of no sleep, no food and working more hours.

I am not complaining and I love my job. The smiles I get from the individuals for whom I provide support are far more appreciated and for which I am grateful. All I am saying is, cmon guys! Don’t become complacent. It is the frontliners and healthcare workers who need to endure this complexity of PPE and support in a caring environment. Have pity, we don’t earn millions to do this job. Whilst others enjoy their freedom, we healthcare/frontliners are more vigilant than ever because we know, there are people out there who will be careless and more cases will be added. Be smart and have mercy because if you or your family do get sick, it is us who will look after you. Just saying………………… Stay safe everyone!🥰

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