The Covid Ward at ABC Medical Centre is filled to capacity.
Healthcare workers are on their toes, all day, every day. They are required to don heavy Personal Protective Equipment every time they set foot into the Covid Ward. They sweat profusely in their multi layered attire, besides developing painful abrasions on their bodies. However, they continue to don the equipment day after day and night after night. Every time they enter the Covid Ward, they risk their own health. But none of these challenges stop them from going in there and attending to those inflicted with the corona virus.
Apart from healthcare workers, staff from food/beverage and housekeeping services also don the Personal Protective Equipment and enter the Covid Ward at regular intervals through the day.
The Covid Ward is currently one of the most tense and action packed environments in the hospital. The stories unfolding here are as numbered as the variety of patients it houses. Some stories have the potential to build hearts while others can break them.
Scene at Room #1
The doctor and nurse on morning rounds enter Room #1. The patient, a young woman, is found sitting in bed with her mask off. When the staff walk in, she shows no sign of putting the mask on.
Doctor : "Ms X, could you please wear your mask?"
Patient : "Doctor, the mask feels terrible. I cannot put it on any more."
Doctor : "I understand. However, as a precautionary measure, it is important that you have the mask on, at least for the time that we are in here."
Patient (irritated) : "Doctor, please understand that I am extremely uncomfortable wearing a mask."
Doctor (irritated yet calm) : "If you do not wear your mask and we end up contracting the virus, we will not be able to come and check on you. I hope you understand."
Finally, the message gets across to the patient and she reluctantly wears her mask.
Did she put the mask on only for fear of not having anyone attend to her? Or did she truly care about not passing on the virus to others?
Can we as humans be considerate of others?
If healthcare workers can wear suffocating uncomfortable attire round the clock to care for us, can we also wear a mask to protect them as well as others around us?
Scene at Room #2
Upon entering Room #2, the doctor and nurse are greeted by a warm and cheerful middle aged male patient.
patient is diabetic and developed associated complications. He needed to be monitored in the Intensive Care
Unit for several days. He
recuperated well and was moved to the ward a few hours ago.
Doctor : "How are you doing today Mr Y?"
Patient (tired yet smiling) : "Doctor, I am doing good and feeling better. Thank you for everything all of you did for me. I feel so blessed that I could make it."
Doctor : "So glad you're doing well!"
Patient : "Thank you is all I can say!"
Can we humans discover the capacity for gratitude that the heart holds?
Despite being in a dark place physically, mentally and emotionally, this patient made an effort to look for the silver lining. He also expressed his gratitude to the healthcare workers who applied their expertise to help him get better.
Scene at Room #3
A young lad from food and beverage services is on his morning rounds in the Covid Ward. He is serving coffee and breakfast to patients.
Serving coffee to the patient in Room #3 lands him in an unexpectedly awful situation. The patient takes a sip and tosses the coffee on the delivery boy's face.
He also yells at him-
"Hey boy! Do you call this coffee? It's cold as ice."
As the coffee drips down the delivery boy's Personal Protective Equipment, he is overcome by feelings of shock and humiliation.
His job has begun to feel rather challenging ever since Covid entered the hospital scene. He faces numerous difficulties every time he is required to bring food and beverage into the Covid Ward. The food needs to be packed in an elaborate way in order to meet safety standards, after which he must don the uncomfortable Personal Protective Equipment and go around serving multiple patients. Given all of these constraints, it is challenging to ensure service is as perfect as it would be in a non-covid space.
The head nurse steps in to calm the angry patient down. In order to avoid escalating the situation, she renders a quick apology to the patient and reassures him that the matter will be taken care of. She then takes the delivery boy aside and comforts him.
She understands the patient was unhappy about the lukewarm coffee but wonders why his frustration couldn't be put forth as a request/feedback. She hopes the incident did not crush the spirit of the young lad.
Can we as humans respect the dignity of others?
Can we understand that it is OK to feel frustrated but not to rip apart the dignity of another human being in the process?
Scene at Room #4
The patient in this room is an elderly woman. She is a cardiac patient afflicted by Covid. Though her heart isn't in the best physical shape, it is wide open and holds plenty of love and gratitude. She sees the best in everyone and this keeps her feeling light hearted and joyful. She also makes it a point to thank everyone who walks into her room - right from the doctors and nurses to the food delivery staff and the housekeeping personnel.
Her vibrant smiles and heartfelt "thank yous" warm the hearts of all who visit her space. Unfortunately, her health deteriorates and she doesn't make it.
A month after her transition comes her birth anniversary. As a token of gratitude and appreciation, the woman's children have a treat delivered to the healthcare team that had cared for their mother - a sumptuous lunch prepared with love!
Her family seems to be as open hearted as her. Though bereaved, they have accepted the reality of her transition with grace.
Can we humans recognise the light in others and also let them know that we see it?
Positive vibes are as contagious as negative vibes. As more of us begin to look for the light, the light begins to shine brighter.
Humanity cannot adopt a consciousness fuelled by hatred, judgement and mindlessness and expect the world to transform into a better place. We can create a better world only when we choose the higher consciousness of the heart and bring it into our human interactions and into all aspects of our lives.
Every story in life has the power to build a heart or to break a heart.
What we choose is up to us...
This article is inspired by true stories shared by healthcare professionals.