• Kimmy Pang

Coping with the Pandemic

Fear of the unknown

Myself and everyone else working to deliver essential public services don't get the same luxury of working from home. But we keep going because we need to. We put ourselves at risk because we have to. So yes, it frustrates me seeing those who can stay away from the risk, put themselves at risk; and even worse, carry it home to their families.

I get that it can get boring just staying at home. And for younger adults, the risk of being seriously ill from COVID-19 is lower. BUT, please make no mistake, you are NOT invulnerable.

Amidst the outbreak, people are bound to get sick. First-hand experience of working in a hospital, paranoia gets to everyone. I've seen ward staff members in tears because they were caring for patients who suddenly tested positive. People afraid to even grab door handles or touch surfaces. But we do have a right to be extra cautious, because we know we can't risk infecting other sick patients, and other healthcare professionals (seeing the state we're in now).

The upcoming weeks may get tougher as we struggle to find staff to cover because of those going into self-isolation (and that seems to be the case for most services which are still running). But I'm remaining hopeful in the outcome of drug trials that are taking place to tackle this virus. All we can do now is wait, and do our best to prevent the spread.

I wash my hands so much that I practically feel like I have no moisture left in them. Before using the workspace, I disinfect keyboards and surfaces to avoid coming into contact with the virus. The toughest part is no face-touching. The more conscious effort I put into it, the more my eyes and nose itch. It's the most annoying feeling.. not being able to scratch an itch. My belongings (water bottle and pens) that come into contact with a hard surface gets cleaned thoroughly with alcohol wipes. If you think I'm being extra, think again. I'm making a choice to play my part in avoiding the spread of the virus within the hospital.

Did you know that you can present with zero symptoms and still be a carrier and infect others? For some, they can come out of it fully recovered within a week of being quarantined. For others, it's a life or death situation; or living with permanently damaged lungs.

It's so upsetting seeing how sick these patients are.. Hooked up to machines helping them to breathe. Every hour is a fight for their lives. Seeing the dispirited expressions of colleagues after leaving these patient’s cubicles breaks you a little. And still day by day, we hold onto the hope of some good news, hoping that by some miracle these patients would make it.

So, if you're thinking "I don't care if I get it or not", stop for a second and think about everyone else but yourself. Think about the people who are dying or those who are fighting for their lives because they're not as fit and healthy as you are.

Your grandparents were called to war. You're being called to sit on the couch. I'm sure you can do it!

The past few weeks have been manic. I've seen the worst in people - irrationally stockpiling like it's an apocalypse, leaving nothing left for the vulnerable, elderly and the people working their butts off. Although there's enough food and supplies if everyone just buys enough for their own household, that doesn't stop them from clearing out stores. Surely that much food will go bad in no time and it's all going to be wasted?

But even in tough times, the best in people still shine through.

Large grocery stores started declaring special opening times for just healthcare workers (because they can barely get any groceries by the time they get off work). And even then, usual grocery shopping times of 20-30 minutes become 2 hours of queueing just to get into the store and make payment. But, I'm not complaining because at least I'm stocked up now. Kind souls offering spare groceries to others who could barely get any. Words of affirmation and small tokens of gifts, thanking those who have been struggling in this crisis. It really is heartwarming to know that you can still have faith in humanity (':

I've cancelled my trips to London for now so my weekends are free for me to catch up on sleep and all the things I've been wanting to do. With travel bans and government-imposed quarantines, it really gives you a new perspective on life. I'm fully appreciating the time I have on my hands and using it to be productive; and if not, finally I get to catch up on the movies and series that I've always wanted to watch. Since I've started colouring, I'm also putting more time into painting so there's that too. Gym's closed but there's always home workouts. It's definitely not the end of the world if you're stuck at home, just pick up on all the things you've always wanted to do but were too busy to. Yeah, it's not the ideal situation you want to be in, but I'm sure if you put some creative thought and flexibility into it, there's always another option.

Just remember everyone is in this fight together. So stay safe, stay sane, be positive and be rational (:

Thanks for staying till the end!

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Much love xx

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