May 17, 2021 8:19:42 am
Since February last year, PGI has been the second home of Senior Nursing Officer, Lalita Das, who has spent most of her days and nights in the operation theatre for COVID patients, with no holidays and rare weekly offs.
The 47-year-old, who has been a part of the institute since 1998, for more than a year now, has been combatting the ever-changing face of the virus and the resultant change in treatment strategies that senior doctors suggest. There are mixed emotions that envelop Das, as she talks about the role of her colleagues, seniors and herself in these trying times, admitting that the fear of the ‘unknown’ was all-consuming when the pandemic began.
“We knew nothing about Covid-19, and the only reason why we have been able to fight it, is because of exceptional team effort and commitment of everyone here. I remember, I was suddenly told to report on duty to the operation theatre of the Covid Hospital, for emergency surgeries for positive patients, a 24-hour facility. There were days when I had just reached home, and was called back to work, reporting at 3 am, with most of us continuing to work, without taking any meal breaks. Work in the OT is a coordinated effort, even if one person is missing, the surgery cannot happen. Also, we are responsible for getting proper instruments, medicines, essentials for surgery, before the doctors step in for the surgery. It is a high-stress environment, where every minute is precious, and every person has to be quick, keep one’s cool and continue to work with sometimes the bare minimum, as there were suddenly so many patients to attend to. After all, it is a matter of a human life,” shares Das.
With staff shortage, especially nurses, as many were infected, Das says the constant endeavour is to look out for each other, pitch in for colleagues in times of need and make sure everyone is healthy and in good spirits. She says, ensuring that everyone is taking proper precautions and getting a breather has become a part of their routine.
“Sometimes, we just need someone to talk to and listen to us. It is a blessing that despite being at the centre of the action, I have not been infected, and I look at it as God’s grace, so that we continue to serve with love and the best of our intentions. I miss having some free moments at home, spending time with family and children, who have taken over the responsibility of the house, so I can work without any tension,” smiles Das, who lives in Kharar, and belongs to Dehradun.
She agrees that there were days of fatigue and mental tiredness and she didn’t feel like stepping out of bed, but with support and encouragement of seniors, her spirit has been high. “In January-February, we were hoping to go back to our departments, but the second wave changed all plans, and we are back to coping with many emergency situations, with now two OTs for Covid patients. Reflecting on this period, I can just say that few of us are given a chance to serve, and our job as human beings is to do it with our heart. I look at it as a gift, for I have been chosen to serve. ”
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