Sisters of Mercy: Wiping off tears and getting back to work

BHOPAL: Like a pitiless monster, the coronavirus is consuming thousands of lives every day. Its victims come from all age groups and all socio-economic strata. They include health workers, as well as their families and kin. But forgetting their personal loss, the doctors, nurses and other health personnel have to attend to the call of duty. They have to wipe off their tears and get back to work.

On the eve of the International Nurses Day, Free Press spoke to some nurses in the city who have lost their loved ones to the pandemic. They said they did not allow their personal grief to come in the way of their duty to serve the patients. They are aware that, in terrible times such as these, they can make the difference between life and death for many. Excerpts:

Canít afford to sit and mourn

Seven of my family members have been devoured by the second wave of Covid. The latest to pass away was my father. He died around 8 pm on May 10 at the ICU in JP Hospital, just two hours after the end of my duty there. Earlier, on May 4, my fatherís elder brother had died at JP Hospital and, on the same day, my mother-in-law had succumbed at a hospital in Betul. Iíve been in the nursing profession for the past 30 years, but Iíve never witnessed such scenes. My father died at 88 but another relative of mine, in his thirties, also fell prey to the contagion. Iíll take leave for two days to do the death rituals of my father. Iíll rejoin duty on May 12. At such times, I canít afford to sit and mourn my losses. I have to do whatever I can to save others.- Chhabi Bais, JP Hospital

Canít keep away from work

I couldíve joined the teaching profession, but my father wanted me to become a nurse and that was my dream, too. My elder sister was an ANM (auxiliary nurse midwife) and was posted at Chhindwara. Both my parents are no more. My sister was like my mother. She was deployed in the work of screening of the general population for identifying Covid patients. In September last year, she got infected. I brought her to Bhopal and got her admitted to JP Hospital. On September 19, I shifted her to AIIMS. On October 2, I received a call that sheís no more. I, myself, had also turned corona-positive. I was in isolation for two weeks. I think that a tragedy in our homes cannot be an excuse for us to keep away from work. Itís nurses who look after the patients round the clock.- Silviya Lal, JP Hospital, Bhopal

I'm one of the chosen few

About 10 days ago, my father passed away at Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh. Covid wasnít the reason. But I couldn't attend his funeral because of my duty in the Covid ward here. I couldnít look after him in his last days. I have a five-year-old child. He often gets irritated because he has to stay separate from me. But these things matter little. God doesnít give everyone the opportunity to serve the ailing. He gives it to the chosen few. I canít disregard my duty for it would be going against Godís wish. Christ gave his life for us. We, too, ought to give our lives for others. If anything happens to me while serving the sick, my Lord will take care of me.- Smriti Pedia, Hamidia Hospital

Only the call of duty matters

I've lost both my parents to Covid. They lived in Betul. Last year, we went to Betul to celebrate Christmas with them. It was there that it was discovered that they both were Covid-positive. We brought them to Bhopal and admitted them to Hamidia Hospital. After about 15 days, they passed awayómy mother on January 9 and my father a day later. Whenever I pass by the block where they breathed their last, I canít control my tears. My two-year-old son also turned positive. But duty is duty and you have to do it.- Gracelata Singh, Hamidia Hospital

Can't ignore duty for family

My younger sister, a staff nurse, was posted in Chhindwara. She caught the ailment. We brought her to Bhopal on April 23 and admitted her to JP Hospital. However, she couldnít be saved. She passed away three days later. My husband has turned positive and is in home isolation. One of my children is autistic and requires additional care. All this is there. But that doesnít mean I can ignore my duty.- Nutan Sharma, JP Hospital

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