A nurse’s experience during Covid times

Debasish Chattopadhyay

Kolkata: Jomy P Mathews, who is one of the nurses in the Covid-19 ward Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, Kolkata
And has recently experienced the “satisfaction” of making an elderly patient with cancer and many other co-morbidities free of Corona Virus and sending him home.
Speaking of her work in the ward on a day sandwiched between Mother’s Day and International Nurses’ Day, she said that she had learnt of the satisfaction one gets from nursing a sick person back to health from her mother, who is an ANM nurse.
The 68-year-old male patient from Silchar in Assam had been admitted to Apollo for treatment of buccal carcinoma, a cancer of the oral cavity but tests had revealed that he was Covid positive and that had landed him in Jomy’s ward.
The man had a history of gall bladder cancer, coronary bypass surgery and high blood sugar, which made him a high-risk patient. But thankfully the patient remained stable throughout his hospital stay. “He had been prescribed anti-viral tablets, Vitamin C and antibiotics. He was on diabetic diet. Whenever we took medicines to him or he was given food he would cooperate with us. Finally, he tested negative for Covid-19 on two consecutive days and was discharged last week,” said the girl from Malappuram in Kerala.
She describes the difficulties of wearing a PPE throughout six-hour shifts in the covid ward. “It becomes difficult to breathe with the three layers of masks — an N95 mask with surgical masks on either side. I sweat excessively and get thirsty but, of course, you cannot drink water or use the washroom, the googles get foggy and I can’t see properly. The first two or three days were especially tough and then I got used to this new normal.”
“But when a patient recovers and goes home and especially if it is someone like this elderly man who had so many comorbidities, you feel it is worth the effort, after all.”
After passing her class XII, Jomy went to Maulana College of Nursing in Perinthalmanna, which was in her home state but 200km from home, for her BSc Nursing programme. She said that she had imbibed the love for caring for those who are unwell from her mother, who is an ANM and a junior nurse in a public health institute.
“It is a wonderful feeling to be able to make a difference,” Jomy says with smiling eyes from beneath a mask.
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