By Fida Muhammad Aman
My heartfelt condolence to the family of Daniela Trezzi, a 34-years-old Italian Nurse who committed suicide fearing that she might transmit the disease of Covid-19 to others.
Initially, I was critical of her selection of measures to curtail the spread, but now, after what happened with me in previous days, I am swayed to believe that she must have been going through some really abysmal emotional health before taking her own life.
We are eight bachelor lads living in a five-roomed apartments in Karachi. All of us are health care providers, except for two among us who are college students. We took CoVID-19 seriously and tried to agree on measures to break the chain of the infection before it creeps into our abode. The possibility of bringing it home was higher as many of us are directly exposed to confirmed CoVID-19 positive patients. Few things as preventive measures were agreed and implemented in the house to be followed by everyone.
On the 24th of April, three hours into my routine duty, one of my apartment-mates called me on my cell phone to inform me that one of our roommates had tested CoVID-19 positive. The gentleman, who tested positive, works as a Registered Nurse in one of the private hospitals. He and other staff of the unit got exposed to a patient who later turned out to be CoVID-19 positive.
There was at least 72 hours of gap between the exposure and confirmation date of the infection. Here, we must bear in mind that every patient in the hospital does not come for CoVID-19 treatment and, in some patients, the symptoms remain masked. During these 3 days, he (my CoVID-19 positive colleague) lived with us in the apartment and we shared our meal, restrooms, and our room.
On hearing the news, in split seconds, the thought of the viruses’s catastrophic spread during this unidentified time frame captured my mind, sending a chill down my spine.
I hung up the phone and remained perplexed, numb and cold. I was afraid a little for myself testing positive. What horrified me was the thought that I might have transmitted the virus to others, unknowingly, imagining myself as a potential carrier. What shattered me was the fact that in some patients the virus can create failure organ failures, even leading to death.
The feeling of infecting someone, causing the possible worst for them, including those who are very near and dear to you, put me in an emotionally draining state. It puts you in such a helpless position that you fall in the quagmire of guilt for nothing of your own doings.
I left my workplace and immediately got myself and all my roommates tested for CoVID-19.
Miraculously, all of us are negative, except one; he who was promptly isolated with the other in a comfortable facility. Praise to Allah they are completely fine. So far, both have shown no symptoms of the virus. The incident, draining, left me with few things to ponder upon:
Firstly, people associated with the health industry are at greater risk of exposure to this disease. Secondly, they are comparatively more prone to psychological trauma. For them, it is as if they are playing with a double-edged sword.
CoVID-19 is inflecting more agony by tormenting the emotional health of health care professionals. There are multiple reasons and one could be the fear of transmission to your friends and family. Imagine infecting your parents and children while being aware of the potential worst consequence. It is not easy, and it weighs tons on them. So, if any of your relatives, friends or, acquaintance works in the health industry help them emotionally, be their support and strength. Excuse them for this time if they are irritating you or turning you crazy, because they are stressed out, overworked and emotionally tired. On top of that, they have gone through and still wrestling with things that you have never imagined doing or seeing in front of you. Remember! This is our fight and together we must tackle it. Never confuse yourself to get away with the repercussions of this pandemic. This is neither a question nor an option for any human being on the planet. So, own your share of the burden, be on our side and shoulder us emotionally. Keep in mind! It’s tough, its hard and its painstaking and together being one another’s strength, we will prove tougher, harder and much stronger.
Let’s affirm together, with the firmest of our hope and faith that one day we will reach to the light on the other end of the tunnel and it is very near Insha Allah! May Allah help us in our endeavors. Ameen.
P.S. The rule of the fight is to not let this affirmation get blurred.
The contributor is a Registered Nurse from Chitral. He is currently based in Karachi.