Tan Tock Seng Hospital Nurse & Partner Forego Wedding To Work As Coronavirus Frontliners
We’ve seen what our healthcare workers have to go through amidst the coronavirus outbreak, but nothing beats a personal account.
A nurse on the coronavirus frontline at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) shared just how challenging the situation can be, giving everyone an intimate insight.
His Instagram post on Saturday (8 Feb) garnered thousands of likes and attention from the public.
Here’s what he had to say.
Fighting the virus is like entering a war zone
Instagram user Benjamin didn’t sugarcoat things from the start.
He told everyone the fact as it is, that life as a frontliner “sucks”. Likening heading to the hospital to entering a “war zone”, he shared the pain of kissing his loved ones goodbye before leaving for work.
Once at the hospital, he gears up for ‘battle’, putting on every form of protection possible:
You wear face shield/ goggles / N95 some even wear PAPR at work, trust me it ain’t easy to breath wearing any of those (N95 & PAPR) and with all that protection on, u work quick and fast, catching your breath with every step u make because LIVE MATTERS.
Benjamin emphasises the importance of protective equipment to prevent contact with the virus, while ensuring that no traces of it stays on him when he returns home.
A PAPR is a Powered Air Purifying Respirator which filters the air around the wearer and supplies it back through a hood.
Occupational health and safety journal Health & Safety Matters describes the PAPR as a “vacuum cleaner in reverse”.
No annual leave for frontline nurses
Having all the protective gear on for long hours not only leaves nurses sweaty and breathless, but also marks them with ‘battle scars’ on their faces.
Even sadder is that after going through all the trouble, nurses still get their annual leaves frozen, according to Benjamin.
Working on the frontline puts them at risk of infection, and for that reason, they also can’t leave the country.
To add salt to the wound, Benjamin and his partner, who is also a frontline staff, had to cancel their wedding reception because of work.
The hospital desperately needs them to “fight the war”, and they wholeheartedly obliged.
Nurses are humans too
At the end of a long shift, nurses shower to properly disinfect themselves before donning their uniform again and returning home.
However, since the outbreak, their regular commutes have become yet another battlefront as they face undue criticisms from strangers.
Possibly speaking on behalf of all nurses, Benjamin relates their typical ordeal:
People raise their voice at u saying u bring germs/ virus with u, that u are infecting other people and that u are INCONSIDERATE but u just be quiet and leave the train or bus because u are tired after work too tired to explain ur situation.
The paranoia surrounding the coronavirus has truly brought out the worst in some people, and our nurses have somehow fallen victim.
Surely they don’t deserve such horrid treatment for the sacrifices they have made.
Respect for frontline staff at Tan Tock Seng & other hospitals
Even as we concern ourselves with safeguarding our own health in this time of crisis, there’s no need to shun others — especially front line staff who put their lives on the line for the sake of everyone else’s.
If anything, now is the time for us to unite and fight the virus together, so we can overcome the outbreak as a nation.
Let’s appreciate and respect our healthcare workers, because without them, we’d probably be struggling to get by.