A tribute to our patients, colleagues and ourselves!

It’s now a year since COVID - 19 arrived to blight our health and lives. A wild virus from Wuhan wielded the first wave; now, a virulent and vicious variant violates our life through this second wave. This time around, the confrontation is even more painful and poignant as we see younger people falling under the wheels of this tiny, just a wispy strand of RNA, yet a powerful juggernaut.

About what we are going through together, in this pandemic world

People tried to avoid coming under those relentlessly rolling wheels, and to stay away from the tsunami the wave grew into, by masking and sanitizing their hands. They also practiced the third mantra, of social distancing; they quarantined or self–isolated themselves from their kith and kin.

But when they fell ill, they became close to us. You do not quarantine yourself from your health-carer, and they do not isolate themselves away from you. You and we become shadows of each other on the lonesome floors of the Isolation ward and the ICU.

When you need us to nurse you, and take care of you, through the long and dark tunnel this disease has become, we walk with you, we share the uncertainly and the unseen danger, till we both emerge together into the light at the end. We are isolated together; we face the same risk to our lives.

Who are this “we” who are walking with you, isolated in your cocoon with you? It is every face you see as you come in – at the reception desk, pharmacy, housekeeping, pantry service, and almost everyone, doctor, nurse and technician, who is present to witness that journey.

Working long hours, night and day, for your sake is not new for us. But now, the effort is huge, the task is mammoth, and the risk, that looms like a mountain, is massive. There is an air of constant urgency in the air, the ambulances are always on the run, sirens wailing. The phones ring and ping round the clock; often we lose all sense of time. Beds are in constant demand, not for resting and recuperating, but for staying alive on oxygen. While that search is on, Emergency stabilizes and holds them. More wards are found, with more beds with an oxygen life line. “Critical Care” beds seem to grow and grow in number, and all around, so much so that you begin to feel that you are living, and working, inside a kaleidoscope.

Every engine in the hospital- wards, labs, clinics- seems to be on 'full steam ahead!', on overdrive, serving patients, not only those who are fighting this highly infectious disease but also every one whose lives are threatened by a host of diseases that have come as a permanent dark shadow hovering over their lives, and are now collectively known as ‘Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). The strangest specter about COVID has been, or in Shakespeare’s words, the “unkindest cut of all”, has been that these NCDS, captained by Diabetes, and its team players - obesity, high blood pressure, chronic kidney, liver, lung, heart and brain and nervous system diseases, and cancer, have all become huge risk factors that abet Covid to commit its crime on the human body.

This pandemic time has also drastically and dramatically changed the way we work, though the quality of care remains the same, at a very high level of refinement. While on earth, we dress like those in space who shields themselves from aliens. We need to suit up and wear personal protective gear. They look fanciful but are highly restrictive and uncomfortable, from the heat and dehydration. Communication is difficult, even recognition of a colleague is challenging. You do not drink, eat or visit the toilet for long hours in that suit. You feel at once distant and alone inside that suit, with an acute sense of claustrophobia, but never mind, the “the work goes on”, the care continues, ‘vitals’ are measured and recorded, the consultant comes along, also suited, to assess the patient, the team formulates a care plan and then we meet and reassure the family. The ‘habit’ grows on you; soon it becomes a part of life and the whole of work

Amidst all this we do fall sick, which is inevitable. But we bounce back. Care has to go on, it is a commitment that is continuous.

Time to talk about our nurses, our Brave Hearts who break our hearts by always facing the longest hours of exposure; they need to be around the patients in one ward or other, all the time, round the clock., and lend a hand when other wards ask for help. In their eyes we see no fear of falling sick; the hope and opportunity to make someone better keeps them going, with great positivity.

Alas, they, and all of us, do breakdown and get shattered when a patient, on a phase of recovery suddenly deteriorates, a crash and calamity Covid is infamous for.

If you happen to have a friend who is a hospital nursing and supporting staff, for sure you will know what they are going through. It’s almost a war zone where the world is fighting against the an invisible and deadly enemy. Nobody is spared.

When one battle is won and, after a long fight, the smile on the face of the patient when getting discharged is priceless. It’s a reward for the whole team. All that they expect is kindness to be expressed; give them your appreciation in words which will make them feel good for all the sleepless nights, and the care they showered.

You and us, we just want this to end; no more waves, no more lockdown, no more quarantine.

Vaccine is the only shield; make your home a safe haven, fall not an easy prey when you are out in the community, or are at work.

The Vaccine works best with mask, social distancing and hand sanitation.

You can be a warrior but do not be a carrier of infection to others. If you are ill, help others by isolating at home, and make sure that you do not infect your loved ones.

Be wary about the misinformation and disinformation going around. They are often worse and more vicious than the virus.

Trust your medical fraternity who is with you in person rather than a "WhatsApp forward" which tells you it is a 'must be read' and 'to be forwarded to all!' We are here to help, to make you get better. Let us serve you with what we have been taught, trained and perfected, to serve you with care, competence and compassion.

It’s an honor to be in this profession, as we are able to serve you all our life.

To paraphrase the three thoughts that are enshrined on the portals of a great institution of learning:

The safety, welfare and comfort of our patient comes first, always and every time

The Medical and Nursing Sciences that we learned, and acquired skills in and practiced, come next

Our own safety, comfort and welfare come last, always and every time.

That is the credo, by which we live.

Dr. Mahalakshmi Kaliyamoorthy

Dr. Mahalakshmi Kaliyamoorthy
Kauvery Hospital, Chennai


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04-06-2021 11:23:07am

#1 Lekha

Yes..though the pandemic has changed the way the healthcare workers work, the quality of care should always be the same. Thanks!

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01-06-2021 07:06:51pm

#2 Balambal Arunachalam

Salute to you and your medical fraternity. Without your hardship it would be very difficult to come out of this pandemic. I

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