“I am a front line staff and this is my story.”
Benjamin, a nurse from Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) opened up about his ordeal as a frontliner amid the coronavirus outbreak through his Instagram post on Saturday (8 Feb).
It was an intimate account that gave us a deeper insight to what healthcare worker like him face—the untold and unfiltered story.
A ‘War Zone’ Out There
Fighting the coronavirus is akin to fighting war, having to prepare the needful—from the necessary gear to even prepping your own heart.
“Life as a front line during this period ain’t easy, to be honest it sucks. You kiss your love ones good bye before heading to the ‘war zone’,” wrote Benjamin.
According to him, frontliners are required to put on heavy protection from face shields, goggles to N95 masks at work to prevent contact with the virus and the potential spread to “loved ones at home”.
Some are even required to don a powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) that makes breathing tougher than it already is.
A PAPR is a personal protective equipment that helps to supply clean air back through the wearer’s headpiece after filtering out harmful particles.
“[You] work quick and fast, catching your breath with every step [you] make because [LIFE] MATTERS,” Benjamin wrote.
Frozen Annual Leaves and Rejected Going Overseas
Leaving protective gear on for long periods of time causes “battle scars”, or imprints on the face, according to Benjamin, apart from the fatigue nurses face from their work shift.
“Battle scars” from protective headgear. | Photo: benzeemin / INSTAGRAM
“Sweaty with tiredness, aching back, sore calf, painful ankles” was how Benjamin described the experience. And all he wants to do is to return home quietly to rest, for “tomorrow is another day of ‘war’.”
Instead, he was called out for being “INCONSIDERATE” on the public transport when seen in his uniform.
“But u just be quite and leave the train or bus because u are tired after work to tired to explain ur situation,” he lamented.
And as if that was not enough, Benjamin found that his Annual Leaves were “frozen” and that frontline staff like him are “not even allowed to leave the country” due to an increased risk of infection.
Hospital Nurse Cancels Own Wedding
But what hit Benjamin the most was the fact that he had to cancel his wedding reception.
It was revealed that both Benjamin and his significant other are frontliners. They are caught in the same boat with a “war” to fight.
Again, because “[LIFE] MATTERS”, he said.
Hospital Nurse Cancels Own Wedding: The couple was due for their wedding reception that was cancelled due to their frontline duties. | Photo: benzeemin / INSTAGRAM
Even with the most dedicated and involved, being a frontline staff can sometimes feel like a thankless job.
“Now u tell us how are we suppose to feel or react? Are we not human like everyone else? Don’t we have love ones too?Don’t we wish to go on a holiday too?”
Ultimately, frontline workers like Benjamin are humans like everyone else. They are not asking for much, just a little more understanding and inclusion in the community.
And if we could open our eyes—and hearts—just a little more, it would at least lighten the loads of these ‘guardian angels’ who wholeheartedly serve our nation. At least a little.
Read Benjamin’s full post here. | Photo: benzeemin / INSTAGRAM