Doctor Diary, Day 3: “I Do Miss Human Contact…I Can’t Even Hug Someone.”
A 28-year-old anesthetist working in the Covid19 I.C.U ward of a private Mumbai hospital, currently run by the BMC, shares the ups and downs of her days on the frontlines fighting the Covid19 pandemic. This is the third installment of a daily diary she shares with The Swaddle.
Afternoon: Waking up rested I slept all morning after my night shift. In the afternoon, I got the news that I had to go back to the government hospital I was loaned from, after a five-day quarantine period. I was prepared to work at this hospital for a couple of weeks more. I spent some time figuring out where I’ll be put up, in the OR or the I.C.U.
Then a friend’s 90-year-old grandpa was sick and Covid19-positive, so I tried helping them arrange a bed. I called a few people I knew and asked what I had to do to get someone admitted. Usually using privilege is a selfish thing. But I think I was judicious. Since he was 90 and breathless, I judged that he would need hospital care. Maybe it was more of an emotional act but I felt a sense of purpose. That made me very sad and I broke down knowing that the triage system would not take kindly to his age.
Lunch was roti, sabji, daal, rice. Dabba food — ah well, we get on with it. But I’m grateful for the fact that there are people still serving and working to make this happen and that pushes me to finish my meal. Today, though, it took three hours to stomach it in the middle of all that happening.
I love to cook, but I can’t really do it here. Though I occasionally make some instant noodles.
Evening: Meeting my fiancé: He came over with some mangoes for me. I felt really low, so he took my friend from work and me for a short drive around Powai and back. Being away from him doesn’t matter much usually since we work in different cities. At the same time, I was longing for my best friend. To sit and listen without me having to say anything. It’s too cliché but that’s honestly all I wanted. I was getting quite emotionally drained. Of course, I do miss human contact, in the sense I can’t even hug someone.
After coming back, I was trying to sort some issues that a junior of mine had with regard to schedules at work. I am just out of residency, so even though I haven’t been explicitly told to nanny the kids, I feel a sense of responsibility toward them. And sometimes it gets overwhelming. You can’t please everyone and you can’t always nanny them. Everyone needs to take care of themselves too in the end. Today, though, I might have just made a new friend in her.
Night: Watching The Crown I spoke to a few friends from undergrad today, and my best friend. I’m not really feeling up to dinner. I might just have some of that mango and tuck in for a nice dose of Queen Elizabeth’s problems and forget about our own for a bit.
As told to Rajvi Desai.