Muscat: At the intensive care ward dedicated to Coronavirus patients at the Royal Hospital, Aziza al Sharjiya is busy working on the spectra optia device extracting antibodies (convalescent plasma) from a recovered Coronavirus patient to inject them in another patient who is still suffering from the disease in the hope that the technique (known as convalescent plasma therapy) will help the patient, in his 60s, to recover from the virus.
Having passed the first shock when she began her new duty at the intensive care of Coronavirus patients, Aziza, a nurse at the phlebotomy section says: “These were tough days, I couldn’t even sleep at night. I was scared, not for myself but for my family. Anyway, the state of fear has gone.”
Another nurse, Amina bint Yasser al Balushiya says: “I was shifted to work in the intensive care unit dedicate to the Coronavirus patients and I was enthusiastic, but I felt nervous and frightened when the idea that I could catch the virus came to my mind”
Before knowing anything about the clinical skills, nurses should have a strong belief in what they are doing. Fear is always there, its part of our job, however fear can be warded off just by being fully aware of the methods by which we protect ourselves from the infection; Amina said.
About the scariest moment she experienced since the start of the pandemic, Amina says: “I had to move a Coronavirus patient to the radiology room. It took two hours to ready the patient, I felt dizzy and my body temperature rose because of the protective gears and the surgical mask I was wearing. I was thinking that I have contracted the virus and that I can transmit it to anyone who comes in contact with me”
Crises management is not new for Salma bint Ali al Balushiyah, a member of the pandemic committee who also worked during the SARS epidemic. She came back from Britain after completing her MA in crisis management.
Salma who never feels scared as she always thinks scientifically. She says: “In order to protect ourselves we should know how the virus spreads.
Asked whether the nursing staff under her training were afraid, she replied: “Yes, they were afraid because the news about the virus were so scary and its natural specially for the nursing staff to be afraid because being directly exposed to the infection and this is why some nurses through that they won’t survive and some even fainted”
I met Nasser al Sulaimi, a physiotherapist as he exited the ICU with a distinctive smile on his face, I asked him about what he was doing inside the ICU that made him smile, he said: “ My duty is to cleanse the patient’s trachea to help them breathe and that makes me feel happy because I have saved someone’s life. The virus forms a layer of phlegm into the patient’s trachea making it difficult for them to breath naturally.”
Al Sulaimi, a father of a three-year-old daughter adds: “Fear is natural but my biggest fear was for my family. I was scared that, if I get Coronavirus, I won’t be able to carry my daughter and play with her.”
Text by Asim al Shedi, photos by Mohammed al Mahjoub