COVID-19 nurses: Christmas away from families

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | December 25,2020 - 09:32 AM

A nurse dons her personal protective equipment (PPE) on Christmas eve.

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Six coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) nurses spent their Christmas dawn with patients at the New Oasis for Adaptation and a Home (NOAH).

The nurses welcomed Christmas day away from their families and friends, some even away from their hometowns. They have been isolated along with their patients for almost nine months now.

Geneva Ponce, a nurse since 2013 and a COVID-19 nurse since July 2020, said in a special interview with CDN Digital that one of the challenges of being a nurse amid the pandemic and assignment to an isolation center is their subsequent isolation as well.

They slept within the facility in the middle of the South Road Properties (SRP) seeing little of the outside world as they work on keeping the patients healthy and help them recuperate from the deadly virus.

The risk of them getting the virus is high, so going home could not be an option.

“At first when the COVID started, I was really afraid, daghan kaayo siyag dangers especially sa nurses. Pero magtake care lang gyod ka sa imong self and if naa gyod kay will power and motivation to help people, makasurvive ra gyod,” said Ponce.

(At first when the COVID started, I was really afraid. There are many dangers especially to the nurses but we just take care of ourselves and if there is will power and motivation to help people, then we can survive.)

One of the greatest challenges in being a COVID-19 nurse was helping patients get through with the ordeal of contracting the virus.

Nurses at NOAH are busy at work in their administrative quarters.

The patients often experience bouts of depressions and melancholy while they are isolated from the community, and the nurses would have to find ways to help them psychologically cope with the virus.

Phoebe Katte Dimol, another nurse at NOAH, turned 22-years-old on December 24, 2020, but she could not go home and celebrate her day with the family.

READ: 49 patients to celebrate Christmas in isolation at NOAH

Instead, she continued to work with the patients on Christmas eve serving in the frontlines to help the 49 quarantine patients survive.

Dimol said that despite this, she was happy to celebrate her birthday and Christmas in the facility because her life’s dream was to be a nurse, and this pandemic gave her an opportunity to experience one of the harshest battles of the medical world.

Carolina Sarigouzai, a 34-year-old nurse, said that because NOAH was operating solely on donations, one of the challenges for them was the limited personal protective equipment (PPE)

She said that the PPEs were their only protection from contracting the virus themselves and without these, they would be exposed dangerously to the virus.

A nurse don her PPE on Christmas eve.

“Mao na nagpasalamat mi sa mga donations nga naghatag diri sa amoa ug unta padayon gihapon silang motabang sa NOAH,” said Sarigouzai.

(That is why we are grateful to the donations given here for us and we hope that they will continue to help in NOAH.)

Edelweis Sadaya, Aril Shayne Udjotan, and Marilyn Mae Caiña also welcomed Christmas while on duty among many other medical workers in the city.

These nurses miss the freedom of the outside world especially spending time with their friends and families.

Their Christmas wish is that one day the pandemic would end and they can return to their families, assigned hospitals, and work regularly again.

The nurses, who remained on the frontlines even on Christmas day, will continue to serve as long as there is a patient quarantined in the facility./dbs

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TAGS: Caiña, Christmas, COVID-19, Dimol, frontline, isolation, isolation facility, Noah, personal protective equipment, Ponce, ppe, sadaya, Sarigouzai, Udjotan
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