The Covid emergency room on Monday night was a stark reminder that we are far from out of the woods.
Being there myself, on the advice of GP, I witnessed the sadness that I really hoped we as a country would now be beyond.
I’ve also seen hospital staff perform Trojan work to stem what appears to be a flood about to burst its banks.
I was lucky not to have Covid that night – my test was clear. However, I have been diagnosed with influenza A and as an asthmatic this is no picnic.
Thanks to an ED doctor, I was prescribed Tamiflu – an antiviral that is already helping my previously Covid-weakened immune system fight. But while waiting for treatment, I saw glimmers of hope.
A door opened and I saw two elderly people on beds, one man coughing repeatedly. And I could hear the caring that emanated like some sort of superhealing power from overworked staff. I listened to the doctors and nurses speaking with compassion and determination.
But on the other hand, I also saw a patient who could no longer bear to wait. An elderly woman and her son had lost hope. The woman in the wheelchair told me from a distance that she had been waiting from 2 p.m. until about 9 p.m. and wanted to go home.
It all made me think that if more people wore masks on public transport, maybe there would be less misery in hospitals now.
The Emergency Department Taskforce has asked Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly for urgent new public health advice.
HSE chief Paul Reid has urged the public to help “turn this tide” by returning to the basics of “appropriate mask wearing”, getting vaccinated and empowered and isolating with Covid symptoms.
Despite the impact of lifting the mask mandate, I can understand why it happened. I understand and respect the idea behind the freedom to do what is right and the solidarity of a nation.
However, I struggle with the fact that many of us have simply tossed masks aside when they might be the only thing protecting an elderly or vulnerable person.
With the BA2 variant threatening to cause even more widespread cases, Minister Donnelly warned that very restrictive measures were needed to contain it. These measures are not yet recommended. I can’t help but wonder where are we going?
I witnessed such hopelessness in the hospital on Monday night and I only share this in the hope that we can pull ourselves together before it’s too late.
How difficult is it to wear a mask on the bus or train? Stay home when you’re sick?
I never want to hear an older person cough like I do. But this disturbing noise is what medical personnel have to listen to every day.
A young woman broke down in tears as she awaited a Covid test. My instinct was to sit next to her and put my arm around her. But of course I couldn’t. I spoke to her from several meters away. I told her it was fine, the staff was amazing and she was being looked after. She smiled.
And I am grateful to the staff who, despite being so overwhelmed, spoke to me with care, respect and compassion.
I wish more could be done to take care of her. You deserve much better. Our medical staff is the closest thing to angels I’ve ever seen.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/my-night-in-hospital-emergency-department-was-clear-proof-that-war-on-covid-is-far-from-over-41501406.html My night in the hospital ER was clear evidence that the war on Covid is far from over