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#15. May 1, 2020 at 5:50 pm: Anonymous, RMN – (9)
Redeployment Fatigue

On a Thursday at 8pm the clapping carries on. I have to admit I struggle to feel inspired, or emotional, or anything other than numb to it now. I’ve been redeployed to work on a ward, in a hospital, that I’d never have chosen to, and for an indefinite period of time. I left my last job on a psychiatric ward as I was just so burned out from it all, and I don’t think I had time to get past that before this all started. As much as I want to do my bit to help, this isn’t an act of charity, it’s just my life, and every aspect of it has been changed beyond my control. At first, I’ll admit, I felt angry at the lack of regard for my own needs – despite objectively knowing that I was the ideal candidate due to lack of other commitments. Now I feel anxious but resigned, as I see I’ve been rostered in for shifts every weekend for the foreseeable future. Living alone, the Saturday night group Zoom chats were the last meaningful remnant of my old social life, and they too have now been taken away. I’m so guilty and conscious that these are ‘first world problems’ I’d never repeat it to my colleagues working so hard on the ward. However, as much as we care and do the very best we can, the truth is that none of us are really motivated to be there each long, draining and quite frankly, often boring shift by our burning desire to help others. While we’re treating Covid positive patients, I’m not there saving their lives, comforting their families, watching them leave grateful for my help. The patients want me there as much as I want to be there. We aren’t putting our lives on the line in some heroic act of bravery – I’m sure it’d feel better if we’d chosen to. We’re going to work every day because what’s the other option? I think if offered furlough on 80% wages I’d jump at the chance. But really, if I refuse to go to work, what will happen to me? Will I lose my job, my professional registration, any future prospects? Would life be worth living then? Sometimes I think ending it might be the only way out. We’ve been offered psychological support in abundance, however, being an RMN I’m now realising how very little it means. If they really want to help, I think, they’ll take my place on the ward and I can sit listening to people like me moan from the comfort of my sofa. Every offer of support, every “check-in” from managers feels like empty words – almost aggressive; they’ll listen, but the bottom line is that their job is just priming me to do what I’m told. I’m sorry that this sounds so self-absorbed and self-pitying, and I promise that in practice or any other professional capacity I am the picture of optimism. But I thought I’d use the anonymous platform share the darker, hidden, selfish feelings I’m sure I’m not the only healthcare practitioner going into work with day after day. I’m putting my life on the line not because I’m some angel, but because I have no other choice.

Comments on this post:
#1. May 1, 2020 at 7:11 pm: Saqib Noor – Verified One.Surgery user

Thank you for reaching out with such meaningful and heartfelt words, a lot of what you wrote truly resonated with me. I suspect, many hundreds and thousands of people all over the world, are somewhat under the same cloud of despairing feelings.

I entirely agree with you regarding the clapping and the cheering on a Thursday at 8pm. It seems futile in the grand scale of the pandemic that such a national gesture will continuously raise our spirits. It is quite numbing now, I wonder if it may even be having the opposite effect on some of us and it feels empty when the end of the pandemic isn’t clearly visible to any one yet. However, I say this without any doubt or irony, that with the personal sacrifice you described in your post, and the external and internal struggles you are fighting, and the outward show of optimism you are displaying on a daily basis, you truly are deserving of every clap.

You certainly deserve a rest, on the sofa, away from the ward and those daily shifts that is grinding you and I am hopeful, with the psychological support you are receiving at work, this should be arranged. You deserve a weekend away from duty, back to Zoom and connected with those you love.

Please do not feel guilty, these are not first world problems. We all need connections, we are all human and we all belong here, with each other. Indeed, it was the team at One.Surgery, from every corner of the world, that really wanted to offer an outreach or support to anyone struggling with covid, to know that we are here, all striving together. I am so glad you took the time to write and reach out and they too will be reading your words in solidarity with you.

Please do reach out to the support at work, I know they will understand. We have also created a mental health resources link in the tabs above. And we are always here should you want to contact us. We will get through this together with lots of love, please continue to write if it helps, we are always listening.

#2. May 2, 2020 at 11:02 am: Theophilus Barasa, Medical student ) – Nairobi Verified One.Surgery user

Every time I wake up, I found myself in the realty that this thing is here and it has been for a while and it is to stay for a little longer. Every morning I mumble a curse as to why it has not been just one long nightmare. It is true what you say and I understand how you feel because every health care worker anywhere in this world is feeling the same. Its weird how most people outside the profession think we are supper humans and that by clapping, they hope to fuel us into doing more. Know that we understand how you feel, and sometimes, sometimes I wish there was a way out of it. that a miracle will just happen so that everything will go back to normalcy and we can be ourselves again. But for one thing, i know it will get better, we just have to hang on a little longer.

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