Recently, I became the father of a toddler; whose activity levels keep me wondering where he gets the energy to keep up with such activities. Of all the beautiful things about being his father, what delights me most is the sight of him running so excitedly towards me, with absolutely no attention paid to caution, his face gleefully lit, arms fully extended to get a full grip of me whenever I get home; this is an everyday occurrence. This feeling validates the sacrifices of parenthood, and for all the world can offer, I would not trade it.
With these thoughts in my heart, one can understand the foreboding fear I harbour. The endless torture of uncertainties and the lack of answers to the questions always in my head; why did I sneeze? Why do I have a headache? Are these muscle aches from the day’s stress? Or….am I infected? Is my family safe around me? Should I take the test? What if I turn out positive? What happens next? Questions I otherwise will have ready and swift answers to if a patient asked me.
“The endless torture of uncertainties and the lack of answers to the questions always in my head…”
Well, this story is not about me, but of the numerous doctors who in so many ways have had their lives suddenly and rudely (unarguably so) distorted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
So, let’s start with the ones who had their weddings scheduled for the second quarter of 2020. After successfully asking or saying yes to the very rare “will you marry me” question, they end up at the forefront of the battle against the virus on the proposed wedding day. (1)
Now, as fortunate as those who had the opportunity to tie the knot, start a family and develop a balanced routine before the pandemic may seem, they aren’t left out of the chaos meted out by the infamous virus. Alas! They are probably the worst hit.
As schools and crèches are closed due to the government lockdown, (2) and the idea of maintaining social distancing has seen domestic staff stay away, the additional burden of homeschooling children, babysitting infants, grocery shopping and carrying out household chores have become the sole responsibility of parents who also happen to be doctors. Routine tasks that would have been outsourced now have to be considered in work schedule. But guess what, the drama continues. While the pandemic continues, that parent and doctor are required to stay battle-ready and put in more time and effort to contain the virus. This may mean spending more time in isolation and treatment centres. In some cases of suspected exposure, he or she is required to stay away from family members for a minimum of fourteen days to minimize the risk of spreading the disease. But how do you spend more time at home and away from home at the same time? – One more question to which I’m clueless!
Well, times like this remind me that “NOT ALL HEROES WEAR CAPES, MOST WEAR WARD COATS”.
- https://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=12324989 (accessed 6th June 2020)
- https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/nigeria-announces-lockdown-major-cities-curb-coronavirus-200330095100706.html (accessed 6th June 2020)
Dr Isibor Efosa is a Senior Registrar in Paediatrics at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital(ISTH), Irrua. He is an active member of the Research Collaboration Network of NARD since inception. He is also the Coordinator of the newly created Residents Research Collaboration Network of Association of Resident Doctor(ARD) at ISTH, Irrua.