What strange and fascinating times we are living in. Every new year comes along with adversities and joy. The quality of our life is dependent on how we view it and what we do. My recent stay at the covid ward in St Vincent’s confirmed this!
My Hospital Vacation
I had my booster shot a few weeks ago. Midway through the night, I was exhausted. By the time I went to bed, I had a headache, fever, and body aches. I believed I was having an adverse reaction to the vaccine.
Over the next week, I was bed-ridden. My two Rapid Antigen Tests came up negative, but I developed a cough. A friend who saw me at home was shocked by my appearance and asked if he could help when I was sitting at the top of my stairs. I replied: ‘Yes, you can carry me downstairs.’ Fortunately for both of us, he did not oblige.
As my breathing became increasingly difficult over the following days, I decided to call an ambulance. I was quickly admitted into the emergency ward and the multiple tests began. The Rapid test was negative again, but the PCR test came back positive. I love my air-conditioned room, but the emergency ward was on a whole new level. Its negative atmosphere system that filters out viruses was like a freezer.
I was soon transferred to the Covid ward on level 7. It was surreal when the corridor was cleared and secured to allow me to be wheeled upstairs. It was also rather disconcerting to feel like a contagion.
Things got even more interesting when I entered the bubbled-up ward, and it was around that time I thought this is not looking good!
There were three other patients in my ward. It was most disappointing was to hear one of the patients complaining about the lack of shower facility as the bubble doors blocked the bathroom and complaining about when he was in the ICU being in a small room, where he could not even leave the bed! It irks me that some have become so entitled that they don’t recognise how privileged they are. I did say to him that he is lucky that he does not live in a third world country.
At 3am, a new patient was brought into the ward. She woke up everyone else as she loudly berated the nurses who kindly brought her in. I later approached her to ask why she would be so inconsiderate. But she was hard of hearing and I could barely speak without running out of breath, so I gave up. Instead, I wrote her a note with my questions, making it as compassionate as I could. Hmmm, she did not take it well! Two days later, I offered her some chocolates, but she shooed me away.
Regardless I was pleased with myself as it got my frustration and anger off my chest.
It’s a pity that many have not learnt from Maya Angelou: ‘Just because you are in pain, you don’t have to be a pain.’ One of the keys to resilience and survival is the ability and willingness to adapt without complaining. We all do it at times but try to catch yourself complaining next time. Then stop, find a way to accept the discomfort, and focus on the many positives of your life.
I was discharged from my hospital sojourn on Thursday, January 6th after eight nights and was issued a medical clearance certificate. I am still recovering and lost 4kg, which I am most happy about, but I do not recommend the method. The day after I was discharged, it took a huge effort as I went to get medical and food supplies and was surprised to see so much fear and trepidation in people’s faces. This is not the way to live.
Give the virus healthy respect but don’t allow it to suffocate your life.
My view is that every one of us will be touched by Covid-19 and some will be more fortunate than others. I very, fortunately, survived Covid-19 Delta due to a wonderful team of superior altruistic human beings. The nurses, doctors, medical technical team, cleaners and security guards. I am totally in awe of them. Their dedication, patience, and compassion are on a whole upper level.
People who are essentially happy, are happy due to the way they think and do. In the same vein, people who are essentially unhappy, are unhappy due to the way they think and do.
‘Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.’
– Lao Tzu