We Care, We Share
A UN Bhutan’s initiative for resilience tools for COVID-19
The story of a nurse and the first COVID-19 case
Tshering Dolker, a 41-year old critical care nurse has been a nurse for the past 16 years and since January, she has been assigned to the COVID-19 isolation ward. Although a separate isolation ward was put in place as preparation should any Bhutanese test positive for COVID-19. Everyday she watched the news, there was something or the other in the news on the pandemic.
Like many Bhutanese, Tshering too did not panic about the thousands of people around the world who had tested positive for the virus. The team led by the head of Infection Control who is also the Deputy Nursing Superintendent was assigned to set up the isolation ward and the ICU.
It was a normal day at the Adult Intensive Care Unit (ICU) on 5 March, little did the team know that their day would begin with the announcement of the first COVID-19 positive case in Bhutan.
Tshering’s life took a complete turn when she came face to face with the pandemic which she had only heard about in the news. She was nervous. Scared that she might get infected. Worried that she might not live to take care of her children and parents.
“Many thoughts rushed in my mind, questions like why me? And why not others?” she said. “Yet I made my mind strong enough to serve my King and the country and thought this is the only time to serve the triple gem.”
She donned her personal protective equipment (PPE), she took in a deep breath and went on to treat the first COVID-19 positive patient.
After donning all the PPE and when we started taking care of the patient. A few hours into the treatment, she had forgotten how nervous she was and started to treat the patient like any other normal patient she has cared for in ICU.
Life wasn’t the same after that.
People started to distance themselves from Tshering and her colleagues, to the extent that they were treated like positive cases. Her mother was worried and almost went into depression. Like many frontline workers, Tshering too felt stigmatized, only to be now recognized for the work they do putting their life at risk.
As the first COVID-19 positive case left the country, Tshering felt the weight being removed from her shoulders. However, on her way back to Thimphu from the Paro International Airport, she started to miss her patient. She had gotten attached to him and worried about how he would survive the flight back home.
On her journey back to Thimphu, she sat back, took in a deep breath and told herself, her patient was going to make it.
Having experienced her first COVID-19 patient, Tshering, today is well prepared to serve her King, country and people. Someday, when everything is back to normal, this will be a chapter in her life that she would like to look back into and feel proud of herself.
For more information on We Care, We Share initiative, pleaseclick here.
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