by Dr Amrita Sen Mukherjee (www.yourwellbeing.doctor)
I’ve been having mixed emotions about the Coronavirus since February. I could see it coming. As a healthcare professional, I had my eyes wide open and was staring into the abyss of what I could see would be in no uncertain terms an impossible situation. I feared for myself, my colleagues, my family, my children and humanity. I was silently screaming to the government and health authorities to act, to hurry up and all I could see was tumbleweed rolling in the wind.
As a mother, I was petrified. I was concerned for my children. I hoped that the school my children attend would not to allow families who had been in areas of quarantine in Northern Italy back to school, for the sake of the wider school community. But my concerns were not met with the same understanding and only left me feeling like an anxious, panic-stricken ‘medic-mum’.
As an unwell doctor, I am torn. I want to support my colleagues and am guilt-stricken that I am not on the frontline at the moment, but realistically what good am I on the frontlines if I’m unwell? I’ve decided to put my skills in Wellbeing and occupational medicine to good use instead as these are also bitterly needed at this crucial time. Does this lessen the guilt? No. Does this make me feel useful? Yes.
All this talk of war, makes me feel closer to my family who in past generations have all served in the military. My sister and I are the only two to have stepped aside from this duty, but duty we also have in our roles of healthcare professionals. We have a duty to the public first; family second; self third.
On a personal and very selfish note, I wish this had not happened. I have spent the last 2 years planning the ultimate surprise party and month of celebrations for my dear husband who is turning 40 this week. Today, we were meant to be in a hotel, waiting for his friends and the surprise celebrations to begin. This was to be followed by a month of fun that I was so looking forward to as in our relationship, he is the doting romantic one; now it was my turn.
But today holds a very different shape and form for me. Very quickly I have recalibrated. I have recalibrated what is important. Not that I did not know that before, but I have easily let go of what was once important to me, because I am concentrating on the sacrifice others are making for me. Others who do not know me, others who have not met me.
Today I want to express my sincere and heartfelt gratitude to each of you for doing your bit and for staying at home. For staying at home, because it is the right thing to do. This simple act, will hopefully serve to protect us and those around us.
I want to express my gratitude to the key workers who are keeping this country going and moving, which will prevent our infrastructure from falling apart.
I want to express my gratitude to the healthcare staff and support workers, those who have retired, those who used to work and have up their careers and those who are currently working tirelessly to support ALL of us.
These ‘invisible’ people include my sister, my friends, people I used to sit next to in lecture theatres, my colleagues whom I have trained with and strangers. I want to honour those who are currently risking their lives everyday just by doing their jobs and simply going to work. They don’t have a choice. Instead, they have duty and responsibility. Thank you.
I wish all of you who may be reading this, love, safety and joy. I hope that when we get to the other side and meet again, we will see the rainbows form and the sun shining as they do now; we only have to look for them with a recalibrated mind, body and soul.