EVERY battle has scars. The Delta variant unmanned drone has hit our camp; we have suffered casualties with some fatal outcomes.
This has left gapping wounds in us and the scars are never drying up because the wounds keeps oozing blood.
The greatest damage was at the trenches in the frontline. We are grieving this loss and we shall be grieving for many years to come and even beyond.
When the third wave spiked, it was clear work and business could not go on as usual, cabinet advised to shorten the number of hours people work, if possible, work remotely from home. Schools were closed, lectures and teachers were advised to conduct zoom classes, and most other offices continued to operate from home as well.
But there is a group of men and women whose work even doubled, tripled, quadrupled. Their demand was and still is so high that even those who had gone on vacation were recalled.
The number of sick offs were reduced and had to be meticulously considered. Because shots have been fired and every available unit had to mobilise.
THEY JUST HAD TO BE THERE
These men and women could not work remotely from home like others are doing. No, these can’t sit on their comfortable sofas while sipping a hot cup of coffee with some nice music playing in the background, do their work on a computer like everyone else. No, these could not work from zoom meetings.
No, these were to be there, these were to report physically to the station, literally face and fight the enemy that caused everyone else to go home.
They had to meet that which everyone else was running away from. These are the volunteers in the Covid centres and every other health care worker in the hospitals at the moment.
The “frontliners” just had to be there. And it is these that Lexina and Edwin had decided to be part of.
IT IS NOT EASY HERE AT THE BATTLEFRONT
Not so many understand what we really go through at the frontline. And not so many appreciate what we do either.
So many posts on social media pop up condemning how the Covid centres are neglecting patients and leaving them to die. Far from it, we took an oath to save with the principle to do no harm. At times we just get overwhelmed with so many patients.
I know colleagues who have fallen ill to Covid-19 even twice and yet they are still back in the front line. Dr Chanda, I see you. I know a young nurse we are doing night with who suddenly developed a fever, had a headache and was sweating.
We had to attend to him, he doffed, we gave him medication, also tested him for Covid-19 which came out positive.
He was admitted and we were left with one nurse to cover so many wards. But that nurse is back at work in the same ward.
It is not easy. I also know a nurse we were doing night with, she almost fainted while preparing drugs for patients. We had to resuscitate her, leaving us with one nurse to attend to critical patients. The work has not been easy.
I personally remember spending three nights in a row without rest. Many health care workers have been infected. We are not invisible, we are not virus proof, we are just human like everyone else, even feeble and just as mortal.
We sometimes feel like giving up, we face frustrations from within and without and yet we endure. We fight on, we come back, we fall but rise up. Indeed we are battle-scarred but undaunted.
WE TAKE THE OATH KNOWING WE MIGHT NEVER COME BACK
When doctors take the Hippocratic oath and when nurses do their pledges they sign-up like soldiers going to war not knowing they will make it back home or they will succumb to the very thing they are fighting.
Theirs is a life of service to humanity. Every day we don to go in to see Covid patients, we are aware we may get sick and be admitted in our very wards and never even make it out from the door we came in.
FAREWELL DR EDWIN MULWNDA AND DR LEXINA CHILUFYA
Please hold my tears, I have wet my PC when penning the following. This is one of the most personal bitterest tribute I have ever written, it is so personal.
We have lost young doctors barely starting their medical career in less than 48 hours. Reality has set in, we are all at risk.
This made me wake up at 02 hours just to reflect as I look at the photos of our departed colleagues.
I shed some tears for their painful passing and yet fully acknowledging it could have been me or any other health care worker lying there lifeless, taken by that which they saved many from.
HOW COULD YOU GO?
EDWIN … (DR MULWANDA) GONE ON JUNE 23, 2021
Yes Dr Mulwanda, how could you really do this to your parents and us your colleagues? How could you go so young and still full of potential? How could you leave your parents childless when you knew you were their only child?
How, why, why did you enlist, what happened, where are you now? Oh goodness me can you hear me? Can you see the tears among your peers, how could you go, how could you go?
And how could you go in an ambulance when you saved lives in the wards, how could you go, how could you go….and just why did you go? Wasn’t your home comfortable enough that you chose to sleep in a cold metal box six feet under alone?
And just who will take care of your parents, who will put them to rest when their time to go comes?
LEXINA SURE….? (DR CHILUYA) GONE JUNE 25, 2021
And you Lexina, sure..? It’s not so long ago that you were a student, not so long ago you were asking me to sign your log book? Not long ago, you got married, not so long ago that you were expecting a baby whom you took with?
Oh, how best shall we honour you, how best shall we remember you? Should we name classes after you, should we plant roses on your concrete tombstones or should we bury them with you?
Oh how I wish we gave you those flowers when you were still alive. Oh, I wish we heard that cry when you needed our extra help. Oh, how I wish we could have motivated you more for your sacrifice. Oh, how I wish we had known how risky your sacrifice was.
Oh, how I wish we stopped calling your work a hoax. Oh how I wish this never happens again to anyone else. Oh, how I wish we would end it now…oh how I wish…
Rest in peace young troopers, you fought your good short fights and finished your short races. Your Stethoscopes have been prematurely retired. May the Angels help you fly your soul to worlds unknown. Until we meet again, if ever we will….