Last week my baby had a COVID test, the first of what I’m sure will be many. I had to take him to the emergency department, a place I had not visited since the pandemic began. With growing concern about the latest southeast Queensland outbreak, you could feel the weight of anxiety. The heavy presence of PPE and talk of isolated patients did little to abate concerns.
I was told, given the latest advice, that contracting COVID was a very real and significant risk for our children.
Sensing my worry, the paediatrician stopped, looked into my eyes and said five words. They were simple but had impact:
“I understand. I’m a mum too.”
She could have continued working, but she chose to offer comfort. Empathy and understanding can go a long way, and despite their heavy workload, every person that day in the Sunshine Coast University Hospital paediatric ED took the time to listen and reassure.
Our hospital workers may be hidden behind surgical masks and plastic face shields, but they are here for us – caring and giving it their all. They are on the frontline fighting this pandemic. As one ED doctor’s wife explains, each time her husband leaves the home it feels like he is headed off to war. Our health workers are real people, fighting a real battle day in and day out.
They are the mums and dads who spend their Saturdays cheering their kids on from the soccer field sidelines, before working a full shift. They are the doctors who save lives before peeling off their scrubs to do the school run.
Then there is the paediatric team, who on that day, worked as one to resuscitate a little girl. I heard their voices coming from the hallway outside my son’s room – calm and reassuring above the shrill of the emergency alarm. Later, I asked the doctor how she does it. How does she stay calm and collected during these times?
“This is what we do.”
Her message was clear: the hospital is a safe space with stringent COVID procedures in place. If your child is sick, seek help. “Come back. Two, three times. We want to see your child. We don’t want parents to wait,’’ she says.
Upon receiving my son’s negative COVID result I was able to leave, but the kindness we received has stuck by me all week. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all that you do for our community.