Cape Town – For three Tygerberg Hospital health workers, their mask or shield often hide their tears when they become overwhelmed.
’’We are not accustomed to this significant death rate or suffering – gasping for air and soft moaning and groaning,’’ said this week’s nominated coronavirus heroes at Tygerberg Hospital, the physiotherapy Covid-19 team of Alison Pieterse, Liezel Arendse and Leana Louw.
Each positive outcome keeps them going and motivated amid the horror of human suffering. Sometimes merely holding the hand of a patient struggling to breathe can help move mountains.
Providing an essential service to the public during these challenging times, they said in a statement on recognition of the valuable service they provide: “The value of each breath has new meaning for us, and we experience a new revelation from the ‘simple’ gifts and blessing in life.
”There are many unexpected challenges requiring flexibility, responsiveness and care. We believe that bravery is to stand firm in faith, not being intimidated or dismayed but rather determined to act positively with all your abilities, strength and courage in the face of adversity.
“We use whatever is ‘in our hands’; whatever the scenario, we apply the skill or ability God has given us. We use our hands as tools or instruments for offering comfort, peace, dignity and courage.
“This could include physiotherapy techniques and knowledge, comforting a patient by holding their hand and listening to their story, or offering a glass of water.
’’When we enter an isolation room, we are no longer just identified as a physiotherapist, but help in time of need, whatever the patient’s need at that moment.
’’Are we heroes? No, those who love and support us, pray for us and are caring for our children, those are the real heroes.
’’We are deeply appreciative of all the support from our Physiotherapy Department and colleagues who continue to provide a high standard of care as well as for support from our fellow healthcare workers, family members, various sponsors and special people whom we have never met, who pray for us day and night.
’’As this pandemic unfolds, environments are evolving, and we unite as a family of healthcare workers. We care for each other and our patients, grasping onto every small victory to help us take another step.
’’Our patients’ recovery helps us gather the strength to keep on coming back and fighting the fight physically and emotionally for and with each individual.
’’All our hopes hinge on their next step, progression or improvement. Through their journey we celebrate with them; we cry with them.
’’They each have a unique story to tell of their bumpy road overcoming Covid-19 with the help of Tygerberg Hospital.
’’We have a unique opportunity, rather a privilege, to be able to go where our patients’ spiritual leaders, families, children and friends are unable to.
’’We have the chance to ‘stand in the gap’, bringing a message or a word of hope that has been placed in our hearts. There is hope.
’’Sadly, many images remain in our minds … fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers who struggled to the end. We do our best to focus on the overwhelming gratitude and zeal for life of those who have recovered.
“Our advice for our colleagues is to work as a team so we can encourage and ‘carry’ each other. Apply both wisdom or instruction and faith.
’’Women are a unique and spectacular masterpiece with the ability to display empathy and compassion. We are nurturers but able to exhume power with control.
’’We are well able and more than over-comers. Women of strength, we stand with you, behind you and we salute you.’’