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Thursday, 05 August 2021 07:36

"Covid Care Warriors"

“Keep doing what is good and evil will not come upon you. It is a more honorable thing to do a work of mercy than to store up gold”. (Tobit 12: 8-9)

I am extremely happy to share the joy of caring for the covid patients during my covid voluntary care service. I had the privilege to work in two hospitals and a covid care center as a nurse and as a covid care volunteer. This program was organized by the Archdiocese of Bangalore under the leadership of two great humanitarians, Fr. Anil D’Souza SDB youth director for the Archdiocese of Bangalore and Br.Madhu a Camellian Brother.
Under their meticulous planning and guidance around 40 of us including religious priests, brothers, sisters and lay volunteers were sent to hospitals like St. John’s Medical College, St. Philomina’s, St. Martha’s and Jeevan Jyothi Covid Care Centre to take care of the covid patients. We were divided into four batches each batch consisting of 4 to 6 members who served in three shifts. 
I had the opportunity to work in St. Martha’s Hospital general covid ward, St. John’s Medical College covid ITU, and Jeevan Jyothi covid care center at Chamrajpet. These three places gave me three different experiences. What we basically were asked to do was to meet the hygienic needs of the patients. This included taking them to wash the room, helping them change their clothes, changing their diapers, supplying them food, and hot water, feeding those who are unable to eat by themselves, checking their vital signs and give them medications. We also teached them some breathing exercises, helped them to lie in  a prone position to improve their oxygen levels and told them about eating good nutritious food.
The rest of the time we talked to them, and and consoled them, because most of the patients were living in terrible fear and anxiety as they were seeing all the patients in the ward gasping for breath, gasping for life and watching some who are lying next to them die. Most of them had lost all their hope. All that they wanted was a keen listening ear and a compassionate heart that understands the entire trauma that they were going through. Some of the patients had lost their loved once with covid, some patient’s family members were admitted to another hospitals with covid, some had not seen their loved ones for more than a month, some had lost their jobs and a few of them were worried about the huge hospital bills that they had to pay as they get discharged. These things were really bothering them. 


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In this painful reality we went to each patient and spent quality time with them listening to their stories, consoling them, give them some courage and positive energy through our loving words and therapeutic touch and told them that they will be able to come out of this difficult situation and go back to the their normal life situations. This made lot of positive change in them to face the pain with a little more hope and a smile on their faces. Many of the patients expressed their gratitude to us as they got healed and discharged; this was a great satisfying moment for each of us as we risked ourselves to bring a little ray of hope to their lives. 
I had gotten a lot of information about covid and its effects on people before becoming a Covid Care Warrior through news, newspapers, videos and other mass media, but going to the hospitals to serve them gave me first hand experience. Shifting a dead body from ITU to the mortuary was a frightened as well as was a heart breaking experience for me. I could not control my emotions when I saw the dead young man’s wife and children crying outside the ITU as I was shifting their beloved dad’s dead body.
They were begging me to show their beloved dad for the last one time. His body was covered with a white sheet and only a small portion of his face was visible to them.  They wanted to touch him, kiss him and bid good bye to him but it was all restricted. I couldn’t sleep well that night but next day I prayed to the Lord to make me strong and I realized this is the same struggle all health care. Moreover it is not at all easy to be in a PPE (personal protective equipment) for hours  without food and water and not being able to go to the wash room until we finish our patient care, remove our PPE and scrub.
I prayed to the Precious Blood of Jesus to strengthen me and fill me with His grace will experience His healing touch. And that all those infected and affected with Corona Pandemic. I also witnessed the good will of many people who came forward as volunteers leaving their comfortable life to help those who are suffering with covid.
I really thank God for the opportunity I got to serve so many people, more than feeling happy for the service I rendered, feel that I have learned many lesions for my life:

1 - Life is very short and is not under my control so live it to the full with joy spread joy, peace and happiness.
2 - A small good gesture of kindness can bring a big change to some one’s life.
3 - More than the medications there is lot of healing taking place through our good words, therapeutic touch and kindness.
4 - It is good to be blessed but it is better to be a blessing.
5 - We are not put on this earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other.


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I gratefully remember the Archdiocese of Bangalore and Covid Care Volunteer Team members specially Fr. Anil SDB and Br. Madhu for taking this daring step to help hundreds of people who are suffering. Together with me Sr. Fathima, ASC and Sr. Jancy Rani ASC also served as Covid Care Warriors. They too were happy and challenged with this precious experience of serving the covid infected patients in the hospitals. I am very thankful to Regional Superior Sr. Mini Pallipadan and councillors who inspired me to be a daring Covid care warrior and who made all the arrangements to get me this rich experience. My sincere thanks to my superior Sr. Viji and all my community members and all the sisters of our Region who accompanied me with sincere prayers and who inquired about my well being through phone calls and messages.
Let us never grow tired of doing what is good. The above written bible verse was a driving force for me to render my service with good will and joy even though it was hard at times.
Our foundress St. Maria often said we may not be able to save all souls in this world but if we can save at least one it is great. All the services we do may be like a drop of water in a big ocean but still I feel happy I could contribute at least a little drop of water in making that big ocean.
Sr. Manjusha Pulickakunnel,ASC
Postulant Directress, Bengalur

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