Name: Trina Hamilton
Location: Trinidad and Tobago
On Thursday 26th March 2020, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago declared that all non-essential workers to be home until April 15th. However, for me, a healthcare worker that means I have to be out there battling the Beast.
Two weeks before the announcement of the case, we were sensitized as to the protocol for quarantining and isolating patients. We were shown the donning and doffing of the relevant PPE (personal protective equipment). Little did we know, we were in for a ride. We didn’t think that it would reach our shores so quickly, we were hoping that it stayed where it was. Now, to almost one month later we have 66 cases and potentially more as this is written.
I specifically work in the laboratory in one of the main hospitals in Trinidad. Daily we encounter samples and patients, as of the week after the first case, things have slowed. The bulk of the work has tremendously slowed down but a dark cloud looms over our heads because we have to come in direct contact with the Beast, COVID 19. On lonely nights they are dropped off, and sometimes it is us alone in the room silently, afraid and confused to touch, hold and open the package. The first night encountering the Beast, a message was sent to forewarn us of what was to come, my heart was racing and I was hoping that it didn’t come on my shift. But then I heard the front door of the lab screech and the men came and dropped it off. My heart was beating, nervously I pulled on my extra PPE as my protective, I ensured that everything was sealed as possible and carried it directly to each department it was needed in. I quickly got my 70% alcohol and immediately wiped down each surface that it touched. It was the unknown that I didn’t like.
Fast forward to now, my vacation has been canceled because they need us present, they need us on the battlefield. Often times we see the doctors and nurses on the frontline battling for lives but we forget the laboratory staff who fight silently also. We interact with patients in a unique way. We care about them even though we don’t know their faces. We are potentially exposed to the Beast and we pray fervently that we are not. I haven’t been able to visit my family, especially my mother because she is within the at-risk group. I am afraid I can be a silent carrier and cause potential harm to come her way. All I have is video chats to connect with her. I cannot touch her or hold her.
We are quarantined with the Beast and we hope to fight valiantly till the end. We will win in the end, we will be victorious.
Please share your #QuarantinedCaribbean stories with us. Have you lost your job? Are you now doing your job in different ways? Has it changed your social dynamics? How? Have you spent more time with family? How do you feel about all of this? Do you plan on gardening more after this? Are you playing more board games?