Before I share how it was like to be in hospital during coronavirus and five things to know when staying in hospital in covid time I want to give you a short back story, but don’t worry, if you don’t want to read the back story you can jump right ahead to the next subheading, Hospital In Covid Time… 🙂
Back Story Before Coronavirus
In my almost 30 years of hospital life and patient life I have never ever been hospitalized without my mum and not to mention go into surgery myself. When I was in the children’s hospital my mum would stay with me and when I was in the adult’s hospital, before coronavirus, my mum would come to the hospital in the day time and leave in the night time, but this time, there was no such thing as visitors. Now that you’ve read my short back story, so how was it like staying in the hospital in covid time?
ONE Hospital in covid time can be lonely and boring.
Overall, I will say that it was fine and it wasn’t lonely for me, and having my phone helped. The phone was the main thing that helped me connect with my family and others. The other thing that helped is simply because I do like to be alone, sometimes, but having said this, I did have short moments of thoughts when my mum (and my sister and maybe my dad) would be in hospital with me and it was in these short moments that I felt a tiny bit lonely. I was in hospital for four days and three nights and there will come a time when your phone is not going to keep you company anymore. That’s when I felt like wanting to talk to my mum or my sister, face to face. But I didn’t feel sorry for myself, heck no! Instead, I felt sorry for my neighbor. The patient next to me was much older than I (and probably even older than the other two patients opposite us) and she had a lot going on. At times I would hear her say she wants to go home and be with her husband, because she’s lonely and her husband’s lonely at home. One time I overheard her asking the nurse if she was bored, because she was bored, but the nurse told her she was very busy. So, hospital in covid time can be lonely and boring.
TWO Hospital in covid time can be intimidating.
Hmm, maybe the word intimidating is a bit strong, but since I’m not sure what other term to use I’ll just stick to intimidating. So the reason why it can be intimidating is because of the PPE that every health care worker has to wear and in general, the whole experience can be intimidating too. I remember when I just entered the emergency department, of course my mum and I had our masks on (my mum was there to drop me off and explain what my problem was), but also, instantly, we were surrounded by “astronauts” – people were going around with long pieces of protective plastic gowns over their bodies (sorry I don’t know what it’s called) and wearing gloves with their masks and screen shields on their faces. It was all so serious and it felt like a movie. Every single time a medical staff came to talk to me all I saw was an astronaut-like human being hovering over me. Haha! Then, when they moved me to a ward I was placed in an isolated room. Here, the door had to be closed and every single time when the staff came in I saw an astronaut again. At one stage I noticed the nurse who was in my room was talking through a little window-like opening to another nurse that was outside the room. Although it was all very different and strange, fortunately I’ve had past experiences of being in an isolated room and plus there are some great perks to being in your own hospital room (and I might write a post on this). So, that’s why in the beginning of this point I said intimidating might be a strong word to use, because for me, personally, it wasn’t all that intimidating. But yes, maybe to someone who hasn’t been hospitalized before can be intimidated.
THREE Hospital in covid time can lead to having a covid test.
I remember when I was being wheeled into the emergency ward/area I overheard someone say “she is high risk” or “this is high risk” and at that moment I didn’t really understand why the person said that, in my mind I was like, “Wait, what?”, but later on I understood why. When I was in my room or cubicle (I was too sick to noticed) at the emergency I was involuntarily tested for coronavirus. Then, some hours later I was moved to a ‘suspected covid’ ward. It was only after I got my covid test back that the staff could chill a little bit and after I was moved to another ward again. This time I was in a community area and the staff was chill too. What I mean by chill is they didn’t need to wear the protective plastic gown, but the mask and screen shields was still on.
Now I understand why I was a high risk in the beginning, because I have just come in from the outside world and even though I had no signs or symptoms of covid-19, I was still tested for it just for precaution. Then, when my covid test came as a negative it was safe for me to go to the ward where the patients had no coronavirus.
FOUR Hospital in covid time can also mean you may need to wear a mask.
Right now in Melbourne everyone has to wear a mask when they are out and that includes the hospital. I needed to wear a mask when I arrived at the emergency, I needed to keep it on in the emergency ward area and I needed to wear it in between trips to another ward and to the theatre. But after my covid test result came out I was able to take off my mask when I was in the covid free ward.
FIVE Hospital in covid time can create some trouble recognizing people.
Throughout this whole “adventure” one thing I thought I’d point out is despite having to see people in gowns, gloves, masks and screen shields, listening to the people’s voices helped to create that sense of normalcy and for me, it helped to recognize who’s who, especially the nurses. I mean, the nurses were all wearing the same coloured uniform and their face were covered. So at one glance they all look about the same. One example was when a nurse came to me, at first I thought maybe it was a new nurse because it was the next day, but when she spoke I straightaway knew that it was the same nurse from the previous day, because I recognised her voice. I don’t know how to explain it but listening to the people’s voices, because it was different for each person and human-like, it created a sense of normalcy, as I mentioned. Like, outwardly, everyone looked the same and had this astronaut-like appearance, but then when each person spoke in their own tone and in their own personal style/way, it was different and it felt a little bit more normal. Am I making sense here? Lol! Hopefully you know what I mean. Also, another thing that created a sense of normalcy was the care from the medical staffs, especially the emergency doctor, the night nurse who watched me after my procedure, the operating theatre medical team, the two gynaecologists and a few others. Their care reminded me of the times before coronavirus and took me back to when things were normal and reminded me that things did not change in terms of the quality of care from the medical staffs. It was good to know that some things did not change.
So, there it is, five things to know about hospital in covid time. Also, I live in Melbourne, Australia and right now we are in another lockdown. In fact, we are in a stage 4 lockdown, if you’d like you can check out the coronavirus Victoria updates in the Victorian State Government site.