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Translated from Ylva Norvinger's Facebook post of 25 March 2020.
There sure are a lot of opinions out there. Suddenly everyone's an expert. People read scientific papers and think they can interpret them, toss statistics and calculations to the right and the left. Source-checking at an all time low.
Our economy's going down the tubes and people are partying in the mountains.
I can't care any longer.
I'm standing here, holding a man who can't breathe. I look into his eyes. They're dark with fear. I shout through the din around me and through my thick, warm mask.
'Don't be afraid. We're going to help you!'
I hope that's true. Relatives aren't allowed to be with patients, not allowed to be at their side. I want to tear off this mask of mine and be with this person, and comfort him, before sleep comes. But I'm also scared. I don't want to bring this thing home to my own family.
I'm sweating in my plastic covering. The doctor acts swiftly and assuredly, the nurse has complete control over the administration of the medication. This is a critical phase, as we know that we can all become infected. We also hear reports of healthworker fatalities. But we can't think about that now.
We have to lean into each other to communicate. I read through the checklist. We are prepared for what we hope will happen and what we do not want to happen.
100% oxygen. The medicines go in. 'Now you'll be able to sleep. It'll be just fine.'
I feel the hand holding mine relax spasmodically. I look at the screen behind the doctor. The nurse skillfully matches the depth of sleep and blood pressure as it drops rapidly.
The doctor intubates. The oxygenation ticks down the screen. I power on the respirator. It's fast. We're waiting, adjusting the settings. Will he make it?
Yes. This time he will. Or, rather, for now he will.
And four or five hours later, when everything around us seems done for now, I can take off my PPE and have a drink of water. Or maybe a quick sandwich. Or maybe go off for a quick wee. Perhaps I can - 15 minutes isn't a long time, and on some days those 15 minutes are zero minutes.
Then it starts again.
Our holidays are canceled. We work now in twelve-hour shifts.
We're running out of protective equipment.
I'm not complaining. This is my reality. And it's just begun.
Yet despite this, I'm grateful for every day. For my amazing colleagues, because I'm healthy myself so far, because my family are healthy, and because, despite contradictory and confusing reports, there are people who choose to help us slow down the spread of this virus. And thanks to all the inventive ones who help reorganise things, get us the supplies we need, drop off face masks, open shops for risk groups, help their neighbours, take care of our children, and send us encouraging words. Yes, all those incredible people who join us in the fight. ❤️
Together we can do it!