A young Melbourne nurse has contracted coronavirus after treating seriously ill COVID-19 patients, and he described the impact he has seen as “devastating”.
In a video shared by The Royal Melbourne Hospital a second year nurse known only as Daniel is speaking from his hotel room in isolation, six days after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Daniel said since early July he had been working "in the thick of the COVID response" in pop up clinics, aged care facilities and completing door-to-door swabbing in the Flemington and North Melbourne public housing blocks.
“In all of those places I worked with amazing skilled wonderful nurses and and health professionals and everyday I went to work there was just this air of nervousness and worry among my colleagues as we all wondered if we were going to get the virus and potentially expose our friends and family to it,” Daniel said.
‘It just got worse’
The young nurse explained that as the numbers of cases grew “so did the strain on the healthcare workers and outbreaks started happening in aged care”.
Daniel put his hand up to work in his hospital’s aged care sector and said his first day was a heartbreaking one.
“On the first shift, I had two patients die and multiple really sick, unwell patients… it was just a really difficult shift,” he said.
By day three Daniel said “it just got worse”.
“It was probably one of the most difficult mentally and physical shifts that I’ve ever had,” he said.
“I arrived on the ward to find a patient I had been joking with the day before, he was really struggling to breath,” Daniel said.
The nurse explained they tried everything they could but the patent wasn’t getting any better, so all Daniel could do was be with him.
“His family called, and they had to say their goodbyes over the phone, and it was one of the most heartbreaking things, that his family couldn't spend it with him,” Daniel explained.
"And then I held his hand until he passed away."
‘I’ve seen how terrible this virus is’
“Fast forward ten days, I’ve now contracted COVID,” Daniel said.
“I’m lucky that I’m young and young people can bounce back but I mean, you don’t want COVID,” the nurse explains listing his symptoms.
“Some of the symptoms I’ve had a cough, intermitted fever, sore throat, I’ve lost my smell, I’ve lost my taste and there is also the worry of chronic health conditions - clots can form as part of COVID and they could go to my heart, go to my lungs and I could get a heart attack or stroke.”
Daniel said around day six is when symptoms can worsen and he admits to feeing “fear and trepidation”.
“So right now, it’s day six and around that time is when all this stuff can start to happen that’s when my lungs can start to get inflamed, so currently I’m just watching to see that I don’t get a fever or it doesn’t get too hard to breath.
“For example I just got out of the shower and it felt like I’d just had a short jog,” he explains.
‘COVID is not a conspiracy’
The nurse ends the video with a plea to people who don’t understand the reality of the virus.
“I just want to say COVID is not a conspiracy, it’s a global health emergency, I’ve seen first-hand what it does,” Daniel said.
“It might suck that we have to stay inside or wear masks but the end goal is that we reduce the cases and that life can return to some semblance as normal and that we can go and enjoy a beer at the pub with friends again,” he said.
“Honestly we have to beat it together first and that means staying indoors, getting tested if you feel slightly sick and wearing a mask,” Daniel said.
“Trust me I’ve got COVID, I’m young and it sucks... it sucks.”
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