A registered Medical Technologist of 2 years who is currently torn between 2 paths in life. An INFJ-A if that is important.
It was a humid kind of night when our medical technologist (or Medtech, as we will call her from now on) clocked in for her scheduled 12-hour graveyard shift. She went in happy, as she usually does. For that shift, she was assigned to the Chemistry section of the laboratory. Our Medtech is a cheerful type of gal. Or she would like to think. She claims that she is a benign type of personnel – she isn’t toxic. She said. Her shifts would usually be chill. But! As we all know, the wheels of luck and fortune don’t always roll in our favor. So, there she was, performing all routine tasks and checking things off her To-Do-List. She danced a little dance and sang while she worked and laughed with her workmate and took a break to eat dinner because she hadn’t eaten anything since morning.
She ran all her samples and came the moment where there were no pending requests left. Looking at the time she noticed that it was almost 12 midnight.
“Oh! Almost time to run QC.” She mumbled to herself. By this time, she felt her eyelids getting heavy. Rolling her neck to relieve tension, she stretched and prepared a mini space for her to get some shuteye. A nap. A powernap. Just enough to fool the brain that it got some proper sleep.
Anyway, the hospital our Medtech’s at was already preparing itself to cater to those who were struck by the pandemic. It’s all SARS-COV-2’s fault. We would all like to say that but deep down we know it isn’t as easy as pointing a finger to a virus who probably doesn’t know anything else than to invade, replicate, mutate and lyse cells. The hospital got the triage, the COVID Center, and the lab prepared for that. But our Medtech isn’t too concerned about this yet. She doesn’t feel the weight of it. Yet.
12 midnight came and she ran newly arrived samples and performed her quality control and all was fine until the lab phone rang. She was releasing her results and thus was positioned the nearest to the phone. She answered.
“Good morning! This is the lab.”
“Good morning. This is the triage. We would like to inform you that we have our first possible COVID patient.”
Our Medtech was shook. She totally wasn’t expecting that. But she knows this is the nature of her work and she said “Yes. Thank you for telling us. We will prepare ourselves for extraction.”
Inside she was kind of shaking and she immediately looked for their assigned phlebotomist.
It was their first COVID patient. She attended the seminars about donning and doffing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and had the general idea of how to do it. She knows where to go, what role she will play.
“I will be the one to pick the specimen up after you finish the blood extraction.” She told their phlebotomist.”
“Okay. Help me don up there?”
“Sure. We don together.”
And so, they went up to the COVID Center. At 2 in the morning.
As they were walking, she kept repeating the route she would take if she were to don her PPE, if she were to pick the specimen up, if she were to deliver the specimen to the lab, if she were to doff her PPE, if she were to do a lot of things.
Heart beating fast, she helped her partner don her PPE, thanking all the deities that there was a nurse who assisted them and guided them through the facility.
It was hard to breathe. She wore a level 3 PPE which consisted of a Blue disposable gown, goggles, an N95 mask, a head cap, double nitrile gloves at that time. She thought that If she can’t even inhale air properly with having only those on, her partner must be having a harder time. At that moment she can’t yet imagine how she would survive wearing a hazmat type of PPE for long periods of time. She felt like she was suffocating.
Sooner or later, it will be her turn to enter THE ZONE. She wouldn’t be the one to get the specimen but the one to actually collect it. That is fine.
It was kind of difficult to downplay the situation because it is real. COVID is here spreading its unwanted love. It is contagious and it doesn’t choose its host. It goes – Hello! Immunocompromised? Great! And just slips in the mucosal membranes without us noticing. It is deadly, but it is contagious more.
Our Medtech just hopes this gets over soon. She wants to go home to her family, to go somewhere without being judged for being outside because she is a frontliner, or to go somewhere without feeling like a walking infectious carrier of the disease (which she admits she might be but she is sure she isn’t and she needs to get groceries because no one would be able to do it for her anyway.)
We need to get a break.
© 2020 Jini Jane