At age 30, Steven Mari Cadiz, a nurse at The Medical City in Pasig, has seen untold horrors in the emergency room. The new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic made sure of that.
In the first few days, he would witness up to three deaths during his eight-hour shift. Recently, he said, an average of four succumb to the disease during his shift.
The patients do not stay long in the hospital, he said, as for some, the disease can progress fast. But that’s time enough to get to know them a little better.
“Sometimes, I can’t help it, but I cry while on duty,” Cadiz told Lifestyle. “Nakakalungkot. Sometimes I thought we could save some of them.”
Cadiz looks after his patients like they are family.
“I think about my parents and my brother. What if these patients were my relatives, and the health-care workers gave up on them easily? That’s why I give it my 100 percent all the time,” Cadiz said.
Since the lockdown, Cadiz hasn’t seen his family. He went to work one morning thinking he’d be back home within a week, but he hasn’t done so. He now stays in the hospital, on the pediatric floor. Since the pandemic, the pediatric floor has seen very few patients, so that a section of it has been turned into a place where the hospital workers could stay.
On the upside, Cadiz said, most of his paycheck remains unspent—his accommodation and meals are free, and most days, he gets to eat snacks, too, as Good Samaritans keep sending food to the hospital.
But he misses his family, and he worries to no end about their welfare. Whenever he could, he calls his mom.
“Sometimes I get emotional. There are days when I think I can’t take it anymore. But I talk to my mom. I tell her to listen, and I just cry and cry. She wouldn’t say anything, but I know she’s listening on the other end, and that makes me feel better,” Cadiz said.
The job is physically and emotionally draining, he said. Most of his patients are intubated, but every day he goes and talks to them.
“I believe they can hear us, so I talk to them while I wash them and do oral care. I treat them with respect. I treat them as human beings,” he said.
Cadiz said he knows some people are complaining about staying home the entire time.
“Think about it. We need to stay in the hospital 24/7 and see patients we have cared for pass on every few hours. All of us haven’t seen our families in weeks,” he said. “Please do your part and stay home.”