A young Vietnamese doctor says her personal pain and fear are nothing compared to those of patients
Catholic volunteers who work at hospitals for Covid-19 patients in Bien Hoa. (Photo courtesy of giaophanxuanloc.net)
The Covid-19 pandemic has been raging through Vietnam for the past few months, giving rise to many new infections day by day.
Frontline healthcare forces have had to work hard day and night in makeshift hospitals, staying away from their families and loved ones, putting aside their personal plans, and sacrificing themselves for the sake of patients. They have quietly made the great sacrifice, just hoping to save the lives of patients.
As a volunteer, I work with many Catholic doctors and nurses in the intensive care unit of a field hospital. I see them be assiduous in their duties without complaining, try their best to save patients' lives from critical situations, and silently pray for patients who are about to stop breathing.
I pay close attention to their feelings and thoughts. Here are the thoughts of one young female doctor:
“Today I have received a message from a religious volunteer who used to work at a hospital for Covid-19 patients. He asked me about my homesickness and thoughts when fighting the pandemic.
“His questions suddenly make me a bit sad as all people have private thoughts and feelings. My old loving father daily does battle with his chronic illnesses at home, my brothers and sisters who work for a living as factory workers also struggle hard to put food on the table and deal with difficulties caused by the contagion. Although we have few chances to talk and meet, we are linked by strong bonds of love.
I have lied to my family that I do not come into contact with Covid-19 patients because I was afraid that people would be worried about me
"For my part, I covertly watch and pay close attention to my loved ones because I am not as brave and strong enough in my family as I am at work. I have even pretended to be cold to them. I still hope that they will not pay much attention to me because of my manner. I owe a great debt of gratitude to my family members who do too much for me.
"I gradually realize that time will pass, and I want to show more love in its true sense. I change my manner by giving them cheerful smiles when I am with them.
"This time I follow the call of the country, also my deep desire to devote myself to coronavirus victims. I already entrust everything to Virgin Mary — the Mother of my life. I am sure that while I am away from home, Mother Mary replaces me by caring for and blessing my dear family more than I could imagine.
“I do not get homesick either, just feel worried every time I hear that my father falls ill. But I firmly believe that Mother Mary cares for him.
“I have lied to my family that I do not come into contact with Covid-19 patients because I was afraid that people would be worried about me.
“After working here for months, I am absolutely convinced that the sick people I meet are my blood relatives.
“There is no pain like the pain of separation: at the most awful moment that is the last moment of life, many people cannot see their beloved ones. Covid-19 patients here are racked with such an excruciating pain. So, my personal pain and fear are nothing to theirs.
“I also realize that love is strong medicine and, along with other therapies, will put patients' mind at ease. Love will be greater than all fear and pain. I also learn that important lesson from colleagues and volunteers who are giving their love here.
“I hope the sky is blue forever and love is always sincere love. No matter what events and situations are, please believe that a gleam of bright light glows somewhere. May the peace of Christ be upon all of us.”
Suddenly I remembered my father, shedding tears, praying for my parents to be always at peace in God's providence
In this hospital, doctors and nurses treat patients equitably and humanely regardless of their backgrounds. They always tend to patients like their own families.
One nurse told me that when she was on night duty, she met a sick man of 65 who had just been hospitalized and was being closely monitored. He was still in his formal clothes.
“Suddenly I remembered my father, shedding tears, praying for my parents to be always at peace in God's providence,” she said.
“During this pandemic, I feel that God wants to use me to do his work even though I am weak. I pray to God to be with me to fulfill his work. Please protect the people I love, God."
The tender hearts of doctors and nurses in caring for patients as if they were their own brothers and sisters — as Jesus teaches "love one another" — should earn them all people's eternal gratitude.
May God always be with them on this path of immense service. May God stem the highly contagious disease soon so that healthcare workers can return to their families and get back to normal life.
The “old normal” has gone, so we will live in the “new normal.” That is it.
Father Antoine Chung Chi Tam is a priest of De La Salle Christian Brothers in Vietnam. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official editorial position of UCA News. This article was summarized and translated by a UCA News reporter from a Vietnamese article published on hdgmvietnam.com here.
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