Navigating the New Normal.

Navigating the New Normal.

Your experience in these trying times is often shaped by where you work and your age. I'd like to offer a glimpse into the mind of a young female doctor working in a non-COVID department.

The heaviest burden we bear is the uncertainty. We grapple with the absence of established procedures, definitive guidelines, and most critically, adequate equipment. Gone are the days when gloves and masks were used freely. Now, each item is meticulously accounted for and monitored. Every individual who walks into our emergency department is potentially a carrier, many oblivious to their own status. We're in a daily battle with an unseen adversary that lurks in the air and on surfaces.

In the pre-pandemic era, my routine was markedly different. A single pair of gloves sufficed for each patient, and masks were the exception, not the rule. My attire was bright and cheerful scrubs adorned with characters like Mickey Mouse or fluttering butterflies. Disney pins embellished my uniform, and I always had a stash of stickers and toys to gift.

Today, I stand concealed behind a nondescript mask, a donation to our cause, and a face shield that often fogs up my glasses and muffles my voice. The whimsical scrubs of yore have been replaced by disposable ones, typically reserved for the operating theatre. Gone are the animated characters and vibrant stickers that once brought a glint to a child's eye. My current attire is dictated by pragmatism: everything I wear must either be discarded post-use or sterilized. The guiding principle is minimalism, retaining only the essentials.

Despite the whirlwind of changes, one constant remains: my unwavering commitment to being as compassionate and affable as possible. In today's context, I liken myself to an aspiring astronaut.

The reality is that this pandemic won't vanish overnight. It compels us to reconsider every facet of our lives, from daily routines to work protocols. We must innovate and adapt to minimize contamination risks, all while carving out our 'new normal'.