‘I don’t want to be a hero. I want to stay home and keep my babies safe’

April 1st, 2020 11:55 AM

By Emma Connolly

‘I come from a family of nurses, my mother, my aunt, my sister, and cousins, we’re all nurses. My becoming a nurse was inevitable,’ says Denise Sinnott.

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West Cork-based nurse Denise Sinnott is working on the frontline in a Cork hospital. Here she explains, that for the first time in her life, she fears, not just for the patients, but also for herself

HEROES don’t all wear capes, some wear scrubs, according to Leo Varadkar when he addressed the nation on St Patrick’s Day.

Well I wear scrubs but I’m no hero, I’m petrified.

I’m a petrified wife, mother, daughter and nurse. I’m afraid of what lies ahead, the work load, the stretch in our capacity to care for the expected volume of Covid-19 patients, and the isolation from my loved ones.

I’m not a hero, I’m an accidental hero. I don’t want to be a hero, I want to stay home, wear pyjamas and keep my three babies safe.

However, I can’t, because 27 years ago I chose to go to nursing school.

I come from a family of nurses, my mother, my aunt, my sister, and cousins, we’re all nurses. My becoming a nurse was inevitable. I was a proud graduate of the Mercy University Hospital in 1997.

From there I spent five years in London becoming a critical care nurse. I am still a critical care nurse, with 17 years’ experience in an acute hospital setting in one of the mainstream hospitals in Cork.

Until now I have never regretted my career choice.

But I am frightened that I may not survive Covid-19. The odds are in my favour ... but who knows?

I’m frightened that my three children will lose one or all of their four grandparents. I worry for my friends’ kids with cystic fibrosis.

However, I am frightened most of all by the public. The complacency of some is mind-boggling. I can’t decide whether it’s due to lack of knowledge or sheer defiance. I also wonder if this was a virus that attacked the young, and the elderly had immunity, would that have made a difference?

Of course it would, we would do anything to save our young, so why can’t they, in turn, do the same for us?

What you do today, how you spend today will be reflected in our ICUs in 14 days’ time.

The ICUs will fill to capacity, have no doubt. The overflow of patients will be accommodated in operating theatres across the country.

Life will go on, critical care will also be needed for road crashes, and medical events like stroke. I don’t think anyone needs to be a genius to work out that our health system will be under pressure like never before.

Please, I implore you, show my colleagues and I the respect we deserve and STAY HOME.

Getting daily supplies does not need to be a family outing. Children are silent carriers – leave your kids at home. Really teenagers, is it that hard to sit on the sofa and watch TV or stay in bed all day? I thought that was your mission in life?!

Social distancing is paramount, it’s two metres in case you’ve been living under a rock! Wash your hands, often!

It’s all over the media, you know what to do, please do it!

On a parting note, I would like to thank all my friends for their texts of encouragement and support.

I honestly feel like a fraud because as I’ve already stated I’m no hero. However, have no doubt, never question, every patient that comes into my care, I will give my all to. I will do everything I can to ease their suffering and get them through.

I am not a hero. I am a nurse.

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