A BANTRY woman whose husband is battling Covid in a nursing home has appealed to the public to ‘love bomb’ all those involved in the medical world this Valentine’s Day.
Former nurse Joan O’Donovan says the more innovative the displays of love the better, and suggests breaking into song in a hospital car park, playing the trumpet at a nursing home window, delivering a flower box to a GP’s window sill, or giving a ‘thumbs up’ or a thank you smile.
Regardless, Joan thinks all medical staff, including doctors, clinics, SouthDoc, pharmacists, ambulance drivers and volunteers, want to feel acknowledged and respected at this difficult time.
She worked as an ICU nurse in her native Canada and as a nurse in a Bantry nursing home, and in CoAction for 15 years combined. ‘I can see it in medical staff,’ she said. ‘They are all bone tired. If you’re a doctor or a nurse now, it’s not just about your 12-hour shift, it’s about putting your whole family life on the line 24 hours a day. Can people even take that in? We need to acknowledge that.’
She said generations from now, we will speak of these times. ‘So this year let’s mutate February 14th into something really meaningful and show solidarity so all our medics know we’re behind them.’
Her husband of 54 years Jim is fighting Covid in Deerpark in Bantry where he has been a resident for over two years, living with Alzheimers.
Joan hasn’t touched his skin since February 28th 2020 and said: ‘Isn’t that unbelievable? All he has seen are masks and eyes since then.’
The 80-year-old is originally from Kilmallock, in Limerick, and Joan (74) is a Canadian and how they ended up in West Cork is a story in itself.
‘We had a competition with friends in 1985 that we couldn’t take a motorhome from Canada all the way to Russia with our kids Molly and Peter. We won, and we were the first people to do that. Afterwards we literally threw a penny in the air to see where we’d go and on a whim we decided on Glengarriff.’ They lived in a motorhome at Eaglepoint, Ballylickey for two years and then bought a home here.
‘We were sick and tired of the North American mentality, of having two cars and a pool, and we wanted to show the children that less is more.’
Joan says she hopes to one day help erect a memorial stone in Bantry with the names of those who lost their lives locally to Covid, as well as the names of medical staff who responded to the call of duty.