Sydney Woes

So, I don’t really expect this post to reach anybody really but I have this internal rage within me I NEED to let out.

If you don’t know me, I’m a 32 year old Oncology and General Medical Nurse based in NSW, Australia.

If you didn’t know, as of July 30th 2021, Sydney/ Greater Sydney is slated for 4 more weeks of lockdown because of COVID. We have already been in lockdown for 5 weeks secondary to the Delta strain resurgence of COVID-19. I hope I look back on this post in years to come and although I don’t think I’ll remember it fondly, I will remember how bloody hard and emotionally disabling it was. I also note that I have also received 2/2 AstraZeneca vaccinations personally. I have also encouraged my family to be vaccinated and 3/4 of my immediate family group including myself have received the AstraZeneca vaccines to negligible side effects. At the time of writing this post, my sister-in-law is 7 months pregnant with my Niece and along with my father, (a Dentist) they have both received the Pfizer vaccine due to specific circumstances.

As a nurse who works on a ward with numerous immunocompromised patients, palliative patients and generally “sicky sick” patients, I am distraught. I am angry and I am at my wits end. 

Every single day at 1100 we get an update from our undoubtedly exhausted and unfathomably un-exasperated NSW Premier telling us in exact order:

1. How many COVID tests were undertaken in the state until 2000 the night before

2. How many COVID Positive cases there were in that time

3. How many COVID Positive cases were active in the community in that time

4. How she reiterated the need for people to STAY AT HOME

Now I have a supportive family. Undoubtedly I do. I find it hard to share the immensely sad things I watch/see at work and did so regardless of the global pandemic.

Our hospital is on complete lockdown. That means NO visitors with exemptions for several types of patients: birthing mothers are allowed their partner or 1 nominated visitor to help them, terminally ill patients and exemptions deemed necessary by medical/surgical staff regarding extremely high risk patients (and at their discretion). Our hospital is more than happy to accommodate these exemptions, I might add.

SO: due to the nature of my ward we have multiple patients with multiple exemptions. I am not upset because of that. I am upset at the flagrant disregard some individuals in greater Sydney have continually shown over the past 5 weeks of lockdown.

I work in an environment where unfortunately, more often than not, our cancer patients do not survive their sometimes long and difficult battles. I am and have been accustomed over the past several years to meeting patients and following their cancer journeys and almost 9 times out of 10 whether it be at our hospital or within a palliative care facility, our patients do not make it. I think that, to this day of working almost 3 years in oncology, I’ve seen 1 patient in remission and awestruck when I met with her, she thanked us for our unwavering support and care and attributed us to helping her get through the toughest fight of her life. Unfortunately though, that leaves 9/10 patients we share a cancer journey with on our ward ends up losing their battle.

Losing a patient is NEVER easy. They have often fought the hard fight and you have been with them, fighting a different battle – losing them. You will become attached to some patients, aware of others on the ward and no matter if you didn’t have them as your patient, you will feel a pang of sadness when you arrive to work and find out they had lost their fight. I maintain that if you don’t feel anything when you lose someone, you shouldn’t be working in this field.

During lockdown, unfortunately, we have had to restrict visitors on our ward. If the patient is not actively dying in most cases, they are not allowed visitors. This acutely effects our patients and burdens us as care givers as we are often fraught with anxious relatives asking for updates/reports/news from us at all hours of the day – which, if it were my loved one, I’d be asking for too.

I have felt more acutely aware and even more scared of the COVID pandemic this wave than I even did last year – and that is saying something.

SO. If anyone at all reads my post, PLEASE – for us, for someone that could be your loved one, for those who are losing their battle, fighting a battle, for those who are immunocompromised and critically ill, for us as frontline workers – please, please, PLEASE stay at home. It isn’t fair, I know. Our lives are permanently scarred from COVID and I am uncertain if our old way of life will ever return 100% to the old times. I just know how tough it is looking after vulnerable patients who heartbreakingly you sometimes have to explain to that they are not sick enough to see their family members, especially when they are vulnerable. It is horrible.

Please be considerate, stay at home and remember to be kind, for everyone you know is fighting their own battle.

One response to “Sydney Woes”

  1. Thank you and all the other nurses, medical staff and hospital workers for taking care of our most vulnerable during this incredibly difficult time. As someone who has lost quite a few people to cancer before and during COVID, it’s comforting to know that these patients have people around them, even if it’s regretfully not their family.


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