ICU Nurse Overcomes COVID19 Scare
By Hannah Millenne Pagaduan
Declared as a Person Under Monitoring (PUM), she knew exactly where to draw strength from
Cheryl Dumaliang, Quezon City Stake
For more than two decades now, Sister Cheryl Dumaliang, has been working as a nurse at the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP), one of the country’s referral hospitals appointed by the Department of Health for coronavirus-infected patients. There, she spent most of her years in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) taking care of patients in critical condition.
According to her, this is the third time their hospital has faced “an enormous challenge” as they, too, had to deal with the SARS outbreak in 2003 and MERS outbreak in 2012. However, it’s “a different challenge” this time around. “As a seasoned ICU nurse serving in the same hospital for more than 20 years now, never have I encountered a virus like this that evolved into a more virulent kind,” she said.
As COVID-19 cases in the Philippines continue to surge day by day, healthcare workers like Cheryl have to endure a lot of pressure and anxiety.
“Now that something like this came again, the pressure is up since it’s right in front of us. As a health worker, the anxiety is high because we are expected to face our responsibility head on.”
“It’s really hard to be a health worker. It’s physically taxing,” Cheryl said. For her, being a health worker is a noble commitment, even if it means having to sacrifice time with family and living in an uncomfortable environment.
When the first case of coronavirus in the Philippines was reported earlier this year, Cheryl was aware of the possibility of an outbreak. As usual, she was ready to go out there and serve while bearing in mind her life mantra, “God is using me to help others.”
“I didn’t have any second thoughts of going to work,” she exclaimed.
Cheryl, nonetheless, knew what she exactly needed at that time – a priesthood blessing.
“I asked for a priesthood blessing for comfort, courage, and protection,” she said.
“This I have proven many times, that Heavenly Father knows us and is willing to bless us as we seek Him. Afterwards, I felt emotionally secured and my fears were gone,” added Cheryl.
After recovering, she immediately went back to work and was assigned to serve in the research facility area where patients with respiratory problems are given treatment and health counselling.
As the pandemic increasingly takes a toll on our frontliners, it is only normal for them to feel unsafe every day. But with her unwavering faith in God, Cheryl knows there’s nothing to worry about.
“The fear is inevitable. But putting my full trust that God will shield me from anything harmful gives me enough courage.”
For Cheryl, her membership in the Church as well as the principles taught by Church leaders also give her the strength to carry on.
“Being a Latter-day Saint is a blessing. The fact that we are being taught to be prayerful, to be faithful, and to see the bigger picture beyond this present trial has given me something to hold on to.”
Cheryl also feels a deep gratitude and appreciation towards her family, friends, and co-workers who have stayed by her side from the very beginning. Their continuous donations, words of encouragement, and endless prayers and fasts have lifted her up during these extremely difficult times. She defines this experience as “truly soul-strengthening.”
The list of Cheryl’s sources of strength goes on. However, her unconditional love for the Savior and His children is the very root of her invaluable service. According to her, it’s all “pure and genuine love.”
“Doing what the Lord expects of me, in this aspect, taking care of my patients and whoever needs me
in my best capacity, is one source of joy in my life,” said Cheryl.
After all, she believes that by doing all this, she becomes more like our Savior who sacrificed so much for us.
“We all have our own crosses to bear, though incomparable to what Jesus Christ went through. My giving of unselfish service is something close to it.”
To her fellow frontliners, this is what Cheryl has to say:
“We are all here placed in a specific place and time as part of God’s plan and we are His hands to extend His love to everyone. Let us all be strong and of good courage.”
My Journal As A Covid-19 Nurse
By Floyd Casanova
March 09: After 10 years working in the corporate world, I finally decided to make use of my education and pursue a career in nursing. Today I started my training with Mary Mediatrix Medical Center in Lipa City, Batangas as a staff nurse. It’s hard to recall the things I learned in nursing school but I am managing. I am Assigned in the hospital ward with special assignment to our Triage Area for Covid19 patients. My team members and I are actually call our batch as “Team COVID-19.”
March 13: Rest day! I was able to visit my wife and kids.
March 15: We were informed that our Hospital will be closed for disinfection because we had our first COVID+ patient who also expired on the same day. Our regular training was stopped. Most of the hospital employees are afraid to work in the hospital.
May 16: The government declared the entire Philippines under state of public health emergency. Community lockdown was strictly implemented!
March 30: I attended the Department of Health (DOH) training on COVID-19 Algorithm and Disease Management at Ospital ng Imus in Cavite. I continue my on and off duty in our hospital tents where we received suspected COVID patients.
April 18: I was asked by our Nursing Directress to resume my duty and I will be assigned to Nurse Station 8 where we handled COVID positive patients. This was one of the hardest decisions of my life. Am I willing to take the risk and sacrifice my own life? What about my family? Signing up would mean giving up my time for them, and I might not see them again if ever I get infected. But I swore an oath, and that means fulfilling my duty as a nurse. I prayed like I never prayed before.
April 19: I have been reading the scriptures everyday and watching Church videos. A Bible video I saw depicted Jesus Christ counselling his apostles: 'Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends' (John 15:13). That inspired me to fulfill my oath and responsibility as a nurse. I counseled with my bishop and other Church friends, and I now see my job as a nurse more like a calling. At Church, we considered everyone as spiritually sick and we all need to be healed through the atoning sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ. People are dying because of the virus and I can help them heal and take care of them when they can’t take care of themselves. That’s what Christ would do if He was here.
April 25: I am so tired. We have 10 COVID + patients with comorbid and code blue, and two of them have bed sores, total parenteral nutrition ventilators and cardiac monitors. There were only two of us on duty. My body is spent. I need more strength from above. My spirit is willing but the flesh is so weak. God bless all frontliners.
April 28: A very sad day today, two of our patients died from COVID-19. Today was very rough. It was a tiring day, I am so exhausted because of the heat and the pressure that we need to do our tasks on time while making sure that we lessen our exposure to patients so we won’t get infected. I also miss my family. Sorry I can’t stop myself from crying.
April 30: Rejoice! We sent home two patients who recovered from the illness. Their latest COVID test came out negative. Another reason to celebrate---two of our staff nurses who got infected have recovered and are now COVID negative! 😊
May 2: In the photo is one of our COVID survivors. I was so touched she recognized me even if all she saw were my eyes whenever I wear full PPE gear. We became close because I always told her jokes and made her smile whenever I visited her room. She was very lonely and cried in her room because COVID patients are not allowed to have companions in the room. I was on my way home and she was back in the hospital for her Hemodialysis. I was surprised when she called me “Tutoy,” a Batangueño term of endearment similar to son. Her gratitude for the kindness I showed her during her confinement touched my heart.
May 3: Sabbath day and it’s my rest day. I did a Facebook Live broadcast playing hymns on my keyboard to help others feel the spirit. Church music really strengthens me and makes me feel closer to the Lord.
May 13: I made a video call to my daughter Mackenzie and greeted her for her coming 5th birthday. I am still not sure if I can come and visit her, I have been fasting weekly for a month now so that my COVID test will be negative. I almost cried when she said she misses me and she wants to go to the hospital just to hug me
May 15: Today is Mackenzie’s birthday! The rapid test result is negative, my prayers have been answered! I can go home to see my family!
May 18: I left the hospital in Lipa very early and went to Taguig to pick up the birthday cake I ordered for my daughter. Then I went home to my mother in law’s house in Pasay where my wife and children have been staying during the quarantine. Mackenzie loved the special cake!
May 28: One of our former patients who recovered from the virus invited me to visit her home. I remember “Nanay” tried to give me money when she was released but I did not accept it. I told her I was only doing my job. She promised not to give me money, but I went home with two whole chickens, three trays of fresh eggs, a jackfruit, guyabanos and mangoes!
June 16: Today the result of my fourth rapid test came out and I am still COVID negative. Thank you, Heavenly Father!
June 20: It’s a happy Father’s Day celebration with my children because I am still COVID-free!
June 21: On Duty this Sabbath Day. I’m glad I already had a wonderful Father’s Day celebration with my family yesterday. Driving to the hospital, I was listening to songs about the Savior. When I arrived at work, I met an old patient who is a convicted felon, sent to us from the prison. He was handcuffed to the bed although unconscious. The other nurses were afraid of him. Asking myself what Jesus would do in this situation, my heart was full of charity for the patient. I attended to him just like any patient, showing the same tender loving care all patients deserve. This pandemic is a great equalizer, it doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, we can all get sick. I realize how fleeting life is and we should all live it to the fullest. Make everyday count by doing something to help others and bring us closer to Christ. ◼︎