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Kerri McLean

Would I be as brave and selfless as NHS workers to face the coronavirus danger head-on? More than likely not

Kerry McLean


Belfast Health and Social Care Trust of frontline coronavirus medics appealing to the public to stay at home, as the video has gone viral.

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust of frontline coronavirus medics appealing to the public to stay at home, as the video has gone viral.


Belfast Health and Social Care Trust of frontline coronavirus medics appealing to the public to stay at home, as the video has gone viral.

I haven't been able to shake off the feeling this week that if I just close my eyes and go to sleep, I'll wake up and realise that this has all been some weird disaster dream I've been having after eating too much cheese.

Like a few months ago when I made us all cheese feast pizzas, fell asleep on the sofa and had a dream that all dogs were able to talk. I met their leader, as you do in such circumstances, and she told me how it was time for the humans to stop being in charge and that the era of the canine had come to pass. She wasn't just talking, she was shouting at me, seething and threatening and, through bared teeth, told me exactly where she'd like to sink her teeth.

When I came out of my dairy induced stupor, I looked up and there was my dog Tarka, sitting, staring me in the eye and I had a hazy few moments of trying to figure out what was real and what was imagined. When she climbed on top of me for a cuddle, reality quickly came into focus and I realised that she was, as always, just the big furball baby that I love.

I've experienced a similar sensation each morning this week in those few, swift seconds between opening my eyes and fully coming to consciousness, a few glorious moments where everything is still topsy turvy in my mind and I forget all I've heard in the news. Life, for that brief, sweet spell, is back to normal.

Not that I feel I have the right to complain about the changes Covid 19 has made to my life. Yes, I may be struggling with keeping the kids entertained all day at home and with ensuring they're staying up to date with their schoolwork, but at least, for most of the time, I'm here at home with them.

I'm still going into work a couple of times in the week, taking every precaution possible, clad in my rubber gloves and home-made mask but I'm never within two metres of another human being and I, and all my work mates, are continually cleaning and scrubbing everywhere we go and everything we touch to ensure we don't pick up any bugs or leave any behind.

There are plenty of working mums and dads out there who aren't half so lucky. Like Chanice Cushion, the medical emergency assistant at Southend Hospital, whose emotional video on Facebook went viral this week.

In the recording she explained why she had to move out of her family home to prevent her two-year-old daughter and her mother-in-law who has chronic asthma being in any danger. She talked about how heartbroken she was to be leaving her young daughter for what's likely to be months on end and she talked about her own fears, of being petrified at the idea of going to work and possibly being exposed to the virus while helping patients. She was in tears, obviously heartbroken and genuinely terrified.

It left a lasting impression with everyone who viewed it, myself included. It really made me think about each and every one of those medical professionals, what they're giving up and what they're risking in an effort to help the rest of us. Sometimes I feel like we forget that doctors and nurses are human too. We see them as incredibly professional care givers, which is of course what they are, but we forget that they're also human beings with all the fears and anxieties that the rest of us have.

It's just that, somehow, they're managing to deal with all those emotions and put them far enough to the back of their mind that they're then able to put others before themselves and their families. Would I be brave enough and selfless enough to step into their shoes and face the danger head on? I think the answer would more than likely be no. That's why I feel like I have no right to complain or moan about my lot but, instead be thankful that I have the luxury to be here, coping with two teenagers and a hyperactive four-year-old while our NHS warriors fight this virus head on.

Belfast Telegraph