As the sun dawns across my city so does the infrared,
An inch away from the windswept part of my anxious forehead.
Thirty-five eight, I can pass, to join my respiratory team,
Where half have flown to fight against the enemy in our bloodstream.
First thing I do upon the wards one pump of sanitiser,
Saharan hands rubbing away the ultimate equaliser.
A fresh new mask around sore ears and pinched across the nose,
Then face shield on to blur the day and everything it throws.
Intensive care buzzes alive as we stare into the chamber,
Chest rise and fall with the rhythm of the diligent ventilator.
Few days ago he waved to us between his shallow breaths,
Now we hope he’ll see the sun again and not our list of deaths.
But the world still turns, so off I go, to the depths of emergency,
A submassive pulmonary embolus is eagerly waiting for me.
The hot zone smoulders as soldiers in blue battle to rescue the wounded,
I wonder, do they fear their fates, if they become included?
No contacts, afebrile, no coughs to fear, the risk of the virus is low,
Yet as I examine I remember the chance is not an absolute zero.
The CT says, “pulmonary haemorrhage,” that cannot rule out the foe,
Those swabs took three days from my paranoid mind and were unbearably slow.
Another day, another turn around the axis of life,
I venture home, peel off my veil and memories of the strife.
One day the books will tell the world when it turned upside down,
How we knelt then fought with valiant hearts against this tyrant crown.
This was inspired by my experiences with the respiratory team at a tertiary hospital in Victoria. I am grateful to the time I spent with the amazing healthcare workers and witnessed them adapting to constantly changing circumstances and regulations. I remember the second wave came right in the middle of my rotation and although I am no longer a part of the team, I wonder sometimes how they are doing and what happened to the people we looked after.