KATHMANDU, Oct 19: Indira Pokhrel felt dizzy and had fever. A nurse at Sindhuli District Hospital, she also felt weak and had lost appetite. She thought those were the symptoms of COVID-19 and tested for the virus. The report came positive.
"My family was worried, and I was also nervous in the beginning," she said, "But soon, I started helping other patients at the hospital. Highly symptomatic patients had come to the hospital and I was needed there.
After four days of fever and weakness, Pokhrel started feeling better. Then she returned to work. As someone who had worked in the emergency ward, she handled patients who had difficulty breathing and coughing. It was a different experience for her.
"I had not seen people with those symptoms before," said Indira, who got her coronavirus positive report on September 30. "It was very sad to see patients suffering in front of you, not able to breathe and cough. If they do not receive emergency care, things could turn fatal."
When she got her report, her family members had asked her to come home. But she knew it was not possible to isolate herself at home. She also couldn’t go to her rented room in Shantinagar near the hospital. The owner would not welcome her. So she decided to stay at the hospital.
"I stayed at the hospital in isolation. I got to know things going around. As soon as I felt better, I rushed to the emergency ward and started helping the patients in need," she said.
The government has issued a directive for health professionals making it clear that they need not quarantine themselves unless they have symptoms of COVID-19. Coping with the fast-rising number of cases has become challenging for the authorities. However, it is rare to find nurses like Pokhrel who braved to serve those in needs though she herself was recovering from the viral infection.
"I had taken all the safety measures to avoid infecting others. PPE and other stuff," she said on Friday. "Yesterday my report came negative," she added.
Several local groups and clubs in Sindhuli have appreciated Pokhrel’s dedication and showered her with messages of praise and admiration on her Facebook wall.
Social activist Ujjwal Bikram Thapa, a native of Sindhuli, awarded Pokhrel 11,000 rupees for her tireless work. "Any act of kindness is remarkable and this young girl from our district is an inspiration to all," he said.