"Everyone is getting acquainted with the new normal. Schools regularizing online classes, Work from Home for professionals etc. is the new drill of making a living; but what about us healthcare professionals? Is staying away from our family to keep them safe the new normal for us? I cannot deal with this 'normal' that they say for much longer,” says an exhausted Dr Mahua Chatterjee, employed in the COVID ward of a Mumbai hospital.
"Rajat, my husband and I are both employed in the healthcare teams of COVID. We've been working relentlessly for three months now, away from our home and our 8-year-old son. To stay connected with Shiv, my son, we call him from work every chance that we get. But that call is hardly anything but an update on whether he has eaten, what he is doing, when we'd be coming home and the routine stuff. As parents we haven't been able to sit with Shiv through his classes as we don’t have the time. Neither do we have the time to look at his assignments and upload them on the app on time, something that most schools follow as a rule so that the parents know what the kids are upto."
AS A SAFETY PRECAUTION, I HAVEN’T HUGGED MY SON FOR THE PAST THREE MONTHS.
WE TALK FROM DISTANCE AND WITH MASKS ON, ALL THE TIME.
To which Rajat continued saying, "The new normal that Shiv is accepting, though is a relief is also too mature for his age. He respects us for the work we are doing but after all he's a small kid. Earlier he used to beg us to come home, would say that he'd miss us a lot but now he is just becoming self sufficient.
MY CHILD’S CHILDHOOD IS LOST--HE DOESN’T DEMAND, DOESN’T THROW FITS FOR SOMETHING I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO GET HIM, AND ACCEPTS EVERYTHING PEACEFULLY….
We cannot be present for him during the hard times, and that is something that is eating me up. My heart gets torn each time Shiv understands that we will be late from work. All he says is “I understand Papa, and moves on. My little boy’s lost his bachpan and his innocence. COVID has made him grow up before his age and I sometimes weep at night thinking about it. "
Mahua continued, "Shiv heats up the food and has his meals all by himself; he doesn't need us anymore for his assignment submissions as he said we take too much time so he's learnt submitting the assignments by himself. He doesn't wait up until we are back home, doesn't cry over the call that he misses us.
While the whole world is happily adjusting to the new normal, we as doctors are struggling with it and we just wish and hope that our boy does not forget us or thinks that for us work is more important than him."