I can’t help but feel guilty. Guilty that I’m looking after relatively stable patients, whereas our colleagues on ICU are at the coal face, with beds at capacity, patients intubated with Covid-19.
When work started doing mass antibody testing amongst staff in June 2020, I eagerly awaited my results. I was checking my phone intermittently throughout the night. When they came through at 6am, it read:
SARS-CoV-2 Total Antibody POSITIVE
My initial feeling was that of elation, as though I’d won the lottery
But subsequently this positive emotion was gradually replaced with guilt. I never had symptoms. There was one night shift on the covid high dependency unit when I felt a little ropey and achey. But I never got a cough or fever. I didn’t self isolate. I felt well enough to work and so I did.
I felt guilty that I’d gotten off lightly when this virus had caused so much death and destruction.
I felt guilty that there was a period when I was probably carrying the virus, and potentially spreading it to others, as I didn’t know I had it.
I feel guilty that I was able to get 2 doses of the vaccine, 3 weeks apart, when the majority of people are waiting 12 weeks. To me this feels that my protection comes at the expense of someone else’s.
I feel guilty that people have lost their jobs, have been made redundant and are confined to working from home through endless VPN connections and Zoom calls. Whereas I still get to commute to work and interact with people face to face at work.
Having picked up some extra shifts on the High Dependency Unit, I feel less guilty. I am doing my best. I feel less guilty with the knowledge that I am doing my best.