Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Journal of a Lockdown No. 5

Journal of a Lockdown No. 4

I wake up to a message from Fred, who's supposed to go on a 24-hour shift in the hospital today. It's all part of the skeletal workforce being implemented by PGH: as few health-care professionals at any given time. If a team on duty gets infected, at least others can still make it to work.

"If things don't improve, I don't think we can travel anymore," he writes. He lives in Ortigas, a few blocks away from me. I'm scheduled to go on the same shift next week, plus the out-patient chemo sessions if our patients (or their oncologists) ever make it to Taft Avenue. The suspension of Grab, taxis, and other modes of public transportation is a problem for us, healthcare workers, who don't drive. I am considering my alternatives. Walking is one of them. I check Apple Maps: if I walk from home to work, it will take me an hour and 45 minutes. It makes me wonder: what about our nurses who live in Cavite?

But the government's declaration to suspend transportation is sweeping. It's understandable: lock everyone in his or her home. The less physical human interaction, the better the virus can be controlled. But I wonder that idea has been thoroughly assessed. I wish our leaders were more understanding.

Fred writes a message to the local government unit: he lives in Pasig, but he works in Manila. Who should he write to? He doesn't get any response. He asks someone else to cover for his post. I don't know about his plans, but the clinical department where we belong is organizing a carpool of sorts. It's a creative idea that can work.

A friend offers his unused condo: "You can stay there if you have to, but I warn you: it's a mess," he tells me. I hope I will not be needing it, but his kindness warms my heart. The writer Jessica Zafra (from whom this idea of writing a daily blog during the lockdown came), writes:

Observe and remember the way the people around you behave these days, because that’s what they really are.

Dire situations bring out the best and worst in people.

EDSA is eerily quiet. I can hear the birds chirp.

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