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The burdens during coronavirus quarantine are like no other, especially for mothers. They babysit their little ones the whole week as schools and nurseries are shut down, work as school teachers, disinfect everything, and cook meals to avoid any potential infection from readymade food. Moreover, some of them either work full-time from home or are still experiencing non-flexible working policies and go to work every day.
Imagine a mother going through all of the above, in addition to being a chest physician (pulmonologist) bearing the risk of being infected and working in such critical situations that the world is facing right now.
Setting an example of sincerity and nobility, we interviewed Dr. Asmaa El-Nemr, Assistant specialist for pulmonary medicine and tuberculosis, Abasseya Chest Hospital.
A chest doctor during a coronavirus pandemic
The mother-of-two was taught by her father the concept of work devotion and sincerity no matter what. ElNemr said that she had a dream since childhood to become a pulmonologist because her grandmother was an asthmatic patient. She was aware of the possible risks that came with the job.
When it comes to the crisis of COVID-19 pandemic, ElNemr explained that as the situation escalated as per The Ministry of Health and Population and physicians became at higher risk especially in intensive care units, she became worried about her parents and children. The doctor’s parents are over 60 and have some underlying medical conditions, hence she stopped visiting them completely.
Quitting or abandoning her job was not an option regardless of how she felt every day, yet ElNemr chose to take all the necessary precautions and just leave it in God’s hands. After her ritual morning prayer, she reminds herself that she’s on a noble mission.
Despite flexible working conditions, she refuses to abandon her patients
Dr. Asmaa has a flexible work policy where she can work part-time because of a previous accident that resulted in leg bones decay and severe pain after 10 minutes of standing. However, she didn’t use this as an excuse because she knows there is a shortage in the number of doctors at the hospital where she works.
When your husband is your biggest support..
How can she fulfill her role as a mother especially that she has to take extra hygienic precautions when dealing with her children? “It was never easy and never will be, but thanks to my husband, we’re managing the situation,” ElNemr told us. She explained that her husband is currently working from home so he can stay with the kids until she finishes her shifts and comes back home.
“After each hectic working day, I don’t come home and get some rest or even welcome my little ones with a warm hug. I coordinate with my husband where he stays with them in a locked room until I change my clothes, take a shower, sanitize myself especially that I have an uncontrollable 18-month-old baby,” ElNemr explained. Then, she starts her daily motherly tasks because she doesn’t want her job to hinder her from fulfilling her kids’ needs.
Circulating rumors: The doctor tested positive for coronavirus
A few weeks ago, ElNemr received a phone call from her mother telling her about a circulating rumor that she tested positive. ElNemr didn’t take the news seriously, however she calmed her mother down because she was extremely worried knowing that she couldn’t visit to see if her daughter is okay. She explained to her mother that it was bronchitis and that she recovered.
Doctors never adapt to pain
ElNemr said that you do not get used to checking on patients and witnessing hopeless cases every day. You do not adapt or become a robot. “I still feel sorry and sad when a family member is being informed about a positive case,” ElNemr admitted.
Interviewing such an inspirational Egyptian was a blessing. I believe that every day is International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day because we all go the extra mile and make miracles happen daily.