Never in my living memory of almost 30 years, have medical professionals been so important than they are today. And I say that with the knowledge that they save thousands of lives every year, even with the limited resources they have.
Doctors have been in the life-saving business in some form or the other from the very beginning of civilisation. And they have been rightfully hailed as god every now and then. And most of them get really well paid for it too, as they should.
But a certain group of healthcare workers, who you would always find with doctors often become background characters of the grand paintings we paint in honour of doctors.
It's the nurses that take care of us when the doctors aren't around. Doctors do diagnose us and prescribe medicines, and perform surgery on us, but it's the nurses that keep us alive.
Coming from a very small town, I can tell you that some government hospitals are so short-staffed that a lot of the times, nurses change your sheets and take you to the washrooms if they have to, sometimes after working 10-12 hours shifts a day.
Sure, they could have gone home after 8 hours but sometimes, the nurse for the next shift is a little late or maybe, they are new to the job and do not know the exact requirements for some patients or maybe they are just nervous. So they stay and make sure things don't go sideways.
They leave their families at home, sacrifice hours of their lives every day to make sure that we keep breathing but never get paid enough for it.
BTW, as the economy continues to go to shit, a lot of nurses are beginning to receive pay cuts and are staring down the rabbit hole of unemployment.
As they continue to keep working in close proximity of COVID-19 patients, they also keep risking their lives to the virus. 62 nurses have been tested positive in Mumbai's Wockhardt Hospital alone.
In reality, the number could be much higher. And even if they manage to find proper PPEs to protect themselves, it is still very uncomfortable to be wrapped inside it for 6-8 hours a day. It's like being in microwave.
My mother's a nurse. She's been a nurse for almost 35 years now. These days, she finishes her shift, returns home, makes her way carefully into the house, straight into the washroom, before even seeing my dad or hugging my sister.
These men and women (mostly women) are the foot soldiers in a war that we struggling with and today, on Nurses Day, we must pledge to not never forget what they have done for us, once all this over.