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A Girl Growing up in the Fight Against COVID-19
March 22,2021   By:en.humanrights.cn
March 22,2021 -- I am Zhang Shuo, a 28-year-old nurse. Like everyone, my life changed in 2020.
 
On the Lunar New Year’s Eve of 2020, I returned to Tianjin early in the morning from Shandong, my hometown, and became a memberof Tianjin’s first medical team to assist Hubei Province, where COVID-19 first struck.What followed was 52 of the most unforgettable days of my life.“Isolated” in protective clothing for a long time, I was often soaked insweat and felt short of breath and dizzy. However, I overcame it.Wuhan is a heroic city and it is my honor to fight COVID-19 together with the people of Wuhan.
 
When the time came, it was hard to say goodbye to the city. It was harder than any failed relationships. I turned around and wavedmy hand to say goodbye, to salute all the heroes there and to make a solemn vow to my profession as a nurse.
 
Mama and my elder sister each held a bunch of flowers when I returned home. Since I came back from Wuhan, they always consult with me as an adulton issues in the family. Suddenly I realized I have grown up. I have also found new meaning in being a nurse.
 
The fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is still going on. I immediately started my medicalcare work after returning to Tianjin.As well as managing the centralized quarantine of asymptomatic COVID-19 patients who enter China through Tianjin, I’m also responsible for the medical treatment of inbound passengers (excluding confirmed COVID-19 cases).In the Red Zone, I often talk about my time in Wuhan and Tianjin to those in isolation and most frequently comfort them by saying,“You’re back home.”I always remind myself to smile when talking to patients, who, although they cannot see my face, can be cheered upwith eye contactsthrough my goggles.
 
Like all girls who try to make themselves look pretty, I wear make-ups and beautiful clothes when I’m not wearing personal protective equipment. Sometimes,I binge watch drama series. I couldn’thelp bursting into tears when I watch documentaries about the pandemic.
 
I dislike being called a hero because I am simply an ordinary nurse,a girl growing up duringthis pandemic.
 
Our first day at the Red Zone, which I remembered was the 28th of that month, was also my first shift there.In the Second Hospital of WISCO, where we worked, more than 60 patients had already been hospitalized.We worked shifts together with the local medical workers. I will never forget thatexperiencein my life.All the patients were seriously ill with the virus and could neither get up from bed due to extreme lack of strength nor sit down because of the risk of suffocation.We were utterly overwhelmed by what we saw. When we entered the Red Zone for the first time, many patients asked us, “Is it hopeless? Have we been sent here because what we are suffering from cannot be easily cured?Will we go home alive?”All my colleagues would tryto reassure them by saying,“Have you noticed the logo of Tianjin on our clothing?We are from the Tianjin Medical Team. Please trust us and have faith...”
 
Before departing from the city, some patients said they never saw our faces and they just knew we were from Tianjin and called us“Tianjin soldiers,”our nickname. We wanted them to know thatthe Tianjin Medical Team had come to their rescue and would look after them.After 33days of effort, we had finally discharged all of the 270 plus patients underour care.In this fight, we felt the support from Tianjin and across the whole country. Tianjin’s first-aid teams madenine round trips to send much needed supplies. With their backup as well as the support on the frontline, no difficulties could not be overcome.
 
It is the people of Wuhan, not us, that are truly great and deserve praise. They have suffered so much. They expressed sincere gratitude towards us. But they do not need to thank us, a group of people who just did their day job of injection, infusion and dispensation. Even though we worked in Wuhan, which was a little bit risky, it’s you, the people of Wuhan, who deserve our appreciation because your perseverance in the face of the pandemic shored up the nationwide effort against the pandemic.Empathy is shared through mutual encouragement: they thank us, and we buoy them up.All frontline health personnel returning from Hubei have a deeper understanding of our nation and the Communist Party of China.It seems a hollow topic to talk about the country and the Party, but it does not. The country and the Party are just great.
 
I am presently working at Tianjin Medical University General Hospital Airport Hospital, and everyone who is isolating in the hospital is from abroad.Looking after these patients is less burdensome in terms of day-to-day treatment than that in Wuhan. Therefore, we haveshifted our attention to administering mentalhealth nursing to those returning from overseas traumatized by the pandemic. We say to them,“Now you have returned to China, you are home!”
 
We worked for 14 days in the Red Zone and then quarantined ourselves for 14 days before re-entering the Red Zone. Under this regime, we hadnot been home for more than six months.It was better to do so forsafety of everyone.Staying away from home as long as possible and makingvideo calls is much safer.The post-90s generation has become a pillar of our country, and its responsibilities for society, in my opinion, should be reflected in daily work. For example, my duty to society as a medical professional is to provide hospitalized patients with the most efficient and satisfactory medical care and tobe considereda responsible nurse.A sense of responsibility can only be underpinned by one’s day-to-day work.Public emergencies, like this pandemic, maystrike our society again. I think the young medical workersshould stand in harm’s way on the frontline.When SARS broke out 17 years ago, the post-90swere still little children who needed protection from adults. We have grown up now and should have a sense of purpose.We have the mission and duty to take up the banner. 

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