7 months pregnant, nurse from Miri presses on in HKL ICU ward amid pandemic

Fiorenzie Dayang Jacob – NST photo

FATIGUE, aches and nausea are no deterrent for Fiorenzie Dayang Jacob, 27, who works in Hospital Kuala Lumpur’s intensive care unit (ICU) to give all that she’s got in her job despite being seven months pregnant. Even the Covid-19 pandemic could not cow the gritty Fiorenzie, who hailed from Miri.

She has been a staff nurse at HKL’s ICU for the past year and is expecting her first child soon.

“I am more than seven months’ pregnant with my first child. Despite the fatigue, aches and pains and nausea at times, I put it all aside when I am at work,” she said in a NST report.

“I am a nurse in a ward where most of the patients’ lives are hanging by a thread. We must all be on the ball and do whatever it takes to preserve lives. This is our objective in striving to care for patients.

“Because I am pregnant, and with the Covid-19 pandemic, I no longer work in the ICU. For the last couple of months, I have been working in the operations room.

“In the operations room, we do paperwork, oversee communications, liaise with other units and departments, and take medicine stocks and equipment, which I go and pick up and carry using a trolley if necessary.

“Being heavily pregnant, I must admit that fatigue sets in and I tire easily. So to remain alert, and to be ready and be on the go, I take intermittent breaks, stay hydrated, take supplements and vitamins, wear comfortable shoes and even talk to my beloved baby to not kick or move about,” she added.

A nurse for the past five years, Fiorenzie said her husband was also a medical frontliner in HKL, in a different department and working a different shift most of the time.

“My husband and I are both nurses and that’s how we met and ended up together. He works in the Neurosurgery Department. He is in his third year here at the hospital. He is the pillar of my strength and support as he understands first-hand the requirements and demands of the job.”

Fiorenzie said health personnel in the ICU, depending on the roster and other circumstances, could be assigned to work one of three shifts: the eight-hour morning shift, seven-hour evening shift or the nine-hour night shift.

During trying times such as the pandemic, the ICU is stretched and the personnel end up working well past their shift.

“We do not make a fuss about it as we have to save lives and this is what we signed up for,” Fiorenzie said, adding that it was always her ambition to become a nurse.

“I always wanted to care for the ill and the sick, and I count my blessings that I have been able to realise my ambition and make my family proud.

“I miss them (family) very much as I haven’t seen them for a long time due to the continuous threat posed by the deadly virus.

“I use it as motivation to keep myself going when I’m struggling,” said the eldest of five siblings.

She, along with her colleagues, hoped that Malaysians would be disciplined in following the standard operating procedures of the lockdown. This is important to break the chain of infections and bring the number of daily infections and fatalities down.

Medical personnel admit that they are struggling to cope with increasing number of patients and don’t know for how long more they can carry on working at such a frantic pace.