A tribute to the unsung COVID-19 heroes

Behind enemy lines

I could never imagine the sacrifice our medical frontliners are going through during this pandemic in order to save lives as they risk their own, as well as their families’ health. Supporting our frontliners’ efforts in this arduous battle are the unsung heroes and heroines who tirelessly compute and prepare for the nutritional requirements of patients to support their healing process. The Registered Nutritionist Dietitian in the hospital is part and parcel of what makes a medical team successful in fighting COVID-19. An RND ensures that the nutrition support given to each and every patient will not just give mere sustenance but provide adequate nutrients that are essential in the healing process by promoting immunity. After all, food is medicine.

While the RNDs work hard to save lives through food and nutrition, there are still so many lives that have unfortunately succumbed to death. Perhaps we do not want to think about morbid things but we cannot neglect the fact that the people who work in funeral homes and crematoriums are indeed heroes too. Their lives are put at a greater risk for contracting the virus as they do the onerous task of ensuring that departed loved ones are laid to rest with dignity.

COVID-19 heroes are not merely confined in the hospital or funeral setting. Let us not forget the bank employees who have to serve endless queues of clients each day. They have to deal with some agitated, impatient, and irate customers who also cannot be blamed for their strong emotions. This pandemic was truly unprecedented and left so many of us psychologically shaken to the core.

A week after the world went on lockdown in March 2020, I began to run out of fresh produce. I was worried for my household’s health and food supply, so I began to search for online sellers of fresh produce. There were only a very few serving Metro Manila area. As I read through their wall posts on Facebook, they were overwhelmed with orders and supplies were limited. Delivery dates and times could not be guaranteed. Back then, I felt like I was at the mercy of my “online palengkera” as I took whatever was available and waited so patiently for my orders to arrive very late at night. I am forever grateful to the online sellers who have tried their best to provide fresh food ingredients even if they were also going through the same uncertainties brought about by the pandemic and their walls were filled with complaints from panic-stricken customers.

The entire nation went on a standstill, but the amount of waste or trash have continuously increased. With the use of masks, wet wipes, medical supplies etc. the garbage load did not only pile up but are now more than ever more dangerous and infectious. This puts our garbage collectors at a greater risk of getting COVID-19. It is very easy for us to throw away trash in the comforts of our home. That is why we often fail to recognize the sacrifice of those who do the heroic job of picking up our mess. There are so many lessons we have learned during this pandemic. As for myself, I have learned to be more grateful for every little thing that I used to take for granted. To appreciate that each person has a role to play, big and small. Appreciation must not be withheld but rather be expressed even in the simplest of ways.