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In the silence and the darkness, when no eye may see or know her footsteps show with mercy and kindness, come and go.
Meet Aveline Abiog, she works as a REGISTERED NURSE for the ADULT INTENSIVE CARE CORONARY CARE UNIT at NEW YORK CITY HEALTH and HOSPITAL CORPORATION.
Abiog is one of the thousands of front liners in the battling to stop the coronavirus (COVID-19) from taking lives in NYC.
She says that the toughest challenge in this pandemic is that the virus has not that much you know about it and do about it as the situation seems to shift all the time.
What this pandemic is all about, Abiog says, is that the mantra is the same as it has always been, which is to give high-quality care to those who need it most, pandemic or no pandemic. When COVID-19 started, many in the United States were alarmed. United States is the wealthiest country and considered by many to be one of “the best” nations in the world.
However, US is not only immune to this pandemic, and currently has more documented cases than any other nation in the world. The USA was not prepared for this, as many other developed countries were not. The United States are now in the midst of trying to control the virus spread while preventing as many deaths as possible.
Abiog further told us that being a nurse is not a profession but a calling. As a Registered Nurse for 42 years and a Critical Care RN for almost three decades, she has good knowledge of her patients’ needs and understanding to their family and support.
“I would always offer holistic patient care, and this enriches not only my work but who I am as person. In addition, I have experienced and served throughout all sorts of public health crises. Now is different-and difficult and particularly scary as I worried about my ability to maintain my own health while being an effective Critical Care nurse. Nurses and doctors are considered soldiers who are fighting against COVID-19. A battle where little is known of the enemy and are still learning how to deal with this virus. What we know it is highly contagious, can have horrifying health results, and death is too often the aftermath. Caring for the sick is challenging in critical care,” she explained.
“We are physically exhausted and mentally and emotionally drained, there are days that are tough, when arming ourselves with enough and appropriate PPEs is already a struggle. There are days that are tougher, when the battle is taking its toll on me and despite and in spite of all our collective efforts we lose a patient-that is the toughest,” she said.
“It is also particularly painful for patients and their families that they are separated to prevent further spread of the virus. Those who die are unable to have their loved ones by their side, because that could end up risking their loved one’s health and survival.
“We also experience joy when seeing successful recoveries especially when we push a patient’s bed out of the ICU for having survived COVID-19 every night at exactly 7:00pm, I hear applauses and cheers from fellow New Yorkers showing their great appreciation for what we do and when I go home with an N95 mask out by my apartment doors given to me by a thoughtful neighbor- these are the best days,” Aveline explain.
“My strong faith and the Florence Nightingale pledge have helped keep me sane and able to perform my role as Critical Care Nurse”. The support of my co-workers, team, family, friends and friends of family who are with me in prayers are greatly appreciated. Furthermore, I am a survivor. I am tough. I have seen the best and the worst and God has always been there for me,” she shared.
Abiog believes that the first thing a health care worker should do is to stay healthy, get adequate sleep, exercise and healthful diet to keep a healthy mind, that’s the best tool she got in leading this fight in the big apple, of course next is follow all the government guidelines such as staying at home if out of duty, practice social distancing, wear mask whenever you go outside, and wash your hands frequently.
Prayers and cheers given to all doctors, nurses, scientist, caregivers and other frontliners are all appreciated by them, that’s where they get all the energy needed to survive this global health crisis.
“Controlling communicable diseases is complicated, because what happens in one country has an impact on others, through immigration, tourism, and other ways. Therefore, it is important to be prepared for any crisis. Nine hours, 12 hours go by in the hospital, almost nonstop. At the end of a night shift, we are exhausted. We take off our PPE, we wash ours hands. We leave behind the tents and the patients who keep on coming. They remain in the capable hands of our colleagues,” Abiog said for this column.
“When we get into the house, we clean the soles of our shoes with chlorine bleach, we change our clothes, before we hug our beloved children, and we wash our hands again. We can’t remember how many times we have washed them already today. Our skin is dry and cracked. We look into the eyes of our companions for hope and the strength to carry on. We are encouraged at the thought of being united in a worldwide nursing community, all of us fighting to save lives,”
“Our vocation keeps us going. At night, we are tortured by questions. How many of the patients we saw today will test positive? How many of them will come back in a few days with an uncontrollable fever or with respiratory failure? How many will wind up intubated? What will become of them? How many more cases will we see tomorrow; in a week; in a month? Will we run out of PPE? How many of our colleagues will be taken down by this invisible and devastating virus? We look into the eyes of our companions for hope and the strength to carry on,”
“Our vocation keeps us going. But our faith in science encourages us as well. Right now there are scientists— ‒including research nurses—working in their laboratories, dedicated to finding a solution. After reaching the top of the curve, the day will come when we see the number of cases start to go down. The day will come when we get effective drugs. When we get a vaccine,”
“We are nurses, and we will continue to face every shift with courage and enthusiasm, with hope and compassion. Not all heroes wear capes, many wear caps and gowns, and ponchos if needed,” Abiog parting words to me.
AVELINE ABIOG was born, raised and studied grade school to high school in a small town in south Palawan called QUEZON. She graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Nursing at St. Jude College in Manila. She finished her Bachelor’s Degree at the age of 19. Passed the Nursing Board at the age of 20. Her parents are Judge Avelino Q. Abiog (+) was a Justice of peace since the late 50’s and retired as a Regional Trial Court Judge, and her Mother was Josefina M. Abiog (+), a teacher by profession from Ilocos Norte and later became the first and only lady Mayor of Quezon.
Aveline has nine (9) other siblings. The eldest is a physician, Dr. Josieveline Abiog-Damalerio, a Municipal Health Officer and heads the health front line of Quezon, her other siblings are PARO Jocelyn Abiog (+), Butch of Rio Tuba Nickel, Jojo, another front liner as a chef in a health facility in Edinburgh, Jan who is with the provincial government of Palawan, Victory is with Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR),Tintin is a sheriff in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Valenzuela City and Joy, the youngest sibling is a stenographer in the Municipal Trial Court of Quezon.
After her graduation from college at a young age she worked with World Vision International Palawan Branch. Her first hospital experience was at the Private Ward of the Prestigious UP-PGH, her another worked experience was so honored to be accepted at THE ROYAL FORCE OF HIS MAJESTY THE SULTAN OF OMAN as a Senior Registered Nurse with The Royal Oman Police Hospital at the Accident & Emergency Department for five and a half glorious years. When the Gulf War happened she was still working in Oman. Oman is considered as the Switzerland of the Middle East.
After her contract in the Middle East she moved to NYC in 1991. From day one to present she’s always been an ICU RN even during the Circa of AIDS epidemic. She Enjoyed and loved her work as always. She told us her work was very challenging but rewarding. Living a full life with some despair like 9/11, the deadliest and most destructive HURRICANE SANDY, Ebola outbreak in NY, the strike of SARS but the most challenging is the COVID-19. This is the art and fulfillment of a Critical Intensive Care RN.
Aveline is the first and only PALAWENA to acquire a unit the luxury building of UPPER EAST SIDE in Manhattan, NY.