Missing Valentine’s Day is no big deal for Singapore nurse on COVID-19 frontline
Putting duties first is the ultimate sacrifice for this nurse, and that means giving up her first Valentine's Day celebration as a wife.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner but for newly-wed couple Abraham Yeo and his wife, Peng Cheng Yu, there are no special plans made yet. Even their usual Friday evening routine of inviting homeless friends from the Homeless Hearts of Singapore (HHOS) to their humble abode has been shelved.
That is because Cheng Yu, a 24-year-old nurse who serves the community, might be deployed to a hospital ward to shore up the numbers as the fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues. It means that she might have to work the night shift and because of that, the couple decided not to plan any celebration.
“It is unfortunate, but work comes first ultimately,” the 36-year-old Abraham told Youth.SG. “And I’m pretty sure the same is going to happen for the numerous doctors and nurses out there.”
He added that his wife had been excited at the thought of having the chance to serve on the frontline, because of the opportunities to gain more experience and grow as a nurse.
While Abraham would have liked to spend their first Valentine’s Day together as a married couple, he understands his wife’s professional duties come first.
However, the affable software engineer’s mood went south when asked about his Facebook post on Monday, that went viral – it was shared more than 4,700 times – in Singapore.
In the post, he wrote about how his wife noticed plenty of fellow commuters “giving her quite a bit of space” on the train whenever she’s wearing her nursing uniform in recent weeks.
“Not that she minds the extra space, but she is a bit concerned about causing worry to others while wearing her uniform on the train, so from what I know, she’s been thinking of changing into her home clothes before she boards the train. That’s her – so thoughtful and considerate of others,” Abraham wrote.
“That’s why I nowadays try to hold her hand even more, and draw her closer to me especially when she’s wearing her uniform – because she’s a nurse and I am so proud of her.”
The post had been meant as a simple tribute to his wife and to show support for her after hearing what happened and reading similar sentiments on the social media about the public avoiding nurses.
He had been amused that the healthcare professionals – a word he emphasised on – have been given such unfair treatment, especially when most of them have not come into contact with patients tested positive for the virus.
Calling such sentiments unwarranted, Abraham said: “The nurses are the ones working hard and long hours to help those who are sick – whether they have the virus or not – and we should be appreciating them more, instead of making them feel like an outcast.
“My wife even tries to go the extra mile of bringing clothes to change out so people will not worry. But why should we make them go through such unnecessary trouble?” In his post, he also pointed out that nurses and doctors do take extra precautions about their hygiene, probably more than the general public, since they are placed in a situation of higher risk.
That is why the public ought to encourage them and support them in whatever ways they can instead, considering the sacrifices they are making.
“Hold their hands in public, affirm them, help them with whatever chores they have. Buy them coffee, or just spend a good time over a delicious meal. Pray with them too!” Abraham suggested.