Self-isolating nurse sees young daughter for first time in three weeks through glass
- Credit: Archant
A Soham nurse who has been working 65-hour weeks to help fight the coronavirus pandemic has only been able to physically see her six-year-old daughter through a window.
Catherine Hill, who works at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, said that Sunday afternoon (March 31) was the first time she had seen her daughter Isabella – albeit through a glass window - in three weeks.
Apart from phone calls and being sent photos, Catherine has not seen her daughter or any of her family because she is self-isolating due to her work at the hospital.
Catherine, who is currently working across multiple wards to help other nurses who are dealing with patients that have COVID-19, said the most important thing is that she is not a risk to her daughter.
“It’s horrible but I want to do whatever I can to protect her,” she said.
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“I feel lucky that I have got somewhere that my daughter can be. That’s the sacrifice I have to make but other people might not have that choice.”
Catherine said Isabella, who is currently living with her dad because he is self-employed and therefore able to work from home, understands the reason why she can’t see her mum.
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“I know Isabella’s safe, and had been taught at school about good hygiene, but what’s most heart-breaking is that she keeps asking when it’s going to be over. I don’t know what to say to her.”
Catherine, whose mum is also self-isolating because of a lung condition, said the only time that she’s seen her family is to drop off supermarket shopping at the top of the driveway.
“I’m keeping well away because I don’t want to put anyone at risk.”
While she says things are undeniably tough at the hospital, each of the teams are doing as much as they can to combat COVID-19.
“Everyone is pulling together to do the best that they can under difficult circumstances,” said Catherine, who says she is concerned that some of the population still aren’t following the government’s guildelines.
“Every time I go to the shop people aren’t socially distancing - I’ve had to ask some to step away. I don’t know that everyone has been listening to be honest.”
She added that this morning (April 2) was the first time she has been able to buy toilet paper within three weeks due to panic buying at her local supermarkets last month when social distancing measures were initially announced.
“I can’t say I’m angry, because I understand that people are scared and that’s what led them to do it - but we’ve been told there’s enough for everyone,” she said.
Catherine, who is a trained gastroenterology specialist nurse and known to her friends and family as Cat, said each time she returns home from work her hands are red raw and sore.
But she is keen to point out that NHS workers are by no means the only frontline workers.
“Supermarket workers, delivery drivers, council workers and the police are putting themselves at risk and having to go back to their families, so it’s scary for them too,” she said.
“It’s not just us, it’s everyone – I don’t think supermarket workers and delivery drivers are appreciated enough because without them we’d go hungry.”
Catherine, who has been “at work pretty much every day; I’ve been at the hospital for six days straight”, is however concerned that some of the population still aren’t taking the situation seriously enough.
“The whole country can see that things aren’t improving yet, so my hope is that people can see the trend and that they stay at home to try and stop the virus spreading any further.
“What’s most important,” she added, “is that we protect the most vulnerable in our society. To them it must be absolutely terrifying.
“I just hope that the whole nation can pull together and stamp this virus out.”