Chapter 60: Love in the time of SARS | Speaking of China

7 Responses

  1. George
    George April 22, 2010 at 8:10 am | | Reply

    I was an advisor to the Ministry of Health in Singapore…I was in the frontline.

  2. Juliet
    Juliet April 22, 2010 at 10:22 am | | Reply

    I think that something like SARS certainly makes you appreciate things like love a whole lot more. Sometimes, even the vague possibility of losing something precious makes you treasure it.
    .-= Juliet´s last blog ..A milestone for William. =-.

  3. globalgal
    globalgal April 22, 2010 at 8:02 pm | | Reply

    During SARS I was working in a hospital in the middle of Toronto’s Chinatown, and I lived across the street. Even though the disease made landfall in a north Toronto hospital, through a non-Chinese man, people avoided Chinatown like the plague. The formerly bustling streets and restaurants were empty. After a while, TO’s mayor came out to eat in one of the famous restaurants there with a camera crew to convince people it was okay to visit the area. By this time, SARS had spread to many of the downtown hospitals, including ours. I never treated an active SARS patient, but a year later I did treat a nurse who got the infection from a patient and was still suffering side effects.

    We had to take precautions, of course, so for a month my 12 hour working days were spent wearing a N-95 mask (those surgical masks everyone was wearing around were totally ineffective.) It’s hard to work under those conditions. Everyone was so uncertain. We just didn’t know how everything was going to conclude. I would come home from work and look at my scrubs – what potentially deadly diseases were they harboring? Was I putting my husband and friends at risk by working in this environment? I started asking myself this question more seriously after SARS.

    I felt a certain solidarity with health workers across Asia at that time. Toronto is so far away, but along with China, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore, we were the most affected. I never want to go through that again! The experience helped me though. It pushed me towards starting the degree I always wanted to do – Masters of Library Science with specialization in medical/health science information. I was fascinated by how quickly information was spread among health care workers and the public – such a contrast to a slow moving epidemic like HIV/AIDS. In fact, that was the topic of my final paper. While it must have been a difficult time for you, it is also a bit romantic! Love in the time of SARS…
    .-= globalgal´s last blog ..Big Changes Are Coming Soon! =-.

  4. Tom Carter
    Tom Carter April 24, 2010 at 11:15 pm | | Reply

    I am enjoying reading your blog!
    Speaking of love in the time of SARS, as a photographer I specifically remember an (in)famous photo of a wedding couple dressed in their gown and tux with SARS masks on.
    Turned out the photo had been “staged” (meaning they were having professional wedding photos done), but the photo nonetheless remains a classic symbol of love during that period in modern Chinese history.

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