A mum has laid bare the devastating reality of coronavirus by sharing a picture of her young daughter waving at her from the street as she self-isolates.
Dr Laura Noonan has a rare blood disease and needs a type of chemotherapy and stem cell treatment unavailable in Ireland.
The GP, who travels to Russia every three to four months, is now in a Dublin hospital and fears the coronavirus could kill her.
Dr Noonan, who had just left out of an Intensive Care Unit for her prior health difficulties, said: “I’m back to the normal ward now, but I don’t feel safe at all here.
“I think I’ll be be exposed to coronavirus through staff even [though there are] no visitors allowed.
“I wanted to share with you what I think is the most powerful and impactful image I have seen that represents lockdown Ireland through the eyes of a child.”
Mrs Noonan, who said she misses her daughter terribly, added to the Irish Mirror : “That’s my little girl [Freya] and mother waving up to me in isolation on the second floor of the hospital from the footpath below.”
The patient, who has been travelling to Russia since January 2018, continued: “She is only seven. We can’t see each other because of Covid-19 visiting restrictions.
Mrs Noonan said: “This is the face and bravery of one child in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is possibly one of the saddest photos I have ever taken.
“My mother and Freya, two of the strongest women I know, standing outside the hospital waving up at me, talking on the phone and even trying to take a family selfie from a two-storey height difference.
“This is not the first time we have had visits through the glass of a hospital window.
“We grew very accustomed to that but it was very different that time.
“There was a defined period it would last for and I knew when my numbers picked up enough I would be reunited with them albeit with each of us gowned and masked.
“This is so different. This time there is no defined period.”
Thousands of patients in Irish hospitals by the visiting bans that have been imposed since the coronavirus outbreak.
And Dr Noonan added: “My family have been called to say their goodbyes a few times.
“My brother and sister-in-law had to take an emergency visa to get out to me when I was really sick abroad.
“Two weekends ago my husband [Archie] thought I wasn’t going to wake from the coma and I did.
“I was almost angry at first as I thought I was only living to die another day and I had already put up with so much I couldn’t face anymore, but perspective changed over the next few days and I’m ready to fight for my daughter again.
“But coronavirus has me terrified again.”
Ironically, Mrs Noonan was on a flight from Russia to Ireland on February 2 when officials in hazmat suits removed a suspected coronavirus victim from the plane.
She said: “We were all given a leaflet stating that we had possibly been exposed and a list of symptoms to watch out for over the following days.
“It also advised we go straight to our onward destinations with as little contact with other people as possible and wait to hear from a doctor the next day.
“A public health doctor and some paramedics came onto the plane and distributed contact forms for us to fill in.
“It was about two hours after we landed before we got that much info.
“But we all knew what the possible problem was within 10 minutes of landing as a paramedic in a hazmat suit removed a Chinese passenger from the plane.”
That passenger subsequently tested negative for coronavirus, but if Mrs Noonan does contract the virus it could potentially be fatal for her.
Mrs Noonan said she has no idea when she will see her family.
She added: “I don’t know how long I will be looking at my family through a pane of glass or on a video call of some type.
“I’m lucky I’m able to have my phone and use it.
“Many times, even during this admission, I didn’t have my phone as I was too sick to manage it.
“I am always in isolation in hospital due to my lack of a functioning immune system from the chemo and other medications.
“But I could see my close family once they strictly adhere to the hygiene rules and wear masks, gloves and aprons/gowns as directed.
“This time I can’t see anyone.
“Nobody [is allowed] in or out of the hospital without security clearance.
“This time it was sprung on us with no real warning. I was told along the grapevine on Friday that no more visitors were allowed.
“That was it. There was no time to gather up stuff to bring in to me.
“Simple things like toiletries and clean pyjamas and family have since dropped things to the reception, which have been passed on after being sanitised, but it’s very hard to know they are in the building and I still can’t see them even for a minute.”