Paramedic is committed to the service
ONG-SERVING paramedic Hazel Jeffrey is among those who have found themselves on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic.
Hazel has worked for the Scottish Ambulance Service for more than 20 years. She lives in Henry Street with husband, David, and their two children Callum and Hannah.
Like many health workers, Hazel shows great fortitude in the face of this unprecedented crisis and knows she has to get on with her job.
David, who works for Latimers of Langholm, has been furloughed so is staying at home to looking after the children. Hazel says Callum is devastated he can’t do his exams.
She admits that coping with the lockdown at the beginning was hard because so much was happening and everything was changing rapidly on a daily basis.
Hazel said: “Hannah didn’t realise on the day the school was closing that it was happening until someone put a post on Facebook that it was her last day at primary school.
“I had so much to think about that it didn’t hit us until that morning. I didn’t have time to process it.”
But the family has adapted to the changes. Hannah posted a video on Facebook after creating an obstacle course in the garden and she and Callum took part in the Youth Rugby video.
Hazel has continued with her normal shifts and is doing overtime when necessary. She said: “It’s like living in two different worlds; being at home is one world and being at work is a totally different one.
“I did watch the news to begin with but I got too stressed with it. I just need to concentrate on what I have to do in my own bubble.
“I’m the designated shopper because I’m out anyway. The others are staying in but get their daily exercise if they want it. At least I know where they are.
“The thought of bringing the virus back to the family is the worst bit. That’s the toughest part. I’m exposed and feel it’s a big responsibility. I chose this job and I’m happy to do it but my family didn’t. “I think David was stressed about me going to work but the stress level has gone down now.
“I have my own room and David and the kids don’t use the front door. I keep my uniform by the door and take off my boots outside.”
Hazel’s mother lives in Newcastleton and she has always visited her a few times a week.
She said: “She has dementia and now I can’t go. I’ve always been there for her. She has carers going in but I feel I’m a risk. My sister still visits her.”
She has been overwhelmed by the NHS clap being held every Thursday at 8pm.
“On the first Thursday I was working at 8pm but I didn’t think the clap was for us. We went outside and put on the lights and the horn and people were thanking us. It was quite emotional. “I have to say the clapping gave me a right morale boost to think that folk came out and did that.”
She said everyone in the ambulance service was happy to do their jobs. “I feel like I shouldn’t moan about it because it’s my job but we didn’t really expect to be in this position.
“Going to work keeps things normal, even though they’re not normal. David has hardly been out of the house; he doesn’t have any form of escape.”
Hazel plays in the pipe band and she says it’s a lifeline for her being able to chat to the others online.
She and the family have also been doing a lot of baking, although it’s hard to get flour and yeast, and Hannah is proud to have completed the Five Hills challenge in a week with her dad.
Hazel said: “We’ll look back on this and will never forget it. There will be some nice things to come out of it as well.”