Here's what Dr. Abidin shared about "Doctor".
Dr. Abidin, are there doctors in your family and why did you choose this profession?
- There are no doctors in the family, but since I was little, my great desire was to become a doctor, to help people. The only option to specialize was emergency medicine and that's what I started. She had to take two years off due to maternity. We have a baby girl with my husband, Dr. Sarhat Ahmed, who also works at the emergency center in Kardjali. The child is our greatest joy. I just recently returned from maternity leave to work - on February 18.
Does the fact that you are also a mother motivate you to go to sleep for hours to help the one-month-old baby in Rani list village?
- Surely this also influenced the decision to reach the child under such difficult conditions. I am also a mother and I put myself in the place of the baby's parents. This address was obtained on the heaviest days, when the snowfall was quite heavy and the equipment had not yet started to clear the roads. The baby's father was waiting for us at the bus stop at the beginning of the village itself. We were in an all-terrain car (Stayer), but we realized that at that moment this man's hamlet could not be reached. I warned the driver that I was going alone. The father of the sick child was lighting the way for me with a spotlight, he also helped me by carrying my bag, because I am small. In such a situation, one finds it difficult to navigate, to walk, and to carry the heavy doctor's bag. The address was in the last house of the Upper hamlet, 2-3 km away, but
in those sleeps the distance seemed bigger to me
There was a blanket of snow everywhere, the road was not cleared and steep uphill. We walked for quite a long time.
Is the baby okay now?
- I hope so. It had a generalized rash on the body. I left him at the hospital where he was given treatment. Then I went once more to the same village to the address and asked about the baby, but the people did not know. With this snow, the hamlets are isolated from each other.
Have things normalized in the region now?
- Until two days ago, there were still impassable villages, without electricity, without water. The situation remains critical. It goes with high-terrain machines of "Civil Defense", the Fire Department. There is certainly more snow in the high mountain places.
Is this your first winter?
- It happened to me five years ago to go to an address with an all-terrain vehicle. It was in a village quite far from Kardzhali, where it was not possible to reach it with our 4x4 ambulances. We left then at 7:00 p.m. and returned at night at 11:30 p.m. But such a difficult situation as the current one, at least I don't remember. The problem is that there was no electricity, no electricity and no internet connections, there was no way to communicate with our affiliates, no addresses could be given to them. We were really like in martial law.
Your husband was also one of the heroes in the crisis. Did he reach a patient in a rubber boat across the Cold Well Dam?
- He was called for a hornet-stung patient with a severe allergic reaction. In such a situation, go with a resuscitation team. My husband had the good fortune to go to an address that could not be reached by land. The only way is by boat across the dam. Gazil is in the water to get on the inflatable boat. He was alone with all the resuscitation equipment because there was no room for the paramedic. The most curious thing about the case was that
in the middle of the dam he realized he couldn't swim
We work extremely hard. All colleagues from "Emergency" have fallen into critical situations.
Are your ambulances well equipped?
- Our medical equipment is decent. Our ambulances are relatively new - 5-6 years old, but they are depreciated because the addresses are mainly in mountain villages and hamlets. After a few times the car travels on such roads, it breaks down. We have a Staer military car, a donation through the BCHK from the Swiss Army. The Steyer is 6x6, more powerful. Such cars were used to go to hard-to-reach places during the crisis. But the stairwells are not equipped, there is no medical equipment in them, there is no heating.
Now we were promised well-equipped, off-road cars suitable for mountainous areas, such as Ardino and Krumovgrad. This is for the convenience not only of the medical staff, but above all for the patients. The distances are long and it is quite risky to transport patients in cars without equipment.
What were people's main problems, what were they calling you for in the blizzard?
- With us, the urgency is quite diverse, but we tried to specify the cases as much as possible after conference connections. People were consulted by the coordination center - either by a doctor or by medical personnel. As pathology, we have had strokes, heart attacks, sick children. The first child I brought was from the village of Zhitnitsa, Black-Eyes region. He was on antibiotic treatment, but his condition worsened. He did not sleep all night, with difficult snoring breathing. He had bronchiolitis and needed hospital treatment. We medicated him on the spot and I brought him to the hospital in Kardzhali.
Do you plan to continue working in the "Emergency" system?
- I started work with great enthusiasm and continue to work with great pleasure.
The urgency, adrenaline is in my blood
But when you have a family, you already have a different point of view, you want more peace, more free time. It takes a lifetime to do emergency medicine. If the opportunity arises, I will go into physical therapy or another medical speci alty that does not involve night shifts. My husband and I are on such a schedule - one day, one night duty and three days off. We make it so that one of us is at home to watch the child. We have 12-13 shifts per month. However, it is difficult to survive with one salary in Bulgaria, and almost all emergency doctors work in two or three places. Fatigue takes its toll, especially after years of working in several places.
And are you thinking about working abroad?
- Yes, like any young person. If things do not change in Bulgaria in terms of specializations, the possibility of realization, for more security, everyone is also thinking about abroad.
Have you considered how much it cost you to graduate from medicine, to specialize and when you will pay back the expenses with your current income?
- I better not make such calculations. (laughs) I don't know how many years my education will pay off. I continue the specialization, which is conducted by state order, with courses in Sofia, but each of my trips is connected with a lot of money, most of it personal.
How do you accept the government awards you received?
- I don't feel happy amid the general unhappiness, but I am at least somewhat morally satisfied. The positive thing in this case is that the Ministry of He alth and other institutions are not uninvolved. We feel some security. Hopefully, good reforms will take place in he alth care, and in other areas of life, so that the working part of the population can be retained, because the state relies on them.