Cork mothers on the frontline: Brave nurse Tracey taking every day as it comes after pandemic battles

Cork mothers on the frontline: Brave nurse Tracey taking every day as it comes after pandemic battles

Tracey Quinn Ginty with her husband, Niall and her sons Ben and Josh.

AN intensive care nurse said she is grateful to be spending Mother’s Day out of self-isolation after a Covid-diagnosis forced the whole family indoors.

Mother’s Day will be a milestone filled with hope for Carrigaline mum of two Tracey Quinn Ginty.

The Bon Secours critical care nurse and her husband Niall have been tested in heartbreaking ways since the start of the pandemic.

She lost her father in January of last year following complications from a catastrophic spinal injury. Despite, the overwhelming grief, Tracey knew she was facing into another battle with the onset of a global pandemic.

The fact that Niall was also working as a nurse made the prospect of bringing Covid home even more real. 

Life seemed like it was back on track when Tracey appeared on RTÉ’s popular makeover show the Style Counsellors, featuring social media stars Eileen Smith and Suzanne Jackson.

 This welcome distraction, however, was short-lived as Niall was diagnosed with Covid-19 shortly after.

Tracey and her family completed their self-isolation period in recent weeks and are looking forward to a bright future. She said her sons Josh (seven) and Ben (five) were instrumental in helping them through the darker days.

“The third wave was when Cork got hit the hardest,” she said. 

“The pandemic has taught me that you have to count your blessings as well as your losses. In a profession like mine, you begin to realise the fragility of life and how it can be snapped away from you at any time. 

The children are so innocent. Their descriptions make even the saddest and most sombre things sound funny. It’s that innocence and energy that has been keeping me going this entire time.”

Tracey still thinks about her dad Joe every day.

“Dad is a void that will never be filled. I’m now looking at life through a new pair of glasses. There has been so much suffering but I know that he would have wanted us to get up and get on with it.”

She described the moment she learned Niall had the virus.

“The fear factor that came with the thought of bringing it home was always there. When it did happen it floored us.

"The kids got me through. They were the sun in my sky. Looking after and homeschooling them meant I didn’t have much time for thinking.

"My husband was working flat out but always abided by the rules. It brought us right back down to earth when he was diagnosed with Covid-19. I never told the kids he had Covid. Instead, we just explained that he had a bug and needed to be in his room for a while. They were already terrified. As a mum, you are trying to protect them while still keeping everyone safe. There was enough worry and stress for them as it was. Even though by now, we think they have figured out, it was very important that they didn’t have the added stress. Two weeks might seem like a long time but it went by quickly.”

She recalled how Niall had been confined to his bedroom for 10 days.

‘Niall was like Rapunzel in his room all the time,” she laughed. “None of us were able to leave the house so our family and friends delivered shopping outside our house. Although it was tough, we were still happy and healthy. Given the number of people who had been hospitalised with Covid we were very lucky in comparison.”

It was a difficult time for Tracey and Niall.

“We didn’t want anyone coming to the house but we also knew we couldn’t leave.”

She said that balancing the frontline with family life has been difficult for many of her colleagues with children.

“I work with a lot of mothers who have broken their backs to get through this pandemic. They have given their heart and soul. We carry each other through.”

Tracey spoke of how this Mother’s Day will be one of hope for so many families as the vaccine rollout continues. “We are taking each day as it comes. I never in a million years thought I would be spending Mother’s Day like this. There is a lot of fear but you have to have hope. There is plenty of hope there this time around.”

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