EDMONTON -- As cases rise across the province, so are the number of patients requiring care from health care professionals in the intensive care units.

“Physically we’re busy. I’m running around every day, I don’t eat, I don’t drink, I get home and I’m starving but that’s not what’s wearing us down,” said Darren Markland, a physician at the Royal Alexandra Hospital ICU.

He said it’s the emotional side of treating severely ill patients that is taking a toll.

“We get to know these patients on a much more personal level than we’re used,” he said.

With family not allowed to visit, he said health care workers like himself step in to fill that void for their patients. 

“I think that’s a bit of a gift because it installs humanity but it also makes it far harder to do the things that we do because we have to distance ourself a little bit from the inhumane nature that is necessitated by putting people on machines and taking away their conscienceness so that they survive,” he said.

Dr. Markland recently decided to give the public a glimpse of one of those moments on social media.

“In that moment as I was going into the room I just thought about this how this woman knows me and she knows that every time I come in it’s not with good news,” he said.

He was about to tell his patient she would require a ventilator.

“And there was a possibility that after this she would not wake up,” said Dr. Markland.

“We were really worried for her and she was worried too and both of us knowing that at the exact same time I think is what drove us to tears.”

He wanted to share these moments as a way to educate people about what happens with severe COVID-19 cases.

“I try to do it in such a way that they just pay attention to the things that have to be done,” he said.

Dr. Neeja Bakshi, has also been sharing her experiences working on the COVID-19 ward.

While former politician and Edmonton emergency room physician Raj Sherman recounts his personal experience getting sick with the virus.

“The bones were hurting, in fact my skin was hurting. Cough and fever and chills like I hadn’t had,” said Dr. Sherman.

“Sense of smell and taste were gone for about ten days and just a lot of coughing and wheezing. And a lot of exhaustion.“

He’s not sure where he was exposed, but says his symptoms lasted for at least two weeks.

“COVID-19 doesn’t care if you believe in it or not, it’s just a message that we all need to take it very seriously to prevent the spread,”

Dr. Markland firmly believes a lockdown is the only way to get a handle on the rising number of positive cases.

“I want people to do the bare minimum so that we can preserve our hospitals for them when they need it for other reasons.”