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INTERVIEW

CAMERON & HANNAH PAYNE

Although it’s a difficult time, there’s also a lot of opportunity. It’s a great time for myself and Christians everywhere to grow in faith and learn perseverance.

What has been your experience on the frontlines?

Hannah: In Victoria, we are still in the ‘quiet before the storm’ in terms of case numbers of the virus, so my workload has actually decreased since the pandemic began, with the expectation that it will increase significantly in the coming months. Aside from the stress of catching the virus from a patient, the other main stressors that my colleagues and I have had to deal with are the changes to our practice, changes that really go against the grain as paramedics. For example, we are now required to delay attending to potentially very sick patients in order to don our protective gear.

Cameron: A lot of contingency measures have been put in place by the hospitals, especially to increase the number of ICU beds and isolation rooms. Thankfully, we’re well ahead of other countries in terms of preparations, and our case numbers are relatively still quite low. There’s a lot of support from the government, the health service, and the community; everyone is doing a great job of isolating and keeping the extra load from the virus manageable.

How are you coping with stress and anxiety?

Hannah: My mindset is always to take one shift, and within that, one patient, at a time. I do my best for each patient. That’s all I can do. I’m blessed to work with a supportive group of colleagues at my work branch. It’s also very helpful to be able to discuss work with Cam if I have a stressful day.

Cameron: It’s great to be able to debrief with Hannah and my colleagues. I’ve been trying to take time to do things I enjoy between shifts in order to switch off. It’s also been great to tune in to our Sunday morning Zoom worship and see the faces of our church family!

What helps you to endure the crisis?

Hannah: I always think back to the fact that Jesus doesn’t promise to give us an easy ride on this earth. He doesn’t guarantee to protect us from hardship, or viruses; but he does promise to be with us throughout it all in this life. He also blesses us with the support of our church family and the promise of eternity in Heaven at the end. I’m acutely aware of how blessed we are to be facing this virus in ‘the lucky country’ where we have all the resources we need.

Cameron: It’s a great privilege to be there for people in a time of need and be able to do something practical to help them—it makes all the training and stressful times worth it! I think that the crisis will also help a lot of people grow closer together and be reminded of things they take for granted.

How can your church family and other Christians help you?

Hannah: I’ve been told by many Christians that we’re in their prayers, which we’re always thankful for. I’m sure it’s getting a bit old to be told to stay at home, but it really is working and we need to keep it up.

Cameron: Although it’s a difficult time, there’s also a lot of opportunity. It’s a great time for myself and Christians everywhere to grow in faith and learn perseverance. There are a lot of needs in the community, and medical care is just one of the areas people need help at the moment. You can help us by taking care of those needs and looking out for those around you!

A married couple, Cameron Payne is a medical doctor and Hannah Payne is a paramedic. Both are members of the Belmore Road Church of Christ in Melbourne, Victoria. They were interviewed in early April 2020 by Christian Bargholz.   cameron.payne@me.com

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