A daily look at how Hongkongers are dealing with Sars. Shirley Y.C. Leung is a nursing officer in the Paediatric Sars Unit in Tuen Mun Hospital. I have been working in the paediatric Sars ward since the end of March. This has been the most difficult time - not because of the physical workload but because of the psychological stress - since I became a nurse 20-odd years ago. I feel so sorry for the kids who are being isolated from their parents and have to stay alone in the ward, with the masked doctors and nurses wearing Barrierman suits. I feel so inadequate because I cannot help them out of this dreadful experience. I hope this does not stay in their memories forever. When they arrive they are very scared and many of them break down in tears. Even though their symptoms are not as bad as adults, the psychological stress is much bigger. Some are so scared that they cannot sleep at night. Older kids can watch TV, talk on the phone, read or write letters, but for younger kids the experience is more difficult. When they get used to the ward they often start asking us to hold and comfort them. No nurse can refuse a crying child, even if it does mean we have to take more risks. They are not allowed to play with the other kids or to talk to them because we are afraid of cross infection. Older kids get depressed because they know they have the disease, while younger children miss their parents. To comfort their parents we tell them all the details about their child. We even tell them how many times the child kicked off their blanket the night before. It really hurts me to see colleagues become infected, one by one. The stress peaked when doctor Tse Yuen-man, nurse Lau Wing-kai and Tang Heung-may, the health-care assistant from United Christian Hospital, died after contracting the disease from patients. I felt proud of them but I still could not help shedding tears. We all know health-care professionals have to sacrifice something for their job but I never thought it meant our lives and health. All I can do is eat well, exercise more and follow the infection control guidelines. As told to Niki Law.