Isabel Pires, 46, has been a nurse for 25 years and works at the intensive care unit of Centro Hospitalar de São João, in what is the last line against the COVID-19 pandemic, in that hospital. An ECMO reference center for the entire northern region of the country.
She lives with her husband and two daughters aged 15 and 18. Her mother, Hélia, 82, is at a nursing home in a hospital in Gondomar and was one of the positive cases of COVID-19 in that unit.
“In March and April, we did 60 to 80 hours a week, everyone, without time off. It was exhausting.”
“With this disease, the situation worsened in all parameters, adding something that continues to raise my awareness: the lack of comfort and presence of family members at a particularly difficult time. In addition to hospital patients, I am also very sensitive to our elderly, who go through periods of irreversible isolation, many of them living their last days without the affection they need. Many of them dying alone.”
“In September and October, things got worse again and we just said: all over again. It was just as bad, with the unit full of patients, but we were already more certain.”
“On a personal level, the worst moment was when I received a call to inform me that my mother that was 82 years old, was infected with Covid-19. The main feeling here is Impotence: being able to take care of so many and not being able to take care of ours too. It was a nightmare for 20 days.”