Patrícia Cardoso is 38 years old. She is the head nurse of the Intensive Care Unit of the Centro Hospitalar de São João in what is the last line in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, in that hospital. An ECMO reference center for the entire northern region of the country.
Patrícia has two children, Inês and Diogo, who are three years old.
During the initial phase of the pandemic, she found herself spending more hours at the hospital not only because she was necessary there but also to avoid contact at home as much as possible. Even so, each time she returned home it became more difficult to keep her distance from her children.
“When I held my daughter, she tried to pull my mask with her little fingers. This is extremely violent. It seems that we are present but we are not. Of the moments that marked me most were these first contacts with my children. I had a clear notion that I was failing as a mother, and that is like taking a piece from us.”
“It was impossible to disconnect in that first phase. As much as it costs me to say this, my priority at that time was not to go home, it was not my family, however much it costs me to say this. My priority was the hospital and the patients. I was aware that I was where I was needed.”
“No doubt I regret some time that I stole from them. But I can understand and I can apologize.”
“I hope this was the hardest moment of my entire career and my whole life, I hope.”
“I heard many people say that this was not a war… this was for us.”