• Wed. Oct 27th, 2021

The nurses of Codogno: “We face to face with the unknown, the only bridge between patients and families”


May 11, 2021

They were the first in Italy to experience what isolation and positive swab for the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus means, when the only one to have had that outcome – a handful of hours earlier – was patient 1, Mattia, now intubated. They are the nurses of what used to be the Surgery ward and today it is the orange Covid area of ​​Codogno, the first red zone in Italy. Barbara Cappellini tells of her first impact with the virus that seemed so far away. In isolation together with 2 colleagues as early as February 21, 2020, due to a contact with Mattia, she receives the verdict on February 23: positive too. Mariagrazia Frosi, on the other hand, mentions the long harnessed days, which “continue today”. More than a year has passed and now, she says with Oss Sara and her colleagues, “we see the light at the end of the tunnel approaching. We should be one of the next wards to return to normal”. For patients forced into weeks of separation from loved ones, they were smiles, kind thoughts, a thin thread that united the families. And they are told at Adnkronos Salute, on the eve of International Nurses’ Day. With Frosi and Cappellini there is also Meri De Matteis and the social health worker Sara Gianbruno. I’m on shift in the ward today and rewinding the tape. “It was difficult, we found ourselves overnight becoming a Covid ward and it was dramatic at the beginning. Having never experienced it, we did not know the true meaning of the word pandemic”, they say. “We adapted – explains Frosi – we felt anxious and a bit scared, we didn’t know what we were facing, we were all really unprepared. But now we are here. We have had the positive experience of seeing patients arrive in desperate conditions and return home with their legs “. In a period in which entering the hospital meant losing the connection with the outside world, “we were the only contact with the family. They called us, we were a bridge”. “When a friend gave us an iPad – they say – was the turning point: we organized ourselves to make video calls. We thought about it in turn. And for the patients it was an indescribable joy “. Mariagrazia thinks back “to an elderly lady who was really very sick. We pampered her as if she were our mother and when she was discharged she did not want to go home. We took them to heart the patients. We brought chocolates. Even a simple coffee for them. it seemed to them an immense gift like gold. ” Covid’s forced loneliness weighs heavily. “And this is also the meaning of our profession. It means giving a hand to the patient also on an emotional level”, say the nurses. “This too is medicine – Barbara observes – if you stop for 5 minutes and exchange a word. lockdown phase we had many donations, they filled us with gifts: chocolate, doves, a wine from Piedmont. We appreciated these things and shared them with patients. We sent our blood sugar sky high to our diabetics “, jokes Barbara. It is a way to explain the need for human warmth in such difficult circumstances. “Not seeing anyone for days is not easy. We hope that, once the spotlights of the pandemic are turned off, this commitment will not be forgotten.” “A unanimous commitment – underlines Barbara – There is no nurse without Oss, without assistants, without the doctor and the physiotherapist. Without all these figures together, we would not have made it and it must be said. It must also be remembered the cleaning lady who does a lot and is not recognized. Nobody said how important her job was, what she risked coming into contact with Covid material “. Everyone ran the risk, including nurses and health professionals, and they came to terms with their grief. “There were difficult times. We did everything. Even bringing the holy water from Lourdes to the ward when the priest could no longer enter,” Barbara recalls. “There was a period in which we also struggled to give the patients to drink because the staff numbers were tight and the sick were so many”, adds Mariagrazia. “This bothered us, we didn’t have time to give the right attention. We got help from outside, even the military came to support us. And this experience showed how important it is that there are no more cuts.” keep a smile “, remarks Barbara, recalling for example when, during her isolation in the hospital, together with her colleague she called” the friend who works in the restaurant to order something. And he said: I make sandwiches for all of you who are in hospital. It was a nice gesture. We started making phone calls to take the orders department by department, we wanted to give support even in isolation to those who had to work for two “. It took Barbara and her colleagues 3-4 weeks to put Covid behind them. “We made our pandemic. Then came the goal of the vaccine. And now we say to everyone: do it too, when it touches you, and have faith.”