"A delicate and crucial role" is what Elizabeth describes, for all Betty, when she talks about her work in a dialysis ward, where she's celebrating her 30 years of service this year.
Hers is a delicate and crucial role, like that of all health care workers, but working in dialysis wards involves a relationship with people suffering from chronic diseases, which bring with them years of tiredness, that of those who have felt pain for too long.
"I find myself having a close relationship with people even for years and so mine is a roletechnical, in the management of dialysis, but also educational, because I have to form a person tomanage their therapy properly once they are at home".
In a job like this, over time a relationship of mutual trust is established, "Those who are sick trust us nurses, entrusting us with the most precious good: their own lives".
"The chronic patient knows very well what his illness is. He knows very well that we will never succeed intake away completely all his physical problems. But he also knows very well that I and minecolleagues we can help him to find a new balance that will allow him to feel better".
The relationships between patients and nurses in the dialysis wards are very particular and Betty tells how a virus risked to completely upset them: "With the arrival of the pandemic, unfortunately everything has changed. Patients have experienced the change of our rhythms, perceived our agitation, lived with us without being able to see a smile, the expression of our faces, without feeling the contact if not the touch of a needle placed in a vascular access.From a close, human relationship, we had to move on to a much more detached relationship. In an instant everything changed. And I know very well that the patients in that ward were aware that all this was also and above all for them, just as they know that we have always worked, even before the
pandemic, to give them the best."
With this positive spirit, Elisabeth and her colleagues have tried to maintain a precise and secure organization so that none of their patients would lose their serenity.
But Betty's serenity and her constant commitment to her work, at a certain point, were put to the test by Covid-19: "Then, I became a patient too. I remember well that day, I started the afternoon shift with a very strong headache, but being quite subject and working with all the protective devices I blamed my usual migraines, the devices that make you lack air".
But then, the fever didn't wait and Elizabeth found out she was positive for Sars-Cov2.
It tells of the thousands of thoughts, doubts and fears, as well as anger, insecurities that have it.
gripped. "I felt anger at first, for not being able to protect myself as I would have
due, I who had to be there to help my patients and my colleagues."
Shortly afterwards other colleagues of his began to fall ill, and the patients on the ward from those absences were left with proof of it; they who live with the nurses the chronicity of an illness, day after day. "They see us as immortals, in the sense that for them the nurse never gets sick." But that "never" was taken away by a virus.
Finding out to be ill with Covid-19 means a complete readjustment of one's life, one must not just give up thework, but also to live in a peaceful home environment, where we all return every day to find our dimension.
At Elizabeth's side there was her husband who, dressed as a nurse, assisted and comforted her, until he began to have a fever and feel unwell too. Betty's worries then increased and while she continued to stay locked in her room, her husband occupied the living room and her 17-year-old daughter found herself spending the days alone in her room.
"Don't call us heroes, we're professionals but we're people first and foremost."
The day she returned to work she described him as "beautiful" while smiling with her eyes.
"I waited for him with all my heart, and now I am waiting to return to the Betty of old." In fact, although she has been cured for some time, Elizabeth is not yet in perfect health, and fatigue often accompanies her, but being able to be with her patients and colleagues gives her the strength she needs.
"We nurses are constantly studying. We also learn in the relationship with our patients, to maintain a high quality of care for people who need us and their families. Because despite chronic illness, you can have a good quality of life." And Betty and her colleagues work so that all this can exist.
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