Mara Viscardi is a geriatric nurse who, after working for 20 years in RSA, has been in the rehabilitation centre for geriatric patients for a year and a half.
"Geriatric patients have more needs than others because they are more fragile," she says, and her patients, when they see her, know they have someone in front of them who will take care of them with love and professionalism, even during a health emergency like that of Covid-19.
Mara remembers how everything came suddenly, but she didn't find them unprepared: "We realized that Covid was entering the facility when we had the first cases of fever.
No one knew what this virus was, but we began to talk, so we became alarmed and immediately identified the cases.
The structure in which he worked was no less: he equipped everyone with the necessary protections and put them in a position to work safely, but for everyone the strongest emotion was always and only fear.
"I was terrified for the whole Covid period, I had never felt it in my whole life and I hope never to feel it again". And to Mara's dismay was soon added disorientation, when she found herself forced to move every day to a new, unknown ward: "For me it was devastating. Besides the stress of having to work in a ward that was not yours, the fear for Covid that was now everywhere, the feeling of bewilderment was added because you found yourself alone, the only nurse in a small ward, without the support of colleagues, because they were not your colleagues. You didn't know them and you didn't even recognize them, under all the trappings and protections".
At this point, with her broken voice and eyes shining from the restrained tears, Mara recounts the most difficult part of that period: "I will always remember a patient on the phone with his daughter. She was trying to be positive, but when she asked him how he was, he answered lapidarially 'I'm dying'. And it was true".
It was true, and it was heartbreaking, because Mara's patients and those of many other geriatric nurses were the category most affected by Covid-19.
And there, by their side, not a relative but Mara and her colleagues, loving and unwavering presences who fought for each of them until the last second.
"I've certainly changed with Covid and I won't be the same as I was before. My understanding of the weight that family members bear has increased and above all I have understood the value of human beings, because I have had wonderful people who have been close to me, who have supported me and I will never forget them".
A smile open to life that will come ploughs through her face and finally illuminates her eyes: "I would like people to learn to identify with nurses, to understand their role, what they do and how important it is what they do".
Let's always remember that.