"If Christ were not here, I would run away”

She's a nurse at the Polyclinic of Milan. Within a few hours, young and inexperienced, she found herself working with intensive care patients. Fear and complaint dominate. Then, after her first shift, something changes...

I am a nurse in the ICU at the Polyclinic of Milan. I have been working, for almost three weeks now, in the various wards created to receive Coronavirus patients. Since the Friday when the first cases were declared, my hospital started to prepare us to receive these patients and we did not know what would happen and if they would ask us to stay in the hospital. On Sunday, we were ready to open and on Monday the first patient arrived.

On Monday morning, to allow a colleague to change shift, I was sent to the Covid-ICU. I trusted in the fact that, as I am young and inexperienced, they would never have sent me, but they catapulted me there right away. During that first shift, I was afraid that fear would overcome me. I was completely lost. Everything seemed surreal and exaggerated. Within a day, the ward had filled up and we found ourselves having to provide complex care for serious patients with few staff. I left the ward after three consecutive shifts overcome by tiredness and complaint, with my heart in turmoil and without knowing where we were going and what was happening.

I found myself having breakfast with the head nurse and I spilled all of my discomfort upon her. Something happened there: after three days of anger, I realized that she too was giving everything she could. Although I was dead tired, I could not go home to rest. I stopped there in her studio to write down some suggestions to reorganize my work. After I was there a while, the area manager came along. The same thing happened: I realized that she too was giving everything, she had not slept for days, and we started working together to try to organize things.

The whining I was caught up in had clouded my judgment. Now, instead, all my energy was focused upon trying to improve the situation with those next to me. After three days of thinking "I do not want to be here," I started saying "yes" to what was happening. A very nice bond was born with the area manager and, these days, she calls me every now and then to find out how I am, thanks me, and asks me how my work is going.

Something new is also flourishing with other colleagues. Often, many of them continue to complain about the situation (not wrongly), but what wins is that we are together. I do not know how to explain it, maybe, simply, we are becoming better friends. I feel free to send Carrón’s article to some of them, because it seems to be written precisely for us: living reality as an opportunity!

Since last week, we have also opened a "sub-intensive" section, with non-intubated patients. One day I bumped into a lady, Anna, who asked me to get her a charger. My first thought was: "This is crazy! I cannot even keep up with the six patients that I have to follow and she asks me for a charger...". I started, however, to hastily rummage through her things and I found a juice box. I gave it to her. She seemed like a very happy little girl. That is when she started calling me by my first name. And I was happy too, because that juice box brought me back and melted my heart of stone. I hope I can go back to that ward soon, because I have bought Anna more juice and a book to read...

Of course, I would prefer not to have to work in this situation and I would have liked to have chosen to work with the Covid patients, rather than be forced to. I would prefer a lot of other things. But I would not trade my heart, as needy as it is in these weeks, for anything in the world. It gives a new taste to things! To love all things with this distance inside (the patients, the whining, the friends you would like to see, the beautiful things you would like to do). Because I am loved, I discover that I can face this situation with joy. Only with Christ does a situation like this become an opportunity because, if He were not here, I would run away.

Signed letter