"We were concerned not to measure up. That creates concern, overwhelm and a lot of insecurity. We will end up defeating the virus, but it has shaken us." Ana López Lago has been an intensivist for two decades. It has celebrated the discharges and notified deaths. All this in a context, that of loneliness, which he describes as terrible. "It was difficult for me, very difficult."
Now that the pressure has dropped a lot, although she thinks that the problem is not tackled, this UCI specialist who works at the Santiago University Hospital Complex (CHUS) remembers the concern with which they faced the unknown and uses the plural many times because you know it is mutual.
A tiny infectious agent that has caused "global havoc" was the target to combat. Before she came to Spain, like many other health workers, and to this doctor from Viveiro (Lugo) and resident in Compostela, she worked to consult in detail the information "of all kinds" that was available, any article.
"Before he came to Spain, there was concern about not making the grade," he tells Efe, adding: "Later, too, because we saw how our colleagues in Madrid and Barcelona were passing it and one said to himself: My God My God, we did not arrive ... Finally here it was more benign, more benevolent, there were fewer cases. "
Ana is married to a cardiologist. They have four children: the first-born, 19, studies Medicine; the next one has just been released in the coming of age and then there are the twins, 11, who daily asked if there were "many sick" and if "many died". This practitioner, with humility, downplays her personal situation.
"We have been like many others, at the foot of the canyon and, of course, we had the concern of what we were going to do if the person who helps us with the children could not come," he limits himself to sharing.
All this combined at work with "a lot of concern, a lot of insecurity, a lot of stress." They did not know, he details, if there was going to be a sufficient number of beds. Not even if they themselves would be "sufficient" to care for the patients and, in short, if they were going to be able to respond "to the challenge".
"Hence the anguish", assumes someone who finished residency in 2000 and accumulates all that baggage. But none of that was worth tempering.
For this reason, he believes that the pandemic has been a "cure for humility" because sometimes it seems to those of his union, like others, that with their knowledge and good work they will be able to fix everything, when "we solve what It really is solvable, because there are pathologies that are not. " "And in this case this virus has shaken us. We have been learning with it."
They have tried, for example, medications that were not what they expected. And they have had to vary the treatments on the fly.
Currently, they are preparing for what may come, he underlines when speaking of an eventual outbreak. "Until now, we have doubled guards and we have all worked much more than usual to avoid falling short. Hopefully this outbreak will not come, but we must be prepared. I honestly believe that we have not yet won."
The impossibility of close contact with the sick and their relatives has been "horrible". All the information has been given by phone. "We did not see the relatives, we could not approach them, we could not touch them." And with the infected who had to be screened before being taken to critical care, they sometimes talked, if they were fit for it; and on other occasions, too many, not even that.
"And seeing those scary faces ... We see them many times, the scary faces, but with a family member next to them. Alone it is horrible. For me it was difficult, very difficult. And giving the news of a death on the phone, better I don't even count it ... "
He also puts himself in the role of Nursing, that "they are much closer, longer, that they have overturned" and tries to contain, without success, a sigh.
The discharges have supposed an "immense joy", with nuances, for the impossibility of "sharing" it in person with all those who should be. "But discharge is fantastic. Of the first ones I remember perfectly. This was something that one faces as a doctor, for the first time, and you say: 'Well, they've come out, great.' We have both sides of the coin "
Nor does it erase from his mind the case of a woman, with whom they had "alive", since they thought he was going out. It was one of the first to enter. He had gone on an excursion. Ana had to intubate and heard from her mouth, with a face of fear, loneliness and anguish: "Oh doctor, doctor, I'm going to die." The questioned replied: "What's going on, man, you're going to die, don't talk nonsense and don't worry."
They are used to humanization, while not to humanization, "that is why we try to give them all the support we can."
The physical conditions of that lady were good. They managed to extubate. He passed away "after a long time". "For me it was especially painful. I was very scared. He touched me a lot ... He finally died. Yes, that's the way it is."