AP PHOTOS: The Italian nurse couple ICU brings the love of the family to the ward
By ALESSANDRA TARANTINO and MARIA GRAZIA MURRU
ROME (AP) – The pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges for families around the world who manage work and home.
For the Di Giacobbe family, juggling is even more difficult because mom and dad are intensive care nurses in the same COVID-19 hospital. They spend their days trying to give patients the kind of personal care and attention they give their children.
The family will celebrate Christmas together this year – parents Maurizio Di Giacobbe and Glenda Grossi both managed to receive a December 25 discount. But they won’t have grandparents, aunts and uncles around their holiday table. They want to protect them.
“So we will be with our three children, the dog and the two cats,” Grossi said on a rare Saturday, when both parents were home at the same time, decorating the Christmas tree with Titian, 4, Arianna, 9 and Flavio, 10.
When the pandemic first broke out in Italy last spring and no one knew how to alleviate its spread, parents wore surgical masks around their children and developed a “virtual hug” to express their love. For the kids, it was a game. But their parents knew firsthand how deadly COVID-19 was.
“I don’t mean to say that we are used to seeing people die, but we were going to work with a kind of resignation,” so that at most he could offer patients with dignity in their last moments, Di Giacobbe said.
Over time, doctors realized which therapies worked best. “Now, instead, we are fighting,” he said.
However, Italy now leads Europe with the most COVID-19 deaths – over 65,000.
In many ways, the couple brings the love of a family to the COVID-19 ward, knowing full well the importance of touching, caressing and making video calls with the loved ones of their patients outside, who are otherwise denied access.
Grossi breaks up when she remembers one of her first patients at Tor Vergata COVID Hospital in Rome, Fabio, a 43-year-old father who married his partner in March while he was hospitalized with COVID-19.
“I remember the day Fabio called the video to his wife and children, touched his chest with his hand and said, ‘He has to intubate me, see you soon. “While Di Giaccobe is standing next to her, Grossi’s voice cracks.
“See you soon” was never fulfilled, unfortunately, because Fabio failed. ”
Nicole Winfield contributed.