Being called a heroine while fighting against Covid 19

Being called a heroine while fighting against Covid 19

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Hello everyone,

I hope you are in good health and ideally immunized for COVID 19. As far as I can see, some of you can already fly, right? Here in Portugal, we aren’t allowed fly yet. We hope that some time in May it will open up again… I really miss the incredible feeling of happiness only for being able to fly freely.

Meantime, I want to share a magazine interview with you. ACTIVA is a Portuguese magazine of national and international scope addressing mainly to the feminine public. It has a monthly circulation of 18,000 copies. ACTIVA covers topics such as world, fashion, body, emotions, home, kitchen, children, money, and work are some examples. They interviewed several women in the context of the Corona pandemic and I am one of the interviewees. As a nurse, I deal with possible Covid 19 every day.

I think the magazine’s cover is amazing. ACTIVA asked artist Fatinha Ramos to illustrate this cover in order to thank the courage and talent of the heroines of Portugal: those who save lives with their work outside home overcoming fatigue and fear, so that the country doesn’t come to a complete stop. Those who also save lives by staying at home. These days, there are so many hands that support our hearts, our souls, our lives.

This issue is a special edition. Gisela, the Deputy Director of ACTIVA, said about it: “The interviewees were chosen because they are women who by their profession or willingly are playing a leading role in the fight against Covid 19. Some are at the forefront of combat, having to face an invisible and unknown enemy with the weapons they have, others give social support to the most vulnerable, because we are all in the same boat. And if we don’t fight it all together, we risk losing many battles, our humanity, what unites us has to be stronger. The other day, I heard someone quote Bill Gates. Apparently, he has said that we can only fight this Corona Virus if we fight in society and together with other countries, which is a matter of intelligence, not altruism. It is a question of local, national and global mutual aid.”

About the readers of ACTIVA, Gisela says: “It was always an intergenerational magazine. Readers who read the mothers’ magazine and then started buying for their homes, middle class, women with children and especially professionals, teachers, positions administrative, technical.”

The photo page shows Marta Temido (Minister of Health); Patricia Gaspar (Secretary of State for Internal Administration); Maria Mota (scientist, director of the molecular medicine institute); Graça de Freitas (Director-General of Health); Catarina Furtado (Presenter and Finder of the association Hearts with Crown); Célia Gomes (volunteer at the street animals association); Heloisa Toledo (volunteer for the Yoopies platform); Sandra Cerdeira (MD, volunteer in a COVID 19 clarification group at FB); Fatima Rosado (Caregiver in the Oeiras day care center); Paula Neto (INEM Physician and pediatrician); Catarina Henriques (Club manager Fitness Hut Carcavelos); Sofia Serrano (Obstetrician); Ramia Abdulghani (owner of Tayybeh Restaurant and a Syrian refugee); Matilde Ulvila (student and volunteer from the association “Improbable Friends”), and me, Silvia Ventura (nurse, National Paragliding Champion and in love with all kinds of outdoor activities).

And now, the interview:


We met her in July 2018, on a day when the thermometers hit 37°C and the breeze of the wind insisted not to be noticed, a problem because we wanted Silvia, a nurse in the Operating Room at Hospital do Barreiro and several times national champion of paragliding, did what she loves most and frees her from all stress: flying.

We immediately saw its fiber, even with that infernal heat and the wind making it difficult, Silvia did not lower her arms. Almost two years later, we spoke again and she shows her perseverance again. Instead of all her attention being focused on preparing for an eventual participation in the European Paragliding Championship in Serbia, Silvia’s life took a 180 degree turn and abruptly. The nurse who left her eight-hour shift at the Hospital to practice a whole series of outdoor sports – kitesurfing, diving, paragliding… – finds herself surrounded by a pandemic scenario in which the hours of work are extended and the free time is scarce.

To calm from work, she only does a 20-minute jog on alternate days and some gym in the attic at home. Otherwise, her time is spent in the Hospital. “Many of the functions that I normally perform in the perioperative area are, now, secondary, the main focus is on providing direct care and controlling the spread of Covid 19. Despite being a health professional, it is still difficult for me to accept that something invisible has practically stopped the world. It has been particularly difficult to see what is going on in Spain and Italy, in fact. It is impossible to digest those images, the reports… We are out of breath, speechless, with a tightness in the chest, wishing it doesn’t happen to ours. I often think ‘will we be able, through control measures and enacted plans, contain the pandemic? What will be the health implications of those who survive Covid 19?’”

A daily concern is the sudden increase in the use of personal protective equipment. “I am concerned about rationing because we all feel the need to be safe, wearing masks, gloves, full-length suits… Although the news that come to us is that there are entities that are making resources available for manufacturing masks and other devices. In the midst of fear, these attitudes reinforce and encourage us to believe that we will be able to keep the procedures safe without jeopardizing the health of those in need.”

At the date of this writing, the light at end of the tunnel is not yet visible but we all dream with that and Silvia is no exception. So, we wanted to ask her: at the end of it all, what is the first thing you are going to do? “Fly alongside the vultures and kiss the clouds, dive and dance with an octopus, kite up to sunset and feel happy with life.”

MAY 2020 27