“The opportunity to put words to what has been lived”… Caregivers tell the backstage of the pandemic

After the urgency of the crisis, it is time to look back at an unprecedented epidemic. In this perspective, look at COVID-19 It has just been published, on March 17, by hospital editions. Some 51 patients testify to what they experienced from January 2020 to December 2021, when the crisis was at its most intense. Their words were transcribed by a writer and a photographer took their portrait.

Among the collaborators, Marianne Lafitte, cardiologist and director of the Haut-Lévêque vaccination center, which opened its doors in January 2021. “When I was asked in the spring of 2021 to participate in the collective work, I told myself that It was an opportunity to put words to what we had experienced”, he recalls. Among the participants in the work, there are representatives of the various trades of the CHU, which has 15,000 hospital workers. If the book is designed as a “freeze frame of what we have lived through”, it is also an opportunity to structure the future, for Marianne Lafitte.

An effective “Covid” method

“We had to constantly adapt for two years,” he recalls. On vaccination, for example: there were new goals, new vaccines, in short, changes that we had to adapt to, every week. Today, when the crisis is no longer in an acute phase, caregivers are exhausted and sometimes discouraged. “This book comes to reactivate that collective memory of what we have been capable of doing and that should structure the future,” estimates the cardiologist.

She describes great solidarity during the crisis. “We all had to be hand in hand and we were able to do great things thanks to crisis management. We had an idea that seemed very good and, hopefully, we could rely on adjacent services to get it done quickly,” argues Marianne Lafitte. She regrets that this operation did not last and that profitability imperatives prevailed. “We have to be able to deal,” she insists, stressing that the crisis is not completely over.

applauded and criticized

The caregivers received applause at 8:00 p.m., before the first two confinements “when people were afraid,” analyzes the cardiologist. Later they were also the subject of uncertainties, complaints and mistrust. “This was seen collectively at the population level, he points out. But we also see it in the hospital with alternation between recognition and anxiety in patients who are hospitalized and are not well. These are normal reactions. »

Faced with this new virus, people had different reactions. “Either we are very scared and stunned, or we act very quickly,” explains Marianne Lafitte. Both are legitimate, each doing what he can to protect himself. This book brings together people who wanted to run but together and who want to continue doing so”.

The book is on sale for €25. For each purchase, 2 euros are donated to the patronage of the University Hospital of Bordeaux.

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