Terri Gazi, Lead Nurse shares her very personal reflection on the last 12 months during the pandemic
City Hospice’s Lead Nurse shares her personal reflection on this Day of Reflection
On Wednesday 18th March I returned from Australia with my partner following a four-day visit. The holiday had been planned for a year, to enjoy the F1 and a pacific cruise. Plus, I had managed to negotiate three weeks off work!
On landing four days earlier, we were told that the F1 had just been cancelled but the cruise was to go ahead. Watching the news unfold we knew that there would be no cruise. Fellow travellers had mixed emotions, some wanted to wait it out while others just wanted to go home. I must be honest although I knew the situation was serious, I was not prepared for what was to unfold over the next year.
However, we were still in Melbourne amongst all the F1 orphans wandering around confused and unsure what to do next. A flight was arranged to Sydney two days later, arriving we took the opportunity to see the Opera House which was always on my bucket list (in view of what has happened I feel quite selfish for managing to do this).
The early hours of the next morning we boarded a flight back to the UK.
Dazed and jet lagged we arrived at Heathrow with a coach ticket dated three weeks in the future. At the coach station the wonderful driver accepted our ticket and was doing his best to make sure everyone who turned up got on that bus. Reflecting on the bus journey home I started to realise things may be much more serious. At Sophia Gardens the last part of our journey was in a taxi. The driver was already worried regarding how he was going to survive with customers dwindling. I often wonder how that lovely man is and if he managed to survive the pandemic both financially and health wise.
Official lockdown began on 23rd March
………….the day I returned to work; jet lagged still, but now starting to understand that we were entering some very troubled times. Our doctors had organised Covid meetings where all senior staff had input into the management of the pandemic. The doctors remained true to form showed no signs of anxiety and the phrase ‘we will follow the science’ remains a catchphrase that once this is all over, I must print out and put on their door!
We remained focused on our patients throughout
As a team we ploughed through this with good and bad days. There are a number of staff who carried on while experiencing high levels of personnel anxiety and I sincerely thank them from the bottom of my heart. This includes both clinical and admin staff, it would have been so easy for them to turn away, but they all pulled together.
Many of the staff had elderly relatives, grandchildren, sons, and daughters which brought added worry and anxiety about the people they loved. But we all focused on the patients that relied on us and wanted to stay in their own homes. Ultimately, we exist at City Hospice to support our patients and relatives, a pandemic in the mix will not and has not stopped our dedication to our patients and relatives.
The kindness showed to us kept us going
What stays in my memory are all those wonderful people who delivered food to us, donated protective clothing and so much chocolate! Our fundraisers who fundraised to support us, trying so hard to keep us going, we missed them in the building but knew they were there. The bin men who emptied my bin at home with a cheery smile, the supermarket staff who made me feel so special in that golden hour of shopping. All those lovely people who delivered food, post and parcels – what would we have done without them. All the overwhelming sadness of our patient’s families losing a loved one at such a difficult time.
Today we think of all those who have died and their bereaved families
The pandemic has been such a difficult time for us all, and today we will give a thought to all those who have died, consider those who are grieving and remember our fellow frontline colleagues. I would also like to thank everyone who has helped the charity to continue to operate during this most difficult of years, and say how thankful I am, that I was lucky enough to work through this with my colleagues at City Hospice.
Lead Nurse, City Hospice