Anthony Gravell, Senior Respiratory Physiotherapist | Selfless-jessica-van-wer-weert-5.jpg
I found the isolation from friends, family and colleagues the most challenging. It was hard to maintain the drive to continue during what felt like Groundhog Day. Work, shower, eat, isolate and repeat. Being involved with the care of the worst affected patients on Critical Care made you feel as though you were constantly contagious, carrying the virus wherever you went, fearful you could pass it on and be responsible for the consequences of that. It was a terrifying time; we knew so little and could only hope ourselves and our loved ones would survive. We showed determination and courage in the face of an invisible enemy. I feel dramatic writing that now, but that is how it felt. We placed the care of our patients first, they needed help and we rose to the occasion, no matter the risk. My NHS family = Selfless. I was involved in the rehabilitation of a gentleman in his thirties with my fellow Critical Care physiotherapist David Rowe. The patient had required a lengthy stay sedated and ventilated, a period on ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) in Leicester and back to us. He was unable to speak due to a tracheostomy in place as part of his weaning from the ventilator. Following his first stand in months using our standing hoist he was placed into a supportive chair. We asked if he felt up to trying a speaking valve on his trachea. When he agreed I asked his nurse if she would FaceTime his family. His first words to his wife and young children were ‘Love you’. The squeals of delight and ‘I heard him! I love you’ were amazing. I was crying, David was crying, his nurse was crying. Tears of joy during dark times.