LONDON – Queen Elizabeth II, after her recent battle with COVID-19, empathized with patients, doctors and nurses at a London hospital last week as she listened to their stories about her life. live on the front lines of the pandemic.
The King spoke to patients and staff at the Royal London Hospital during a virtual visit marking the official dedication of the Queen Elizabeth Unit, a 155-bed critical care facility built just for five weeks at the height of the pandemic. Elizabeth tested positive for COVID-19 in February and suffered from what Buckingham Palace described as “mild cold-like symptoms”.
“It makes one very tired and exhausted, doesn’t it?” she told recovering COVID-19 patient Asef Hussain and his wife, Shamina. “This terrible pandemic.”
The unit has treated around 800 coronavirus patients from across north-east London, with staff recruited from across the region, including retired doctors and nurses and even those Soldiers are assigned to help.
Nurse Mireia Lopez Rey Ferrer told Elizabeth that when friends and family members were barred from going to the hospital with strict virus control measures, the nurses did their best to comfort the patients. seriously ill.
“As nurses, we make sure they’re not alone,” says Lopez Rey. “We held their hands, wiped their tears and comforted them. At times it felt like we were running a marathon without finishing.”
Hussain was the third member of his family to be hospitalized with COVID-19 at the end of December 2020. His brother died first, then his father died while Hussain was on a ventilator.
“I remember waking up one morning feeling very short of breath,” he said. “I remember waking up my wife saying I felt like there was no oxygen in the room. I remember sticking my head out the window, just trying to breathe, trying to get that extra oxygen.”
He was on a ventilator for seven weeks and was only recently able to stop using a wheelchair.
Nurses helped lift Hussain’s spirits by arranging video calls on tablets. Shamina Hussain told the queen that 500 friends and family around the world had called on a conference call to pray for her husband.
“So you have a big family, or a big influence on people,” quipped the queen.
The couple smiled.