Marta Gravellone, a young doctor who visits coronavirus patients at home, knew what it meant to be ill and in isolation long before the pandemic broke out in her hometown in northern Italy.
Two years ago, she emerged victorious from her battle with cancer, an experience she will never forget as she visits towns and villages on the shores of Lake Maggiore. “I clearly understand what isolation means, what disease means, and what it means to feel lonely when you’re sick,” the 29-year-old told Reuters.
“So I try to make people feel less alone,” she added.
Gravellone is visiting patients at home with another young doctor, Maeva Christophe. One helps the other to dress in the protective uniform, to put on the mask and the plastic shield of face protection before each visit.
On one visit, they examine a young couple, in another, the lungs of a 60-year-old man with a portable ultrasound machine.
“It has radically changed the way I work as a doctor.”
As Gravellone explains, her experience as a cancer survivor has given her a new perspective.
“It changes the way you deal with life’s difficulties, but it also allows you to understand how you can help people who, in times of need, ask for help. It has radically changed the way I work as a doctor,” she said.
Novara is a province in the Piedmont region, where Lake Maggiore is located, has recorded more than 2,000 cases of coronavirus as well as more than 230 deaths from COVID-19, relatively low rates compared to its neighboring region, Lombardy.
The coronavirus has also hit the local economy hard – tourists who would normally flock to the shores of the lake and the picturesque towns of the area have not appeared.
“We have noticed that everyone has been affected, from the richest to the least wealthy, from the healthiest to the least healthy. It’s a situation that has made us all equal,” says Christoph.