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An Evening in Florence

We’d like to do all we can to show our appreciation of our healthcare workers. Not only are they treating patients affected by an unfamiliar virus, but they have the extra challenges that come with being fully gowned, with face masks and visors, and caring for patients at a time when they’re isolated from loved ones.

As thank you to some soon-to-be brides who are contributing to the community and dealing with the heartache of postponed or modified wedding plans, we’re gifting them with a special piece to wear on their wedding day. Last month we shared Gillian’s story and today we’d like to spotlight the wonderful Maria, a Dublin nurse who has been relocated to the COVID-19 wards.

Challenges in the ward

Maria is normally based in the surgical wards looking after patients who are recovering from surgeries, but she has now been moved to an increasingly pressing area of treatment. “My usual routine had to change rapidly to care for COVID-19 patients,” says Maria. “In surgical nursing you generally expect the patient to make a good recovery and be discharged as long as there are no complications but on a medical ward, especially COVID-19 wards, it can be very different. You sometimes care for end-of-life patients, which can be quite upsetting especially knowing that their family cannot always be by their side. I used to work on a respiratory ward so thankfully I had some experience in this area to look after COVID-19 patients, but it is still a completely new side to nursing that we have never experienced before.”

Looking after COVID-19 patients is a new and unfamiliar territory and Maria says it’s important to be on the lookout for any changes in symptoms. “Like any respiratory illness, COVID-19 patients can get very sick very quickly so you have to be on alert at all times and pay attention to any little change in the patient’s symptoms.”

To help counteract the stresses at the hospital, Maria is keeping physically and mentally active. “Switching off from social media now and again and reading a book instead, has definitely brightened my mood,” says Maria. “I’m also doing a lot of online yoga classes that my cousin (@yogawithmaura) teaches. Getting out for walks and exercise make such a difference too.”

Love outside the hospital

The proposal to her fiancé Dave was completely unexpected; it began with a casual walk around their local park. “We watched the sunset and when I turned around Dave was down on one knee. I loved how natural it was, away from any crowds, where we could enjoy the moment ourselves,” says Maria.

Planning her upcoming wedding with Dave has given Maria something positive to look forward to. “Once I found my dress, I knew my theme was going to be quite classic and understated with a little bit of vintage thrown in.”

We’ve given Maria the antique silver FLEUR crown, featuring floral details and ivory pearls, to enhance her classic style. “I had been browsing for so long for the perfect headpiece and couldn’t find anything I was looking for,” says Maria. “I wanted something delicate with a vintage style to it, so once I found Tania Maras and saw how beautiful and intricate the designs were, I knew it was the perfect place for me.”

For our next ‘Weddings and Pandemics’ feature, we’ll introduce you to Claudia. She’s been doing lab work in Germany – studying the COVID-19 virus and finding ways to prevent its spreading. Claudia and her partner Andres also have a very sweet ‘meet cute’ story to share.

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