In “O Amor nos Tempos do Cólera”, writer Gabriel García Márquez (1927-2014) portrays the romance between Florentino and Fermina during the 19th century in a devastating scenario caused by the disease that killed thousands of people and spread fear and sadness.
In the 21st century, there is a parallel with Covid-19. In both situations there is the presence of waiting, pain and death. In modern times, amidst grief and chaos, the pandemic has also given tone to love stories.
In honor of Valentine’s Day (12), the leaf tells stories of health professionals who met and fell in love while caring for Covid-19 cases.
Until three months ago, nurse Bianca de Castro Rezende, 28, was single and decided to stay that way after a relationship that brought her difficulties.
Nursing technician Rene Botti de Oliveira, 32, had a girlfriend. The two met on duty at the Hospital Sancta Maggiore, in Mooca (eastern zone).
Bianca took over a floor of the institution and met Rene sporadically on extra shifts.
Initially, the conversations focused on professional issues and the patients’ situation. To facilitate corporate communication, they exchanged phones. Eventually, as co-workers, they went out to lunch near the hospital. They became friends.
“Since the beginning, I had that look. Sometimes I’d catch him watching me at work and he’d cover it up. At the time, a friend said that if he didn’t date, something would happen between us,” says Rezende.
“I passed by Bianca while she was doing the evolution of the patients and she looked at me over her glasses, but she didn’t say anything. That look over his glasses shook me. I fell in love right away,” says Oliveira.
The trigger for the continuity of the flirting was a photo that Bianca posted on the WhatsApp status. Commenting on the image, Rene suggested that someday they go out together. For two weeks, both remained silent. They met at work, but there was nothing more than a greeting.
“I didn’t care much because I thought he was still with the girl, but it had been over a month since Rene had separated. I heard about his separation from friends and we started exchanging messages”, says Rezende.
Bianca didn’t know, but Rene’s strategy for the conquest involved a gradual approach, not least because they were both concerned with the work environment.
“Sometimes I thought she was too much sand for my little truck. One day, when I saw those little eyes, I couldn’t stand it and kissed her”, says Oliveira.
The stolen kiss occurred at the time the two left work, coincidentally at the same time.
“He pulled me in and gave me a kiss. Rene came out laughing and I was stunned because I wasn’t expecting it. I thought of taking the kiss as something casual. I didn’t want to date because I had come out of a very bad relationship and he had also said that he wanted to stay single and have fun.”
The day after the kiss, Rene accompanied her close to her house. The approximation, over time, was inevitable. The couple at first opted to just stay, but the relationship increased and the superficial relationship turned into a serious relationship, which has lasted three months.
“The most beautiful thing about her is her heart. It’s an extreme kindness that makes it sensational.”
In addition to the love they feel for each other, Bianca and Rene have many affinities and are best friends.
The couple exchanged engagement rings and introduced the families. Bianca and Rene decided to live together and on the 5th they will look for the key to the new apartment, in Vila Antonieta (eastern zone). The wedding, still undated, will be on a beach.
For Adriane Branco, a psychologist specializing in Human Sexuality from USP and a researcher at the Center for Studies and Research in Behavior and Sexuality, especially in the health area, where coexistence is long in 12- and 24-hour shifts, people started to look more closely. for the others, finding common ground and giving themselves the opportunity to live an affectionate relationship.
“Before the pandemic, there wasn’t so much concern about turning a date into a relationship. People are giving themselves the opportunity to get to know each other better and not remain in superficial relationships”, says Branco.
“The pandemic made people understand that we live in society and as human beings we need each other. It is in the affective relationship that we experience affection and surrender the most, and we give ourselves to each other. This helped a lot in the rescue of love. The need to have someone and to be close was perceived”, he says.
In May 2020, the vacation of nurse Mariana Amaral Cavalieri, 41, was interrupted on the fifth day. Employee of the Estivadores Hospital Complex, managed by the Instituto Social Alemão Hospital Oswaldo Cruz, Mariana accepted the proposal of the OSS (Social Health Organization) to take over the care coordination of the Hospital de Campanha Vitória, in Santos (72 km from SP), managed by same institution. “I returned and went to set up the hospital.”
Because of the pandemic, physician Thiago Siervo Camargo Neves, 35, had returned to Brazil after a four-year stay in the United States to pursue a master’s and doctoral degree.
Back in São Paulo, he got a job at a company that had been hired by the institute to provide doctors exclusively for the Covid-19 service areas.
“He first came to the shifts at Estivadores. He had been there since April, but I had never seen him. We met when we started to set up the field hospital, where he took over as medical coordinator. Both of us, as coordinators, had to do a lot of things together,” says Cavalieri.
After a week in doubt about Thiago’s marital status and exchanging glances, came the certainty that he was single. As he had nowhere to stay in Santos, Mariana offered her apartment for him to stay.
“He never left. We don’t have an official date when the relationship started. We count the day we got together for the first time. We celebrated a year together on the 23rd of May”, she says.
“I keep falling in love with him every day. Thiago was a surprise in my life. It was something that happened a lot out of nowhere. I wasn’t expecting it. The first few months were decisive for us to be really together. The fact that one understands the other’s profession, of talking, exchanging and laughing a lot about things makes me fall in love with him in a different way. Every day we discover something new. I also think that dialogue is fundamental”, says Cavalieri.
“When the couple works together, it is necessary to learn to live the relationship. It is necessary to separate work from personal life and know how to talk about both topics. The good part is that you have the opportunity to be close to someone you love”, explains Branco.
“The health professional has the responsibility to take care of the other. The meaning of love is correlated with this. When you love someone, you propose to take care of them”, completes the psychologist.