The nurse’s mask
My parents, 177 years between them, are self-isolating in Bourbonnais. Children of war and veterans of medicine, they spent their lives healing others. Today they know that if they are hospitalized, they will not be resuscitated.
In the meantime, my mother loves to unfold a century of family history and tells me this: “In Lyon in 1949, I was an apprentice nurse at a home for sick children. On the first day the boss called us: ‘Ladies, your masks will be in organza*; the children must be able to see your smiles’”.
If soon, coughing, I meet a staff in FFP2 suits, gloves and masks, it is not the rout of a hospital system ravaged by four decades of budget cuts that I will think of, but my mother’s smile.
*a type of thin, transparent cloth made of silk or artificial fabric