A Day in the Hospital – a portrait of social classes (Covid- 19 and other diseases in times of Pandemic)

Pandemic, health and reflections

Naturalness as a literary style

To inaugurate the launch of my website, it was necessary to talk a little about myself, my causes, my stories and other themes, for which I nurture a deep affection.

As a starting point for an honest text, which is what we want, it is assumed at the base a naturalness of gestures, experiences and words, which depends on the flow of life. “What is natural is good”, I would say as a motto to describe my writing.

I want to show you that I am human, made of flesh and blood and that, by being part of this world and of this Humanity, I am also a piece in this gear that never stops moving. I am nevertheless, in all conscience, lucky enough to have a website that transforms me, a little further (I do not know if much, or significantly), than a simple anonymous, silent andforgotten voice. Nowadays, it is already something, so we should use this possibility, with strength and wisdom.

Pandemic, health and reflections

Inside a public hospital, in times of Pandemic

I am writing to you from the hospital, because since morning I have felt a strong pain in my chest. At some moments, I thought that I was going to leave today for the Creator. Perhaps this makes me think that we cannot waste every minute of this life; suddenly, without having learnt anything about ourselves and this existence, we simply cease to exist. And there is so much left unsaid!

An old lady had been lying on a stretcher for a long time when she was called from one of the medical offices. Her name was Maria dos Remédios (Remedies Maria). I questioned myself about the meaning of her name in a place like this.

A gentleman sitting in front of me was reading a book on maritime and colonial history. I made a serious effort to be able to read the title from a distance, due to my short-sightedness. He was the only one holding a book in his hands and when I left my chair to ask the security guard a question, he immediately took my place. Interesting, isn’t it? That the chair I had occupied for more than two hours was now in the “use” of the only assiduous reader of the hospital’s emergency room. A game of chairs, fun to watch?

As the hours went by, and after a revolution led by a lady who had been waiting more than six hours to be attended to, I finally understood – or rather, I verified (because I had difficulty in accepting this fact), that the less urgent tickets were not being called to the medical offices.

In times of Pandemic, only extremely severe cases and patients with Covid-19 have room in a public hospital. So, with this resource allocation strategy in place, leading to all those who are not at or near the brink of death finding refuge in a private hospital, I gave up my attempt to be seen there.

Pandemic, health and reflections

People have no Voice

I complained about this case to a lady who was at reception that day, informing me of the long hours of waiting for all those who, lacking an income – with an illness that wasneither very serious nor very light – found themselves in no man’s land. I added that not all the people who had been sitting there for several hours could use the services of a private clinic. That is, if the “push up” strategy did not take this very important fact into consideration.

So much so, that the lady who led the first revolt didn’t even have money to buy the return pass home. She would have had to walk. All this seems to me symptomatic of the profound asymmetry that exists between social classes, and what we offer to some and others. And if, for someone living on the edge of poverty, the public hospital is, in fact, the only place they can find for treatment, for the middle classes it is also a difficult choice: they have to choose between the essential and the basic. As the words themselves show, sometimes it is not even a choice.

It is even more worrying and embarrassing to realise, that the only response the lady at the hospital reception has to offer us is: “Nobody listens to me. I have no voice”.

Pandemic, health and reflections

With this, I end this article by saying that, alongside this pandemic, we have to find space and time for everything else. Because the difficult thing is to reconcile priorities, we cannot afford to make 0 and 1 decisions: all or nothing. Nothing or everything. There must be room for the “0,2” and the “0,3” – they too, are part of the scale.