None of us who were hospitalized there was able to escape from the suffering. The camera, the wheel chair and the affection of the hospital employees smoothened my journey.
Our life goes by incredibly quickly: once we finish the compulsory years in school we start looking for a job or start higher education; then we embark on dating, we either stay single or marry, with more or less success; then maybe children would come, and almost always we struggle at the end of the month: the mortgage, loans, the fridge that breaks down and you need to buy a new one, the dentist, the holidays, the car that decided to “die” suddenly, and a long etc.
This could be, more or less, the “normal” life of hundreds of people in most of the developed countries. Submerged in this vortex of events, in this eagerness of prospering, we usually forget that there are other realities. It’s not the end of the world when your favourite team is defeated in this or that championship; nor is it when you are fired from your job, and even less, when your girl or boyfriend dumps you… However, it is a hundred eighty degrees turn when your legs stop walking or your arms stop moving; when, for example, your liver, your kidneys or your heart decide that they won’t carry on, or when everything starts to get blurry and, little by little, the world starts to disappear in front of your opened eyes.
My grandmother was right; we don’t appreciate what we have until we lose it… I lost four years of my life because of a traffic accident. One day I found myself tied in a bed and I realised that I wasn’t the only unfortunate one. I realised that everyday there’s people that are fighting for being able to hold a glass of water, to stand, to walk, to talk and communicate or, in the worst of the cases, to learn to be as self-sufficient as possible in their new condition… It can happen to anyone, there are no guarantees or vaccinates. Maybe us and our loved ones can escape from the catastrophe or from the accident, maybe also from the illness, but it is very probable that, as we get older, the stairs become the worst of our tortures… all of us, at some point of our lives, can be “disabled” or “diminished”; so the least we can do is to demand that the accessibility to the spaces was the standard and not the exception, as it is nowadays. Let’s make it easy, for them and for us…
From those days I’ve learned that a good doctor or a good nurse –and as an extension any professional- are those who carry out their job with love –though it may sound cheesy-, and I also realised that when we stop being selfish we can do great things. Another thing I understood was that the greatest success we can achieve is to live our life sharing it with the people we love, and that happiness exists if we are able to have enough “…strength to change what can be changed, calmness to accept what cannot be changed and wisdom to appreciate the difference.”
Report done from November 1992 to February 1993: Peracamps Hospital (Barcelona).