Nicolas’ Testimony: “My experience in emergencies at Denia Hospital”.

This very moving story has been translated from an original article from Xabia al Dia.

I had an almost constant fever for 2 weeks, I went to my health centre and my doctor was struggling to keep the 39 ° temperature at bay as it would continue to rise if I did not take Algidol religiously every eight hours. Whenever I returned to the centre, they measured my blood pressure, oxygen and examined me. Also, they did an antigen test and a PCR (both negative). 

Later, I was sent to Moraira to collect blood and urine for analysis, and to do the Mantoux test, which is done to find out if you have been in contact with the tuberculosis bacteria. But the fever was still there.

Last Monday, after confirming that Mantoux was negative, my doctor decided to send me to Dénia, to simplify and speed things up. I must confess that at first I was not amused by the idea and even less as I know what is happening in almost all the hospitals in the community. 

This left me with feelings between uncertainty and the fear of going and not knowing what you are going to find. When I left home (because I went alone, it made no sense for anyone to accompany me), I couldn’t help a first sense of initial panic and grief. In these situations, you don’t know if you go and they admit you … what if you don’t come back? What if it’s the last time you’ve said goodbye to your family without knowing it? 

I arrived at 11:30 am and they admitted me to the “Covid suspects” waiting area, and what I observed for the next 8 hours completely changed my way of thinking about several things, that I would like to share with you now.

Organisation, health care and human care:

First of all, I want to say that I am neither a doctor nor a health worker. All I am saying here is merely the my view as a patient.

The first thing that struck me was the way it was organised. There is a “dirty” area (Covid emergencies), and a “clean” area (non-Covid emergencies). There is a waiting room for confirmed patients and another for suspected infections, where they put me.

The work done by our health staff is really impressive. I cannot express another word – just pure admiration. The arrival of ambulances is constant as the hours tick by. Plus there are also people like me, who are arriving alone. The pressure becomes greater for these professionals with every moment that passes but nothing stops them. It looks like a hive where the naked eye can see an apparent disorder, but the reality is that it is perfectly organised. Each one goes about their business and they know at all times what they have to do. Of course, those who arrive by ambulance always have priority. Sometimes the waiting times are extended, and when you are there for more than 3 hours, having to wait 40 minutes seems like a lifetime, but it is not the fault of the staff.

I have noticed it behind that suit, goggles and protection screen … I have noticed it in his eyes. They call you and the first thing they offer is an apology for being late. Then, when you tell them not to worry, that we are seeing them do what they can, they stare at you for a moment, as if thanking you for that brief second of oxygen in their brain. Helplessly supressing so many things that they may want to scream, but they don’t… because it is their job. Because they have not time to stop to say thank you.

The porters must be athletes or something. I haven’t seen them sit down for a second. Taking people up, down, to the bathroom, they accompany them here, there… and ALWAYS with a smile and a good disposition. Not even when a patient is rude or raises his voice due to impatience or maybe nerves – they understand everything and know how to take the “public” to their place (they would be good waiters).

What is happening is very hard. Next to me was an 84-year-old English man. He came in around the same time as me. All day alone, sitting in his wheelchair without talking to anyone. Around 7:30 p.m. his wife called him and the man put the phone in hands-free. His wife, crying, asks him if she can go see him and he says no. As soon as they hang up, the man starts crying like a child. Of the 6 or 7 people who were there, there was no one who could help but shed a tear. It’s so hard to see that. It is so impersonal. I fully understand that it is for everyone’s safety, but that does not mean that your heart does not shrink when you see something like that. The health staff see and cope with this, day in and day out!

Finally, my diagnosis has been: possible Covid pneumonia. Now I am confined to my room until the new result arrives. 

Anyway, I ask you please, whoever wants to read my story, this is happening. THIS IS REAL!. Let’s take the rules seriously, respect the laws, protect our own. It costs us nothing. People are dying. We have to remember that there are many people working very hard for us.

Nicolas Tufiño

Citizen and resident of the Marina Alta region