We arrive at the place of sighs and shocks, of fears and salvation, of hope. We are greeted by a young and pleasant doctor, one of those who work with their soul and are there, in the red zone, even though they have vulnerable people at home. In moments the sadly famous news that I did not want to hear: is positive. And my house of cards collapses. My God, again! Don't let me down.
Las Tunas, Cuba.- The Mártires de Las Tunas Pediatric Hospital must be congested; there are cribs and beds on the right side of the same Respiratory Ward. I think so when I see some mothers with their babies "out of the ward" right there, a few meters away from the doctors and parents who arrive with infants prone to have COVID-19.
I step to the right side of the room. I try to be positive about the condition of my son who tested positive for COVID-19. It rains under the bell. My little giggler doesn't show his smile. His eyes tell me of some discomfort. And that alone is enough to squeeze a mother's heart. There I hear all kinds of stories, but usually with one common denominator: "I still don't understand how the contagion happened". Don't even ask me.
Once there was room in the area, we went inside, what a relief! The sun streaming through the window panes was beginning to leave its mark on our faces. This is my first admission. How will I make the bed with the baby in the crib, how far is the bathroom, how will I manage to wash myself without taking a look at the baby, will I have left something important at home with the jogging?... So many questions were going through my head that, together with the fears of the situation, the brainstorming ended in a torrential one. Calm down, Yela, I said to myself. Ataraxia.
Fortunately, the nurse helped me to make the bed, luck that other mothers did not have; as it is well known, not all human beings are human. So we (the companions) did what we could.
Today, I am accumulating polychromic experiences of the five days of my son's admission (March 9-13). From the nurse who does not rest on duty, walks back and forth, looking at the babies to avoid accidents, especially when there are so many beds instead of cribs, to his colleagues to whom we have to repeat things more than once. From the doctor who "pays a visit", auscultates, asks questions, and observes, to the one who goes at full speed as if she had no time for questions and the diagnosis did not include a clinical part.
From the mother who coos, sings, and cuddles her infant, to the one who confuses discomfort with spoiling and fights her child, breastfeeds the baby at full speed in a balance (like a shaking bottle, we already know the possible consequences), and does not accept respectful advice; and even the one who hides to smoke in the bathroom, with the child nearby (inconceivable) or throws contaminated objects out of the window, apparently without caring about the spread of the virus.
From the cleaning assistant who pretends to clean, but leaves everything the same and, on the contrary, the "man who performs a favor" (his function in the center is different) and leaves the room sparkling. These seem like nuances, but nuances speak. If you are a physician, put yourself in our mother's shoes; if you are a patient, put yourself in the physician's shoes. May the harshness of these times not make us lose the tenderness of our hearts, as Che said.
Another matter; is not to criticize but to help. If the protocol to some extent has been adapted to the scarcity of resources and so on, other alternatives should be sought in line with the demand (beyond the Integrated Medical Emergency System (SIUM, by its acronym in Spanish), which does not give enough and the carriers that have supported some time). Now the patient is discharged (if there are no alarming symptoms in the pediatric patient) a few hours after or the next day after the second dose of interferon (depending on the age and characteristics of the child).
In my experience, I have seen that about five cases were discharged every day, and judging by the time of admission (usually, five days, if there are no complications), it is most likely that when they leave the hospital they are still positive (since the rapid strips or the PCR are not repeated before returning home due to the known material problems).
Assuming that there were always five (which is a relative figure), or 10, counting the mother or guardian (who, if she did not come with the test done somewhere here, will not be tested either because "there are not enough"), that means that 10 people are "released" every day, surely positive, who are transported in any vehicle to any municipality in the province, surrounded by any number of citizens.
That does not fit in my head. Besides, not everyone can rent a means of transportation. For me, for example, it cost me 200.00 CUP to get home by car, and that was in the morning. If not... wait for the SIUM, but you know that some live farther away from the city, and logically... Besides, the consequent risk for the drivers and coachmen.
Perhaps it would not be nonsense (besides the scarcity of resources, since this would save them), to have one or two buses (or a smaller car), bound for the northern and southern territories, to move the discharges daily.
COVID-19 is not fashionable; it is about human lives, about saving an "economic ecosystem with many endangered species" (so to speak). Tempering does not have to be accommodating. On this beautiful Island, there is enough talent and heart to generate ideas among all of us, those that will help us to better navigate the labyrinths of the pandemic.