"I was very excited to see my story published and it helped me to understand the whole project a little better".
- What did you think when you had your first contact with the RELATO-Hos project? How did you get to know it?
Sergi Ferri.- My first contact with the RELAT-Hos project was when I was surprised by a poster of it. I thought “What an initiative!” However, I had no intention of participating back then. While I was in hospital, a friend from Valencia was here with me, and she was the one who insisted that I should take part in the project. "You're in hospital and you're not doing anything. Why don't you write, so you can make the most of your stay and have a better time?" The truth is that the possibility of writing had never crossed my mind, but my friend encouraged me a bit and in a couple of nights, I had the story written.
- So, at first you were not sure at all to participate, were you?
-Not at first, but when I started.... It was only allowed to be a two-handwritten-page long story, but probably I would have gone on longer... You could say that I am a regular customer of this house, because I have had several pancreatic pathologies and a lung disease that caused me a couple of admissions. I have been admitted several times here, at the Bellvitge Hospital, perhaps since 2008. In 2018, I still had some days to go because of a lung problem that even made me think that life could end at any moment and that this could be my moment. On that occasion, when I started to write, my aim was to express my gratitude, even if it doesn't look like that (as the main doctor dies twice in a couple of pages!). That doctor symbolised for me all the staff, all the human tide that you find in here and the type of work they have chosen. For me, such a work is unthinkable, since it entails working with people who give it their all with absolute availability. It was a way of symbolising it with this character who forgets about himself to devote to others. In fact, it is dedicated to all pneumologists, clinical assistants, nurses... At first, I thought I had little to say, as I was not a professional writer, but later I thought about the project as a whole and I said to myself, “Wow! The sole fact that in such a well-equipped hospital there are also people concerned about including this human touch in medical treatment is extremely important. The human aspect is so important in the healthcare professional-patient relationship! And this project captures all this so well”. When I picked up the pen to start writing, a very good friend - a work colleague and yet a friend - came to my mind. His main dedication is painting and sculpture – he is a compulsive creator. He wrote a novel and self-published it, in which there was a catastrophe similar to the one in my story. I found it groundbreaking and I used it, of course mentioning where it had come from. In his story, the floor of a dance room sinks. I adapted it to the canopy at the entrance to the hospital. I wanted to include the hospital in my story, as it has been like a second home for me. In fact, I remember that in one of the admissions I asked a nurse 'Listen, couldn't I register here? - How did you feel when you saw your story in the book? - S.F.- I was thrilled to see the story published, because I know how much effort it takes for people who dedicate time, who have creative capacity… to get something published is very difficult. It is very difficult to get something published! I was very excited and it helped me understand the whole project a little better.
- Do you think writing is an important therapeutic tool?
- In the same way that through music you release and express many feelings, I am convinced that the same thing happens with writing. To prove this right, you only have to pick up any of the three volumes of RELAT-Hos. In a hospital you can find yourself in a critical situation, sometimes your life is at stake, sometimes not, but many things are at stake. In those moments, many emotions are stirred up, and writing is a way of channelling all that, it's a kind of psychotherapy. In fact, I've always had a little group of friends who get together from time to time to make some music, bossa nova. I play the guitar and sing a bit. We have a good time... when we see each other.
- Do you write regularly?
-The truth is that I don't. When I was young, I used to read. My father was a great reader, and you do what you see your father do.... So, in my early youth I did read a lot, but since 2005 without glasses it was completely impossible for me and I couldn't get used to them, so I stopped reading. Once I started to write a story, but I interrupted it and never again, because it neither is my thing, nor I believe it.
Finally, can you recommend a book?
S.F.- A book I read during my military service comes to mind, The Plague, by Albert Camus, which also features a doctor.