Interview with Francesc Brach i Milà, relathor of A les nou de la nit del dia deu de gener (Desde mi habitación Vol. 1, page 113)

Francesc Brach - Relat-HOS
El perfume - Relat-HOS
La plaça del diamant - Relat-HOS

“I wanted to express what a bad time I was having due to the illness, but how well I was cared for in the hospital”

- What was your first contact with the RELAT-HOS project like?

It was back in 2018. I had been on the ward for two or three days when a nurse came to my room to tell me about the project. I agreed to take part in it straight away. They brought me some paper and an envelope. I can’t say why, but I had the feeling that I was one of the first people to participate.

- Were you sure from the beginning that you wanted to take part in it?

I had never written anything before, only the letters I used to send to my girlfriend during my military service time. However, I thought it couldn’t be that difficult to put down on paper the ideas that come into your head. I came up with four sheets of paper, but I think that in the end I only put two in the envelope. I'm pretty sure that the original text was longer, but I have never been able to find these two other sheets... I wanted to express what a bad time I was having due to the illness, but how well I was cared for in the hospital. My story was my direct thanks to the hospital and all the health professionals who looked after me. I went in on a stretcher, signing the consent that someone was holding for me, because things seemed to be coming to an end by the minute. I had been driven from Sant Boi and here I was lucky enough to have a great medical team waiting for me. They removed my spleen, which had been destroyed due to a fall. I got here with no drop of blood. My wife was told that I had arrived very seriously injured. In fact, in the ambulance that brought me here, they couldn't find my blood pressure. They had torn all my clothes off to treat me and I remember nothing else until I got here, to Bellvitge Accident and Emergency department. Later, the doctors and nurses were amazed at how quickly I recovered. I did well, and after 6 days in the ICU, I went up to my room and everything went smoothly. Fortunately, almost three years later I'm doing very well, regardless of other things that have happened after that... now it just matters that things are working.

- Do you usually write?

I had never written before. I used to draw at work, though. Industrial drawing, where I designed matrixes. I'm not much of a writer. However, I didn't find it particularly difficult. One just needs to link the ideas in their head with what they put on the paper. The thing is that it should be done in the best possible way, and honestly, it wasn't too difficult to me. I think it's a bit like someone who wants to paint but doesn’t feel confident about it until they start. I started here back then, but I haven't kept on writing. If I had to do it again now, maybe I would do it in a different way… I felt I could explain what had happened to me, in my own words, in a manner that everyone could understand. My daughter, on the other hand, she writes everything down! Should you go to her place, you would find papers written in every corner, but that's not my case...

- How did you feel when you saw your story in the book?

I felt good writing it, although I'm a pretty cold person. I try to keep a low profile. Now, I look at the book and I think of that phrase stating one should have a child, write a book and take a trip in a hot-air balloon. The latter is what I haven’t done yet. I haven't written a whole book, just a part of it, but I did feel quite good. It doesn't seem like it, but seeing my name written there, Francesc Brach... it's silly, but it felt good.

- Do you think writing is an important therapeutic tool?

Yes, I consider writing to be a very important therapeutic tool, which makes you open your mind and see things in a different way. However, I have a different disposition; I worry a lot about my work. I have sometimes thought that with everything that has happened to me I have enough material to write a book, and probably more than one. I'm 74 now, I retired when I was 65. We had hardly ever taken holidays, nor had I ever been ill. In fact, the only time I was ill at home, it was because a door fell on my foot. Four days later, a car would daily pick me up and drive me to work. I have worked a lot and written very little, but the thoughts are there. I wanted to retire at 65 so I could do many things I had planned and I'm happy because I still feel vital. If it hadn't been for the accident I would probably have become a volunteer for a good cause.

- Finally, can you recommend a book?

I'm currently reading a book for children, the stories Oriol Junqueras wrote for his children. Besides that, I have read Perfume and In Diamond Square several times. I have a lot of books awaiting me! We also have an old family library, with books dating back more than a century, many of which I've also read.