“When you see your written text, it feels just as if you were relieved of a burden and then it isn’t that painful anymore”
- What did you think when you had your first contact with the RELATO-Hos project? How did you get to know it?
- C.A.- Carme Anguera: I saw an ad hanging on the wall of the entrance to the rooms. Usually, I don't pay much attention such things, because hanging around there is a lot of information I’m not really interested in. But since I went by that wall several times, the ad started to catch my attention and, finally, I thought, why not? Shall I try it? I asked for a pen (I didn't have one) and paper, and I got down to it. I never thought, that it would be published in a book, though.
- Were you sure from the beginning that you wanted to participate?
- C.A.- I wasn’t sure about my participation until I started writing and realised that I could do it. I didn't want to forget everything I had lived through when I had been in the ICU for five weeks and a good way of remembering was to write it down. By the time I wrote it, a year had passed, but everything was still very much in my mind. I didn't want write fiction. Instead, I wanted to share my own experience. I think it can help other patients as well as healthcare workers. Doctors and nurses don't know everything going on within a patient’s mind and what they are going through.
-- How did you feel when you saw your story in the book?
- C.A.- I thought that they would make a selection of stories and never imagined that mine would be among the chosen ones. It was such a great emotion. I remember that Sant Jordi's day, when they called us to the auditorium, said our names, gave us the books, congratulated us... and I also remember that they mentioned that some of the writers were no longer among us, which made me really sad. I thought about how lucky I was to be able to participate and I valued life, family, and friendships even more!
-- Do you think writing is a powerful therapeutic tool?
- C.A.- No doubt about it! Writing is an important therapeutic tool. It allows you to delve into your innermost thoughts and worries. When you see your written text, it feels just as if you were relieved of a burden and then it isn’t that painful anymore. It helps you to set your ideas in order and clarify your thoughts.
-- Do you remember how you came to write your story?
- C.A.- I wrote it in one go, not thinking too much. I didn't want to forget my experience and now I really like having it written down. From time to time, I reread it and, in addition, I share it with family, friends or acquaintances who are going through similar suffering situations. After I wrote it, I reread it, made a few formal changes and asked my daughter to read it. She liked it and the very same day I gave it to the nurses. At the beginning, they didn't know much what it was all about and didn't know what to do or who to give it to. We soon cleared it up and my story got into the hands of the promoters of this good idea.
-- Do you usually write?
- C.A.- I don't write regularly. Only when I need to clarify a situation or I have a problem, .... it seems to help you see it more clearly, because before you start to write you need to sit down and think about it. All my professional life I have taught writing and reading, since I am a teacher. I hope that some of my students have discovered that truth, that important self-help tool. I do a lot of reading. It is one of my hobbies. I can't go a day without reading a little bit.
- Finally, could you recommend us a book?
I will recommend two. The first one, I read it many years ago and from time to time, I reread it: Follow Your Heart, by Susana Tamaro. It is a very intimate work in which a grandmother writes a letter to her granddaughter. The second one is The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery. It is the story of a very cultured concierge who wants to hide her broad culture from her neighbours. I'm sure you'll like it!