In November my baby was admitted with just over 20 days. Accompanying him I wrote this letter, which I was ashamed to deliver to the staff of the Hospital del Tajo. I hope that today it reaches the boy with the blood pressure monitor, the cleaner with the face of a governess, the pediatrician with dark circles and so many who, like them, take care of children and parents every day:

“I’ve been here six days and six nights and I still don’t know your names. I hope I say goodbye to you without knowing it, because that will mean we won’t be in this room long enough for me to start to feel ashamed not to ask your name.

Since the hours here are long and I refuse to pay to use the TV, I have counted the windows in the wing opposite several times and could accurately reproduce the cadence with which the liquid to which the oxygen that is supplied to you is connected drips. it reaches my baby through the ventilator. I have also begun to invent your lives. I do it based on silly details that remind me that you are something more than an institution, something more than a gown or a uniform.

In the mornings, the guy with the blood pressure monitor comes by, who must be finishing the race. The device is so small that it’s funny, it looks like a toy, and the boy takes my son’s arm and adjusts it carefully. He wears a bracelet that says Euskadi, so I imagine that he is from there and that he came to Madrid to study, that the city likes to regulate, neither too much nor too little, that he does the C3 every day with his helmets on . On the other wrist he has a tattoo, and it is with that hand that he caresses the baby’s fist to calm him down and I think that he will be a good father.

Then there is the woman who cleans, who has the face of ruling wherever she goes. Every morning, before passing the mop, she touches the child’s foot and tells me very convinced not to worry, that her daughter was also hospitalized with bronchiolitis and now she is as healthy as an oak tree. Also the nurse who helps me raise and lower the metal bars of the crib, who is the most patient man in the world and surely also the favorite uncle of his nephews.

He always comes with a young girl, the one in charge of bringing me food. When she comes back and I’ve barely opened the tray, she tells me very sweetly that she’ll be gone in a while, and I think of her as practical and as the author of the notes that her entire class wants to have, those that are written in round letters and colorful epigraphs. .

From the long-haired pediatrician I notice the dark circles. I want to think that they are not because of the eternal guards, or not only. I imagine that she has a girl and that’s where her empathy comes from, where she’s knack for reassuring me the day she told me, in the ER, that we were staying in the hospital. When tears came to my eyes I thought of how many fathers, how many mothers I would have to comfort each day.

Every night I am surprised because one more day has already passed in here and every night I think that tomorrow I have to thank you for everything you are doing for us, but I never do it because I am ashamed, look at what nonsense, ashamed of what. What I do do is pray, for my baby and for you. Because cleaning our room and taking the child’s temperature, bringing us food and teaching me how to put on the respirator is part of your salary. But the affection with which you look at us, no”.

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By Nail

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