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‘Welcome, number nine’, a book that collects the experience of a survivor of COVID-19

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Juan Cabezas, author of the book, needed to write to tell about his experience because when he left the hospital he fell into depression.

Welcome number nine is a hymn to life in the midst of thousands of battles lost due to COVID-19, a text in which the Ecuadorian Juan Cabezas recounts the eleven days that he was admitted to a hospital facing a virus, which turned him into an exhausted survivor, which reorganized his priorities and taught him to value the simple in the midst of complexity.

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In this blog, for and against his own life, Cabezas (1971) uncovers his fears, recounts when his body declared in rebellion, and his stay in bed 9 of the gynecology ward of a public hospital that, in Measured by the unleashed health crisis, he cared for COVID patients, who did not stop arriving.

A “terrible monster”

Author and character of the 58-page book, Cabezas assured this Saturday, December 25, Efe that He needed to write the text because when he left the hospital he fell into depression: “Perhaps because of the medication, I felt crushed by life, I was weakened and yet the demands of life came back to me with more force.”

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“I was very scared, wanting not to go out, to do nothing” and writing was “a way of escaping from a strange feeling that I had inside, from depression, which has been a terrible monster.”

Sheltered behind the book, with the family as an anchor to the ground and sports as a life option, Cabezas began to raise his head, but “I don’t know if one comes out of such a situation completely.”

“I feel like an exhausted survivor. The long COVID has its effects and I am discovering that every day. The body changes, it’s like a kind of reconfiguration of your metabolism. My body ignores me; Sometimes parts that I didn’t know I had hurt me, ”he explained.

After the contagion, Cabezas was left with memory problems and suffers from pulmonary embolism: “Not only to have survived is the task but to stay as a survivor.”

“With difficulties, with debts, with everything, I feel like a survivor a little crushed, but despite that I found a channel of life, which is not to fight against death, because it will come to us, but to stand on the side of the facts of life, of simple joys, of the continuous pleasure of feeling loved, of to love”.

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After overcoming COVID, this journalist, author of several anthologies and the short story Ways to set the day on fire, speaks of a “song to life”, of “a very strong encounter with oneself”.

The virus is “a teacher, a companion, something that has transformed the way of understanding life,” says someone who is very afraid of being infected again.

However, he believes that society must continue with its life “without panic, but with great care” because COVID “surrounds us and forces us to be at the center of our life. Define our limits ”.

For this reason, when recounting his experience in the first person – without drama or victimism beyond reality – he seeks to contribute to a reflection that “allows us to be better people”.

A bamboo grows in his chest

Cabezas had 66% of their lungs covered by the virus and, precisely, an illustration of purple lungs with green and red branches from which leaves and flowers grow, is the cover of the text drawn by Camila Calderón.

“That flowery lung, like a bamboo block, is dreamy, heavenly, dreamlike, which reminds me of the ambivalence of death-life, death-creativity, death-illusion,” said who metaphorically maintains that “a bamboo grew in his chest ”.

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This, he explained, because “at first it blocked my breath, it was a trunk that would not let me breathe, and with the days flowers began to sprout from that bamboo, they began to pollinate my soul, and from there I find a channel to live with this bamboo, which sometimes again obstructs me, but which I know gives flowers ”.

One of those “flowers” is Welcome number nine: “A cry to live longer and better despite fear, loss and vulnerability of the organism that we are and that contains us”, as Marcela Ribadeneira pointed out in the book’s epilogue.

It is a captivating text of “resistance and conciliation” that invites us to appreciate the simplicity of life in the midst of its complexity: “I had the best Christmas of my life. We did nothing, we watched Italian movies from the 1950s with my wife, we ate sushi, we slept at eleven o’clock, we hugged in bed and that’s it, “said Cabezas, a” guy who is finally appreciating things that are worthwhile and that he is consuming them slowly even though time passes quickly ”. (I)

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