It's been nearly a year now since I started this posting. It was so difficult at the time. And then time moved past and this draft became tucked in the back of many posts following it. I discovered it today and thought I could give it a go again. And it's much easier now that I know it ends happily...this time.
The tale is about Alain, a friend of Andy's. Alain is a participant of Fundación Crescendo a group home and workshop center in Nuñoa, Santiago, Chile. Alain is a bit older than Andy but that hasn't stopped them from find great friendship and commonality. When together they are are as much fun as two crazy pigs!
Unfortunately, on September 25 2010, the two of them were separated when Alain became painfully ill and needed to be rushed to the hospital. Given he is a man with an intellectual disability without family or any insurance the only hospital he could go to was Santiago's El Salvador Hospital (Hospital del Salvador)
A visit to their website http://www.hsalvador.cl/ belies the reality of his horror filled weeks. During that time Alain was lost among the poor of Chile in this institution built in 1872 where a diagnosis was too long in coming, a bath would be had only if you remembered to bring your own towel, water was available if you had a cup from home, TV was available if the rabbit ears of your portable black and white captured the local station and the groans of the other nine men in the same room were muffled in their rumpled bedsheets. Thankfully the spring weather was warm enough that the drafts flowing through the holes in the doors and walls would not cause as a great a draft.
This is the hospital that Alain stayed at-and though this news piece was made a year earlier, it could have been that very day when Andy and I visited him:
It was the same time that I was also hospitalized. However, my hospital experience greatly differed from Alain's. As an expat, with private global insurance I certainly did NOT go to El Salvador Hospital. Rather I was at Clinica Alemana, a private hospital; the same hospital where I sat across from then President Michelle Bachelett as she was getting her lab tests completed. The dichotomy of heath care and hospital services for those of us with insurance and wealth and those, such as Alain, who are poor, without insurance is extreme.
When I could finally take Andy in to visit his friend, one of the first things he brought was of course his favorite copy of Two Crazy Pigs.
To read a very moving account of Alain's time in the hospital I invite you to visit Roberta Bower's blog accounting: