Cured of H1N1

Image: The Garden, by Joan MIró

It is undeniable that human beings are unpredictable; we adapt to the environment in which we live, and despite the difficult conditions of prison, I desperately missed the 43rd barracks. For five days I was recovering from the H1N1 pandemic (which plagues countries and mainly overpopulated places like prisons) in the Provincial Antonio Luaces Iraola Hospital in the capital of Ávila.

The case is that my happiness multiplied when my doctor, Arias, approved my release from the hospital. I imagined myself with my companions in misfortune telling stories of such things, along with offering friendly advice to any of these men eager to understand.

I was waiting since ten in the morning for the lock-up car that would take me back to the prison. The functionary of the prisoner ward made numerous telephone calls to the Canaleta prison explaining to the military guards that because I was being released from the hospital, they would not give me medication or food; they promised to come pick me up as soon as possible.

To describe my desperation about the delay is impossible. It wasn’t until five in the afternoon that the head driver arrived. He was a soldier, and as a product of my despair, I did not notice his rank. I know that his last name was Tejeda. What is interesting is that he came in a hurry, but I was already cured of fear, and I did not pay much attention to him.

To top it off, six people got into the hospital elevator, which is about three meters in length by one and a half in width, along with my belongings and a hospital bed containing a deceased person. I felt sorry for the lady that mourned the loss of her loved one and I still don’t understand the lack of tact on the part of Tejeda to not wait a couple of minutes for another elevator, where we would be more comfortable and without any dead body. Also, we would have avoided the reproaches made by the suffering woman.

On the way back to the prison, the driver, whom they call Machete, drove into every pothole that existed on the road, as if the wagon were a magnet for them.

Upon entering the prison I could feel the affection that many prisoners have for me, especially for being a political prisoner of conscience. I was also delighted with a sincere hug from my companion in cause, Pedro Arguelles Morán, who was overjoyed to see me recuperated. Furthermore, thanks to my daring, I was able to greet the political prisoner of conscience (also from the group of the 75), Adolfo Fernández Sainz. Upon entering the barracks, everyone hugged me, full of euphoria, and I felt like the happiest man on earth: I felt loved.

I cannot finish without saying that some irresponsible person did not cook my necessary diet and I had to make do with an omelet sandwich that one of the cooks made for me, and a drink that I prepared myself. Now, once more in the 43rd barracks, I can do what I most enjoy: write what I feel and what I can. H1N1 is history for me.

Pablo Pacheco, Canaleta Prison, Ciego de Ávila


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