The Hospital: Day Nineteen

Friday, July 16

The question I have this morning is whether I will be released before the end of the day. I know I must maintain total calm, so I focus my full attention on my soap bar. I say muchas gracias to everyone who interacts with me. I ignore the chatter, and I do not respond to hostile gestures.

It is apparent during the monitor chiming that this will be a day about my release. It becomes clear later in the day that the men now have another plan and are working with the hospital staff.

Their plan involves cameras and pornography.

During the morning rounds, the head doctor explains the program to the men. He says that the Florodon increases oxygen intake so that during sex, the COVID-19 virus is eradicated from the body.

The nurses are nervous because they try to be sneaky about putting in the cameras. I am sitting in bed with my soap, awake, and they cannot do it.

In the afternoon, an attendant takes me to radiology for another chest x-ray. He is one of two transport attendants who wear white shirts and beige pants. This one acts like he is on a hair-trigger. I witnessed him act cruelly to an older woman placed in Salon A before I was moved back to Salon Bolio. Before that, I saw him act cruelly toward the intubated Chinese man. He jerked my wheelchair around like he was trying to tip me over. He only did it when no one was looking. He parked me in front of the door to radiology and then walked far down the hall to sit down. All his actions were to intimidate me and make me fearful. It did not work.

As we waited for the elevator, I saw a couple with eye patches over their right eyes.

When we got back to Salon Bolio, I saw immediately that the nurses used the time to change my bed again. Now it had two camera pole mounts, one screwed in at the left top of the bed and one screwed into the bottom right. Later I try to unscrew the poles, but they are too tight. So, they must still be planning to film something.

The doctor arrives with a nurse and takes an arterial blood sample from the Argentinian. He does not know what it is and asks about it. What? I recognize this as the next thing to use on me; the arterial blood draw is considered one of the most painful medical procedures. The Argentinian should have already had this procedure; otherwise, how could they determine his blood oxygen levels?

The nurses in the reception area talk about how Daniel sings well. Torino says Daniel’s choice of music is excellent. Then there is a discussion among the men, led by Torino, about how I am not a bad person after an examination. I have helped people around me. I unselfishly helped Ariana in Salon Tara. But I have written against masks, and I support Trump…not!. I remind myself how everything is a lie. Torino gets all of his information about me from internet searches, and he must be able to hack into WhatsApp.

After lunch, I could not see anything because of the metal partition; the men had their beds pushed more into the center of the room. The nurses wheel in a cart and discuss how they must be careful with the baby. They are about to have virtual sex with a baby. Domingo says he can’t; the nurse says there is also a chicken. The Argentinian has no problem with doing it to a baby. Torino says he will have sex with the Samoan and Kimberly in Salon A.

I focus all my attention on the bar code on my soap bar. This program is going from bad to worse, and I need to stay calm to be released.

In the early evening, one of the nurses comes to my bed and gives me a copy of a story called Mariposa Blanca. I ask her what it is. She said she wanted to give me something to read since I had nothing to do all day. I flipped through it and saw how my name and the Argentinians had been copied and pasted into several sentences in the story. I waited, and when no one was looking, I pretended to get a cup of water and throw a paper towel away as I tore up and threw away the story. I recognized this as another trap.

The Lost Property section of Rosas & Co. department store becomes the setting for a story of salvation, with an unexpected saviour.  The manager is Mr Smith, a man who prides himself on his methodical efficiency, impressing upon his wistful secretary, Luisa, the importance of keeping her mind on the job.  When she brings flowers to the office, a tentative gesture towards something livelier than the humdrum of lost umbrellas, handkerchiefs and gloves, Mr Smith calls them a useless distraction in a place of work and demands that they be thrown in the bin.

A colourful host of characters pass through the office, among them the inconsolable widow, Amanda; the teacher who loses books on purpose so as to have an excuse to visit Luisa; and the neurotic Mr Hurried who speaks as if he is delivering a telegram.  Then there is a customer they have not encountered before: an elderly lady in search of something she has lost. Luisa is happy and willing to lend her assistance, but when she tries to ascertain what kind of object it is, and where she thinks she lost it, it becomes clear that what the old lady is missing will not be easy to find: she’s looking for a memory.

At first Luisa and Mr Smith believe they are dealing with a confused old lady who’s wits and doesn’t understand that a memory is not something you can find like a piece of lost property.  But the old lady’s persistence – and her conviction that they will be able to recover it for her – begin to become convincing.  What’s more, she begins to perceive things about them which are difficult to ignore.  She sees their loneliness ‘crying in the corners, blowing across them like a gust of frozen air’.  She warns them against a half-lived life, a life which could come to an end with nothing more than a room full of other people’s possessions and no real memories of their own.  She ignites the possibility of a latent affection between Mr Smith and Luisa, planting the seed in each mind that they are loved by the other and that they too love.  We hear the undermining voice of Luisa’s mother who tells her love isn’t important, what matters is that Luisa marries a wealthy man.  In an act of defiance against her mother and Mr Smith’s joyless work ethic, Luisa restores the flowers to the table from the bin.

Once  Luisa has been convinced by the value of things beyond the physical, material world, she and the old lady must persuade Mr Smith to accept what they both now see.  Bound by his deeply ingrained external markers of success and satisfaction, Mr Smith resists their perceptions.  The old lady asks him to find the memory she is looking for, and, at first, all he can offer are memories of himself through other people’s eyes.  But this won’t do.  It’s when he recalls saving a white butterfly that the old lady is satisfied.  This was the memory she was looking for.

Roepke’s play is brought to life by a sense of the ridiculous, a tender humour and a version of absurd theatre which is gentle, poignant and profoundly poetic.  We are left at the end of the play with a suggestion of a union between Mr Smith and Luisa, and a song of praise to the ability of humans to transcend the mundane by valuing what is meaningful to us, but not always visible to the outside world.

9:00 pm: I take my medications and lie down to sleep. I want to ¨glitch out,¨ but wake up to avoid the last scenario. By 9:30, I see the Argentinian and Torino; all are asleep early. I think they must have had a busy day. The monitor above the Argentinian begins to beep four distinct beeps, followed by four vibrations under me in my mattress! This repeated several times. What the hell! The camera mounts were not the only things that were added to my bed. Were the programmers trying to link directly to me since nothing else worked before? I should not have, but I lost it. I began taking my bed apart to find what they had put inside the mattress. I could not get to whatever it was; it was far down near the middle of the foam padding. I went to the sliding door and asked for a nurse to come.

I pointed out the monitor and how the light was flashing and the beeping sounded four times; then, I asked her to feel my mattress and how it repeated the same. Not only did she refuse to come over anywhere near my bed, but she woke up the Argentinian and said I was accusing him of something. Here I had the evidence, but she was not going to check it out. Two other nurses came in, fixed my mattress, and told me to calm down and sleep. I recognized one of the nurses; it was Bela from Salon Tara. She takes me into the shower area and tells me I must be calm and not look too deeply into things. She stated that she had been hospitalized and knew what I was going through. Bela says that for me to leave the correct way, I must be calm and not cause any trouble. I now sleep facing the opposite end of the bed to avoid whatever they had placed in the mattress.

I overhear the nurses talking in the hallway about how the Argentinian can now sue me for more money for a false accusation.

I manage to avoid The Eye scenario, but I awake to noises in the hallway, and I think I hear Daniel calling for me. I rush out of bed and yell out his name! Several nurses run out from the back office, wondering what I am doing; Daniel is not here to rescue me. They laugh, but one looks worried; she says something about the other night with the parents, first that and now this.

Messages and calls are end-to-end encrypted. No one outside of this chat, not even WhatsApp, can read or listen to them. Tap to learn more.

7/16/21, 1:47 PM – D: Good afternoon Maria, how are you? I hope you and your family are doing well. Sorry to bother you, but I have some technical questions that I think you or Mr. Carlos can help me answer. The questions are for my mother when I get home. Is there a good time to speak in person today?

7/16/21, 2:09 PM – Maria: Yes, of course at 5:00 pm in our house.

7/16/21, 2:12 PM – D: Ok, thank you very much.

7/16/21, 4:58 PM – Maria: Hi Daniel. We are here at my house waiting for you.

7/16/21, 5:00 PM – D: here I come

7/16/21, 5:51 PM – Maria: Montes De Oca Insumos.vcf (file attached)

7/16/21, 5:51 PM – Maria: Ivannia Barrantes.vcf (file attached)

7/16/21, 6:02 PM – D: Thank you very much Maria

Daniel´s notes:Lawyer SB:

7/16/21, 1:29 PM – D: <Media omitted>

7/16/21, 2:28 PM – LawyerSB: <Media omitted>

7/16/21, 2:58 PM – D: <Media omitted>

7/16/21, 3:14 PM – LawyerSB: Sounds goods, talk to you tomorrow!

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