Catania is the name given to an exquisite and original sweet from Penedés, a region of Barcelona which is famous for its wines than by their pastries. It is an almond covered with a thin layer of caramel, another white chocolate, another dark chocolate and finally varnishing with chocolate powder. As a delicatessen that is, hardly are served in boxes of 25 units.
It was Saturday when I went to the ICU and saw the staff emergency in box 3. And elevation of ST segment on the monitor suggested myocardial infarction. All heralded a time-consuming afternoon.
My mate informed me clearly: “She has suffered a heart attack less than an hour ago, on the highway, inside her car, right in front of the exit announcing the Hospital de Terrassa. She was driving with her husband road to Manresa. We can´t give her fibrinolytics. She needs a coronary angiography and then refer to the Clinic of Barcelona, but emergency medical service is collapsed and we do not know when they will come for the transport.”
The situation was difficult and somewhat dramatic, two people about 70 years with a severe emergency more than 70 km from their house, alone.
Roser was pale, sweaty, and the pajamas aging her. When everyone left I asked her how she felt. She said: ‘ I am scared. I feel the death fence and my husband so far away…Do know that you are the only one who has asked me about my feelings? She said after a while. I liked her compliment, and help to create a special chemistry between us.
I went to look to Josep, who was in the waiting room. He was shaking, very nervous. My companions reproached me again, but for me it was common to break the rules: “You shouldn´t bring her husband. It is not a time to visit. He will bother. He could see how we work. We couldn´t smoke in peace”.
I stayed with them at the box a good part of the evening. Nitroglycerin, morphine, some electro, many ups and downs in the ST, any tachyarrhythmia… But also we were talking, while reducing their anxiety and stress. Finally the emergency service came for the transfer.
I remember my farewell, under that noisy oxygen mask. Her face covered with sweat, her old eyes staring at me. Roser heard my last indication: “Don’t be afraid, you should rely on professionals serving you. They will do their best for you.
Three months later a smart woman, distinguished, upper-middle class porte arose in the ICU asking for me. I did not even recognize her.
“I am Roser from Vilafranca, You looked after my by a heart attack. I have come to say thank you. Your words and the serenity helped me at that difficult time.
I followed your advice. I trusted in all the professionals that attended me. Surely that kept me alive. Thank you.”
10 minutes of conversation and she left leaving a vivid memory that still exists. And a box of Catanias with 200 units, a real luxury.
Story based on real events.