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Find here the latest news reports from the peace process, straight from Havana, Cuba. Permanently updated. 
Wednesday, 21 March 2018 16:05

Timo’s positive and steady recovery

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I loved Timo’s laughter when I told him that I thought the little videos that he was posting on his twitter, in relation to his recovery, after the open heart surgery he underwent a few days ago at the Shaio clinic in Bogotá, seemed very successful.

In the first one, filmed the day after his operation, he was seen walking through the corridors of the clinic, and even climbing the steps of a small staircase, as if instead of a patient was a doctor who was about to examine someone in his room. He told me that the specialist who had operated on him had arrived at his room, disconnected all the devices and told him to go out, even to buy a tinto [coffee] in OMA and drink it relaxed.

He himself couldn’t believe what the surgeon was saying. However, he trusted him. There was no visitor to accompany him on his brief tour, but still, like Lazaro, he got up and started walking. He really intended to surprise visitors, when he suddenly appeared in the waiting area, and drank coffee like any countryman. It was a challenge for him. Unfortunately he was not lucky, because it was the hour of cleaning, the girls cleaned the floor and did not let anyone pass so as not to lose their job.

The other video was even more surprising. On March 12, that is, five days after his open-heart surgery. The previous day he had been discharged and transferred to a country house, in the vicinity of Bogotá, in a temperate climate, much more pleasant and convenient to his state. Some of his companions sent a kind of static bicycle to the house. And he gave it a go.

Once he proved that he could pedal normally, without exaggerating speed or rhythm, he had the idea of ​​calling his partner, Yudis, and asking her to take a shot in that situation. He post it in a tweet in which he referred to his progress in the recovery and to his satisfaction at the restart of the dialogues with the ELN in Quito. The thing caused surprise and disbelief in many.

That amused him greatly, especially when the specialist who treated him, let him know that he was receiving various taunts, accusing him and the clinic, of having lent himself to a farce with perhaps strange purposes. Timo laughed again when he told me, and I could not help but accompany him with a laugh. What country this one in which we had to live.

The truth, as the ladies say, is not to illuminate the saint so close because it burns, nor so far because it is not illuminated. Of course, Timo was affected by a serious heart problem, which fortunately did not manifest itself in an acute crisis. The doctors sensed it when they examined him in the San Rafael de Fusa hospital, and the specialists checked him when he underwent several tests at the Shaio clinic in Bogotá. Hence the need to practice delicate open heart surgery. That's no joke or story.

He told me when we communicated and he was hospitalized in Bogotá. The medical verdict had been clear, or he underwent surgery, or at any moment a fatal heart attack could have come. Under these conditions there was no doubt, one had to trust science. I remembered a phrase used by my father, and I told him, trusting in God and the Virgin, we will get ahead.

Now I was visiting him for the first time after his surgery and discharge. I introduced myself unexpectedly, identified myself as Gabriel Angel before the security guards and they slowly opened the door to me. As soon as I got out of the vehicle and walked towards the corridor of the house, I saw him walking in the company of one of his personal doctors. It was a very beautiful morning, to the point of reminding me that Timo complained about the cold that he felt in Bogotá. I was happy with the weather, it sure would do him well.

I did not want to interrupt his walk, in fact I thought I had arrived at an inopportune moment. His partner asked me why I had not warned of my visit. I told her that I had asked him on the web, and one of his closest companions, who served as a service officer in his former camps. None of them had answered me, so I had decided to go anyway.

She explained that he had restricted visits, that he could not talk much and that he wanted to be relaxed, oblivious to any concern. I replied laughing, that I really wanted to see him, give him a gentle pat on the shoulder and nothing else. With that I would be satisfied. Although I did not approach him, nor did I greet him from afar, I knew by a gesture of his head that he had seen me. I told myself that he would receive me.

So it was. A few minutes later, Yudis asked me to brush my hands with an antibacterial gel recommended by the doctors. Then I knew I was going to shake his hand. In fact, a while later I received his call. In the house where he is staying there is a corridor overlooking the pool, a place where you can breathe cool breeze and you can see the blue mountains in the distance.

There he was seated, in an armchair, next to which there was another one destined to his interlocutor. I do not like dramatisms, I also understand when there is a need to dismiss optimism, so I insisted on assuming the most positive attitude possible.

The old man was fine, with the same pallor that I observed him in the days following that stroke in Havana, but with a good appearance on his face. I imagine that with the days, as it happened in Cuba, it will recover its natural pigmentation.

I shook his hand and asked him how he felt. I heard from his lips the story of his suffering. Which occurred in two senses, physical and psychological. In the clinic they had explained to him very well the nature of the procedure to which he would be subjected, each one of the parts that were going to open, the cut of the artery that they needed to add in the most complicated place, the opening of the thorax, in short everything.

And they had asked him to sign the authorization. When they awoke, the pain in the chest were so terrible that if he had known it would be like this he would surely have refused to sign a paper.

An immense depression had also fallen on him. The doctor I spoke with before going to Timo, had told me that such a state was normal in those cases. Something that was disappearing little by little. That is why I was not alarmed by the story he told me of the ghosts that appeared to him during the first days, in the clinic, in a kind of febrile state, in the manner of horrendous nightmares.

A situation that fortunately was already behind, but that shuddered him just by remembering it. In compensation, the surgeon had congratulated him, for what others suffered in his condition, he had not had luckily suffered.

Some residues left in his lungs suddenly push to come out, and there is no other mechanism for that cough. But if cough occurs with force, it can break the points, so that coughing has to be calculated.

A special vest for this, which he squeezes tightly with his hands, prevents the wounds from opening while the patient makes enormous efforts to adjust the strength of his cough.

It scares a bit to look at it him that state. And this forces to take breaks in the conversation. I return to sit by his side a while later, in the simple room of the main corridor of the house.

A few bushes that grow on the wall, prevent the full view of the palms and meadows that are opposite. He knew he could not avoid giving some answers to his political questions.

I had been warned that I should not say a single word about work. But it is impossible. We commented on the elections and their results. He was serene. There will be time to decide the immediate task.

To say goodbye to him, I must go to his room. Before I cross his office, a large office, with a good library, where he likes to sit and read for good times.

Although he tells me that he feels better for now indeed it is his partner who reads aloud the texts that interest him. I leave him lying on his bed, with the tv remote in his hands and passing channels in search of a movie, documentary or news that pleases him.

I feel comforted when I leave there. The boys offer me yuccas and bananas to take home.

They brought them from Caño Indio, where they traveled to vote on March 11.

There they had their certificates registered before traveling here.

It's a shame that Timo has not been able to vote.

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