False negative…

17 April, 2020

Spain, Friday 17 April 2020

You don’t think it’s possible. Early this week the results came in from the corona tests at mom’s residential care center. Mom tested negative. Good news you’d think, but nothing could be further from the truth. Not in Belgium, not in the fucking country that makes one mistake after another in this whole corona-debacle. After weeks of pushing and begging for tests from all over the nursing sector, the overarching healthcare network ‘vzw Curando’ finally got test materials. But Belgium wouldn’t be Belgium if it weren’t for a disgusting joke. When they had taken all the tests at Mum’s nursing home, they were informed that incorrect instructions for use had been added to the tests. Consequence : only in case of a positive test is there a definite answer. A negative test means nothing. It can be either positive or negative. So how can you properly structure an organisation like this in terms of dealing with the epidemic? Two thirds of the residents did test positive, as well as a lot of the staff. But what about the people who test negative and still don’t know if they are infected or not? They are victims of the government’s mismanagement. This is about extremely important health care. Isn’t there anyone who checks whether the material supplied is good? Does it come from China, where everything is pure junk? If it’s a silly dog toy, a CE mark must be put on it. Wasn’t this necessary in this case, because it wasn’t important enough? And worst of all, the WZC now has to start begging and applying to Public Health to be allowed to test negative tested people again in order to at least be able to exclude covid, so that they can adjust their policy accordingly. An extremely difficult exercise by the way.

  Photo :

I’m mad about this situation where my mommy gets pushed. Because of the possible ‘false negative’ result, the care centre has to keep her, and all other negative tests, in seclusion. For mom, this means that she cannot see her BFF (best friend forever) at the WZC anymore, that she has to eat alone at a table. Eating alone does not make you eat. For many elderly people sufficient food is a problem, because aging also reduces the sense of taste. The only thing that is still a bit stimulating, is eating together with others. And just that is now disappearing. Everything falls away. Not seeing anyone anymore, no longer be allowed to see anyone, to feel abandoned. And most of all, because you don’t understand. Suddenly it’s a strange world, you’re ‘punished’ and locked up, and you don’t know why. Suddenly your husband doesn’t come anymore, your children, and you can’t understand why. You were used to walking around in the hallway, visiting your friends in the living room, chatting and just watching TV together. But this is taken away from her. And this wouldn’t have been necessary if the tests had been okay.

  Photo : Alwareness

The people who did test positive are brought back together again, and can more or less continue their lives from before. Eating together, doing things together, playing cards, whatever. If one was sure that negative really means negative, that group of people could sit together as well. Experiencing a bit of homeliness again. Then they could get away from that suffocating cocoon. Some residents already said: “Leave the door open, I’d rather dy of corona than of loneliness…” This says it all…


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I was able to call video with Mom yesterday. It was a tough ordeal. Both for her and for me. She’s been staying there for about a year and a half, it could be two years. But she never explicitly asked to go back home. Now she said several times that she hoped that she could go home soon, to her husband, or at least to me, her only daughter. Constantly she wiped her tears, and then looked at me in tears. She wondered why no one came. It’s hard for her to understand that people are not allowed to visit. Because she doesn’t feel sick anyway… Because this conversation was too painful for me, I ended earlier than I really wanted. I couldn’t stand it anymore, her sadness, her loneliness, her longing for a hug. I wanted so badly to give her that hug and promise that everything will be okay, but I can’t. I feel more powerless than ever. Nobody deserves this. This virus is unusually harsh, ruthless. And even then, there are selfish people who think it’s necessary to ignore all the rules and throw Easter parties or barbecues. They all make sure that my mother and all the other vulnerable people in Belgium have to wear this for even longer. You Belgians don’t realize what hard measures are. We, here in Spain, can’t even go out for a simple walk or a bike ride. We are even forbidden to go for a walk in the mountains – a nature reserve of 500,000 km² where no one ever comes. Helicopters fly over to carry out checks. Who can I infect here? But rules are rules, and we stick to them. I almost feel guilty when I go on the streets to do necessary shopping. People keep the rules here, as far as we can tell.

  nature reserve behind our property

And that’s paying off. Spain is in clear recovery. But oh woe, all over Europe Spain is portrayed as a breeding ground for corona. But in reality it is mainly concentrated around Madrid and Barcelona. And in Belgium, which discourages anyone from travelling to Spain this summer, relatively speaking, there are almost as many deaths as here. In Spain this is currently 1 per 41.311 inhabitants, in Belgium 1 per 41.908. And this while Belgium is not yet past its peak… So please, use your common sense.

I don’t like Trump, not at all, but in this case, I want to take his quote. The news you’re getting about Spain is ‘fake news’. It’s no worse than anywhere else. Feel free to include the figures (*), but don’t forget to put everything in proportion to the total number of inhabitants… I note that Belgium and the Netherlands are mentioned in the curve below where the 10 most affected countries are mentioned… Something to think about.

graphic of 17/04/2020, Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center

Media brings what it wants to bring, and especially what ‘brings in’. Do you really think that, if everyone stays in Belgium or the Netherlands, packed like sardines in a view on the beach, you are better off than here in Spain, where you have much more space? I suspect that people want to give a ‘push’ to the economy by promoting their own country. And that’s good, of course, because everyone who has a business is having a hard time, and should have every chance to flounder back above water. But that is also true for us, for Spain, for every country. So it is outrageous to do this at the expense of others, who are struggling at least as hard. And then wanting to give a wet kicker by protesting that countries like Spain and Italy, who live on tourism, and are in a much more economically precarious situation, would get more European support…

  Photo : Zo zit dat

Luckily we notice the last few days that interest is starting to pick up again on our website. There are also more specific questions about our resort, after a month of complete silence. We get the impression that people are starving for holidays, away from isolation. That they dare to dream again. And believe me, so do we.

  Photo : Forbes France

We quietly hope that we can open the doors again on June 1st. We need this, both emotionally and financially. Because it’s still a serious drain, we can’t ignore that. But if we make it to June, we might be able to straighten it out… At least if those angry tongues don’t kill us by pulling the wool over people’s eyes. On top of that, here in Lavinia you can sit perfectly isolated in your villa – if you like – far away from all the dirty viruses, in the sun, in the warmth, in nature, and the peace and quiet… If you can’t do it by plane, take the car, break out of yourself, break out of the yoke of corona, as soon as it’s safe and it’s possible and allowed. And pamper yourself, take time for yourself and your family, without fear. Take time to enjoy, to shake off all the stress of the corona age. In any case, we welcome you with open arms!

Hasta luego !

Annemie or Ana




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