Last Tuesday night, I took in a program of films at Caíxa Forum by the Montjuïc park "Documento y Ciudad," curated and presented by David Reznak. All in all a good selection of experimental documentary that anchored itself in images of "the city." For me, each piece presented a different vantage point from which to focus and process the visual information absorbed in various urban environments. For example, "Sea Change" by Joe King and Rosie Pedlow (2004) interwove various times of day into a very long tracking shot of a manicured trailer-home neighborhood. "Din 16538/39 (Paris)" by Augustin Gimel (1999) based the organization of its documents on color, beginning in reds, moving into oranges, and making its way through the rest of the rainbow. And "Blight" by John Smith (1994-6) hung itself on a structure of fragmented storis and rememberances relating to the destruction of homes in a particular neigborhood in East London.
Woke up the next morning feverish with a sore throat and spent the next 3 days in bed, riding the dreamstate to regions father and farther from consciousness. Around the time my system should have been kicking the virus, I had a night of fitful sleep complicated by breathing difficulties. I thought: tomorrow is the day to go to the clinic, and while waiting for Dr. Sobre to rise on Saturday morning, decided to look up my symptoms on the internet-- the worst possible place to go for any kind of medical consultation. Googling "flu-like symptoms, difficulty breathing" brought up SARS!
Well, Dr. Sobre, fluent in both Catalan and Castillian, looked over the listing of Barcelona hospitals and clinics from the American Consulate webpage. Leave it to her to pick out the great Modernista Hospital de Sant Pau, designed by Domènech i Montaner! We hopped a cab by the bus station & were off.
Still fairly hazy from the illness, but not too out-of-it to notice the fantastic structures and tilework, we jumped out at the emergency entrance. Shortly after signing in we were led to a small office where a young and very kind doctor asked a few questions, then sent us up the block to the emergency room that handled lesser-emergencies, where I could be attended to rather quickly. He was practically beaming as he lead us to the street, pointing the way with directions in Catalan.
I recommend travelers' health insurance for anyone taking a trip out of the county-- I didn't get it, but since this incident have learned that is it really cheap-- like $30. Thinking that I'm still young and invincible along with a strong disdain for the traditional US health system factored into my "overlooking" this detail. All things considered, though, I fared well. The emergency room consultation, an x-ray, 3 medications and cab ride only set me back about $165 USD-- can you imagine what this would have co$t in the States without insurance?
Well, the infection had turned to bronchitis which in turn had triggered an asthmatic episode (not that I normally have asthma). All of the doctors and technicians who worked with me were were quite personable yet professional, seemed to have the time to hear about my illness, talk to me (one in fairly good english, another who slowed his Castillian w-a-y down, and the other spoke Catalan while Dr. Sobre was present), and examine or perform labwork (in this case an x-ray). The paperwork took almost more time than the one-on-one, and the waiting was about equivalent.
Medicine is socialized here in Spain, so eveyone has access to decent healthcare any time. One other thing I appreciated was not seeing any clocks with the name of a phamaceutical drug company on its face. We ambled back over to the Modernista complex for a look around. Dr. Sobre may be small, but is she fast! That woman can walk! In my condition, I couldn't keep up, and so we agreed to come back another day and caught the metro back home.
Dr. Sobre said gee, you could probably do a pretty cool video with x-rays!
This pleasantly brought to mind Barbara Hammer's 1990 16mm film "Sanctus."