The adventure begins: September 13, 2019, Friday

We are Catholic Christians, believers and practitioners: therefore the bogeyman of "Friday the 13th" does not bother us at all. We believe in Jesus, in his innovative strength, in his faith in the Father, who knows everything and can do everything.

It's 7 o'clock and the alarm rings inexorably for all the students and for all the workers.

“Everybody get out of bed!” thunder, but with a soft and smiling voice!

Eugenio proprio non vuole ascoltare il mio consiglio, imponente, ma sempre consiglio.

I approach him, his cot. I immediately notice that there is something wrong, because he is absent, very absent, dazed, typical hangover. But last night, if I remember correctly, Eugenio didn't go to the disco, he wasn't late with his friends, he didn't dive into a night full of sex and drugs. So where does this weariness come from, this apathy, this absence, this lack of contact with reality?

“Eugenio, Eugenio…” I urge him again, and again. Nothing, she doesn't answer. He's far away, his mind is far away.

I worry, I'm scared.

Being impulsive, I immediately alert Giuseppina, and strengthened by yesterday's experience, yesterday's whole day, I immediately want to find a solution to this incredible, inexplicable, anonymous problem.

“We have to start somewhere!” thunder, prophesying!

Wear glasses: let's start with an eye examination. "Call Uncle Antonio and tell him that in five minutes, whether he likes it or not, he has to visit Eugenio"

I understand that we are southerners, I understand that we are Italians: but the squeeze in the buttocks fills you with so much adrenaline that you would like to burn the world.

The landline and then the cell phone start to get hot: call there, call there. Uncle Antonio Filippelli, my mother-in-law Antonietta's cousin, very amiable and hyper-available, is waiting for us in the studio to visit Eugenio within half an hour.

Perfect. In a hurry, all 4 of us get ready. I accompany Francesca to school, I return home like a rocket, we embark in the car and leave towards Alife (CE).

At 9.30 we are in the office of Antonio Filippelli, ophthalmologist, ophthalmologist at the Campobasso hospital; very experienced doctor, meticulous and precise.

Eugenio is already on the visiting stool. He proceeds with the classic examination of the eyes, to evaluate the degree of visual acuity. He proceeds quickly, ergo so far no problem. But he feels something in the air, he senses the acrid smell of danger, of the problem.

"Wait here, don't move", thunders Antonio. We, a little perplexed by this decision of his, gladly accept it, for Eugenio's health. Who all in all appears normal, very normal, intrigued by the ophthalmologist's machinery, distracted by the thousand little lights, fascinated by the new LCD monitor with the classic letters of visual control.

“Voglio verificare il fondo oculare!”

Dunno, Giuseppina and I say to each other, she certainly knows what she's talking about and knows how to do her job well, or rather her mission!

I minuti scorrono lenti, attendiamo che le gocce facciano effetto e che la pupilla sia ben dilatata. Ecco, è pronta per questo esame. Eugenio tranquillamente si siede allo sgabello, Zio Antonio dall’altro lato dell’apparecchiatura gli da le indicazioni di come deve poggiare la fronte, come deve tenere lo sguardo… ok, esame finito.

Si alza dallo sgabello, ci guarda con uno sguardo sgomento e pietrificato. “Ragazzi, non so dove, non so come, perché non sono pratico delle strutture in zona, ma voi entro mezz’ora dovete fare una risonanza ad Eugenio, se con contrasto ancora meglio! Questa è la prescrizione anche per le lenti, c’è un leggero peggioramento che non è importante. Adesso (tuona) quello che dovete fare subito, è la risonanza”.

Usciamo imbambolati, storditi, anestetizzati, dallo studio. Non abbiamo ancora compreso cosa ci ha appena detto, tanto è vero che con la prescrizione delle lenti in mano entriamo di fronte, nel negozio di ottica del caro amico Ennio Corniello.

Ubriachi della notizia, frastornati, forse perché avevamo intuito che qualcosa di grave aleggiava sulle nostre teste, insistiamo con la pretesa delle lenti nuove per Eugenio.

Giusy Rotondo, the saleswoman in the optical shop and our dearest friend, looks at us lovingly, having understood that our refusal to such a drama was mental, we hadn't yet digested it, not even assimilated it.

He insists: “friends, the lenses are not the problem; you have to worry about the resonance, urgent, because there is something far more serious than sight"

Ennio Corniello also intervenes, another very dear friend, who approves of Giusy's aforementioned words. "Guys, hurry up, look for a laboratory, a clinic, a structure that will immediately give you an MRI, as soon as possible!"

All of a sudden, Giuseppina and I wake up, almost like a cold shower, an awareness that we had neglected and wanted to set aside in the most remote corner of our brains, and of our hearts. We realize that we have a problem, a big problem; they repeated it to us several times, but our brain decided to discard it, as is done with all bad news.

We regain our senses, our brain begins to function regularly: we look Eugenio in the eyes, who did not show any tangible sign of the disease that was already devouring him, we look Ennio, Giusy in the eyes. We greet each other with a nod of the head. They understand, they understand.

We fly back home. Eugenio is still stunned: he doesn't quite understand the reason for all this commotion, all this restless movement.

Giuseppina on the phone is worse than a switchboard operator: her fingers fly over the keyboard, dialing the telephone numbers of all the laboratories, clinics, diagnostics, hospitals in the province of Caserta and Campania. The fastest resonance they can do not before November. November??? But we are on 13 September, we need it today, immediately, immediately!

We contact the Athena Clinic in Piedimonte Matese (CE) and dearest Carolina makes herself completely available: "at 1.30 pm, be here to have an MRI!"

Time to get a box of biscuits, just to be able to bear the wait that there will surely be during the MRI, we get into the car once again and at 13 we are at the Athena Clinic

At the MRI department we meet a person, Vincent Rossi, who will later become one of our best friends, of great professionalism, immense sensitivity and delicacy. Once the MRI was done, and the seriousness of the problem was immediately understood, he immediately got in touch with the Neuromed clinic in Pozzilli (IS), part of the same industrial group.

A few minutes pass, we anxiously waiting seated on anonymous seats; the radiologist technician Rossi puts us in telephone communication directly with Neuromed, and speaking with Giuseppina, doctor Grillea tells her, dispassionately and drastically: "lady, get in the car and come here, immediately!"

It is the "immediately" that ignites drama, anxiety, adrenaline, anger, worry, fear of the worst in us. Which is already underway.

And get back in the car again, with the 2.00 pm heat blinding our gaze and echoing in our heads like an infinite echo.

At 14.30 we are already in Pozzilli (IS), at the clinic Neuromed: mai vista prima, mai saputo neanche che esistesse un paese di nome Pozzilli, che fosse mai stata costruita una struttura bella e all’avanguardia come questa. Gli unici ospedali che abbiamo conosciuto sono la Clinica Athena dov’è nato Eugenio e la Clinica Villa Fiorita di Capua (CE) dov’è nata Francesca.

The modern, spacious, well-structured lobby welcomes us in all its majesty. We proceed with the presentation of the documents, and after a few minutes we go down to -1 where the doctor awaits us John Grillea, radiologist, and Dr Christine Mancarella.

They call me aside and say sharply: "her son has two brain injuries. We need to intervene now, at least to get the intracranial pressure under control. If we do not intervene, a hydrocephalus."

I look around, I ask myself: "But is it me that these two are talking to?"

I put two and two together, but it doesn't add up: basketball training yesterday afternoon, Eugenio is a champion, Eugenio is a force of nature, that lively, easy-going and brilliant rascal of my son. But no, it's not me they spoke to, maybe they got the wrong person"

With wide eyes, I ask them: “injuries? brain? hydrocephalus? but what are we talking about? maybe Eugenio suffered some trauma that I'm not aware of?”

Capiscono al volo la mia incredulità, la mia perplessità, il mio dolore.

"There are two tumors in your son's brain. One as big as a tangerine positioned in a cerebral ventricle, which worries us the most, and which we must block immediately. The other is located near the cerebellum, but we'll get to that later"

Muhammad Ali he had landed one of his famous punches right in the face.

Stunned, I nod my head to the doctors, and confirm their willingness to proceed with the hospitalization. Once the bureaucratic part is over, we go to the third floor, wing A, NCHIII, head physician Prof. Sergio Paolini.

We take possession of our bedroom.

A crowd of nurses, doctors, head nurse in primis, come to visit us, they explain the process of the analyzes and samplings

Neuromed bracelet
Neuromed bracelet
Eugenio on the first day in the hospital: Friday 13 September 2019
Finally some relaxation!

They immediately offer us a comfortable recliner for the night.

For this first night Giuseppina stays close to Eugenio, I go home.

It will be the only day I go home for the entire month of Eugenio's hospitalization.

Thus ends the first day of our new journey.

Ultimo aggiornamento: 12 Settembre 2022 10:33 by Remigius Robert

Avatar of Remigio Ruberto

Hi, I'm Remigio Ruberto, father of Eugenio. The love that binds me to Eugenio is timeless and spaceless.
  1. Vincent's avatar

    Rivivere quella giornata dalla vostra parte, rappresenta per me un susseguirsi di emozioni che mi lasciano senza respiro. Appena ho visto Eugenio ho avuto già paura di qualcosa di grave, troppo assente ma pensavo a una crisi epilettica che a quell’età ci può stare. Poi le prime immagini mi hanno dato un colpo al cuore e pensavo ora che faccio? non sapevo cosa fare, cosa dirvi. Poi per un attimo mi sono fermato e ho detto “è giovane devo fare il possibile “. Avevo paura di farvi percepire che c’era qualcosa di grave forse ci sono riuscito forse no. Non sono bravo a nascondere le mie emozioni. Ho fatto solo il mio lavoro non mi dovete ringraziare. Vi abbraccio un saluto caloroso a Eugenio.

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