In the Mood for Love/Ερωτική Επιθυμία (2000)

Story

Mrs. Chan (Maggie Cheung) is the next-door neighbor to Mr. Chow (Tony Leung). When they realize their spouses are lovers, they get closer together. Their relationship is marked by mutual feelings of restrained love.

Η κυρία Τσαν (Μάγκι Τσένγκ) νοικιάζει ένα δωμάτιο δίπλα σε αυτό του κυρίου Τσόου (Τόνι Λιουνγκ). Όταν συνειδητοποιούν ότι οι σύζυγοί τους είναι εραστές, έρχονται κοντά ο ένας στον άλλον αλλά δεν επιτρέπουν να παρασυρθούν από το συναίσθημά τους.

Maggie Cheung and Tony Chiu Wai Leung.

Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung © 2000 Jet Tone Films

Review

I love that director Kar Wai Wong keeps the cheating spouses offscreen; just like they were absentees from their marriages, they were absent from the screen. Also loved the lush, vivid cinematography and the perfect movie score adding to the movie’s sensuality.

Μου άρεσε που ο σκηνοθέτης Καρ Γουάι Γουόνγκ δεν μας δείχνει τα πρόσωπα των άπιστων συζύγων. Όπως απουσιάζουν από τους γάμους τους, είναι απόντες και από την οθόνη. Επίσης λάτρεψα την φωτογραφία με τα πλούσια και έντονα χρώματα και το σάουντρακ που προσθέτει στην αισθαντικότητα της ταινίας.

Starring: Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung

Written & Directed by: Kar Wai Wong

“I don’t want to learn English! I don’t want to go to school!!!”

by Dr. Theodora Papadopoulou – Chamouza

Unfortunately many children feel this way after experiencing a big amount of stress coming either from home or school. Generally this feeling doesn’t last long but what should we do if they feel this way too long? Going to school and learning foreign languages is a fact of life and children should be educated and taught to love school.

Stress affects children’s bodies. Children who feel stressed experience headaches, stomachaches, and sleeping disorders. They feel insecure and often have panic attacks. Some of the warning signs related to stress are:

  • irritability
  • tiredness
  • poor concentration
  • poor short term memory
  • headaches, stomachaches
  • indication of feeling depressed, alone or misunderstood
  • disturbed sleep
  • indigestion, poor appetite

Parents who realize that their children have such symptoms should talk to the teachers immediately and try to find the real reasons that make them feel this way.

A frustrated, upset child, or child with learning difficulties.

Most of the times it is due to the pressure that derives from home. All parents want their children to excel in everything they do but when they go too far and almost want perfection, they put a burden on their children’s shoulders since children feel unable to meet their parents’ expectations. As children get older, academic and social pressures create stress. Well-meaning parents most of the time unwittingly add to the stress in their children’s lives.

Moreover, high-achieving parents often have great expectations from their children and thus become very demanding. They force them to excel in Greek school, foreign languages, sports, art, music and have the tendency to enroll them in numerous activities. This may cause an enormous amount of stress and frustration, especially if their children do not share the same goals with their parents. In most cases this leads to a child’s general denial to be involved in any activity.

It would be wrong to assume that children experience no stress at all. The fact is that they do since they hear their parents talking about troubles at work, worrying about a relative’s illness or even worse fighting with each other.

What they certainly do not need is extra pressure for perfection. It is worth mentioning that the anxiety children experience can be reactive or endogenous. In the first case, it is a reaction to something occurring outside of them. Something out there creates stress and the stress is transformed into anxiety. Endogenous anxiety, also known as panic attacks, can occur suddenly without any apparent cause. Children mainly suffer from reactive anxiety.

Unfortunately a big number of parents are overdemanding. They want certificates and they want them fast. They want academic perfection and the creation of super-children who are programmed only to succeed. If a child gets B or fails, then it is either because the child has a learning disability or the teacher did not do his/her work well.

Some parents use their children’s achievements for their own sense of security and personal glory. They feel great to share their children’s high achievements with their friends and feel proud of the super-children they have created. That is perfectly fine as long as the child feels happy, balanced and relaxed with the whole situation. The problem begins when the child experiences psychosomatic illnesses because of the constant stress to fulfill his or her parents’ expectations.

We all have children in our classes who suffer from headaches, stomachaches, allergies and breathing problems. These are illnesses which are highly related to stress. It is time parents realized that NOT every child has unlimited potential in all areas. Unfortunately teachers have the awkward role to make parents see things clearly and understand that children cannot succeed if we deprive them of the enthusiasm and support.

All children should be praised for their achievements. They need this from both parents and teachers. This will give them the strength they need to try even harder and reach their goals. They need to be sure that no matter what the outcome is, they are surrounded by people who are there for them and appreciate their efforts. In other words, the acceptance of both parents and teachers is of utmost importance. Facing the disappointment in their parents’ eyes can be devastating for every child.

Children need to be taught that even a failure can be proved beneficial. Children will definitely be benefited once they are taught to use their mistakes and failures as a tool to help them learn and grow instead of weapons designed to sabotage their self-worth.

It is true that children have the ability to learn many foreign languages. All human brains are programmed to learn languages. People are born with millions of brain cells that control language. During the first years of life, the brain cells connect with other cells to form complex pathways.

Most of the brain’s language connections are well established by the age of ten. This is exactly the reason that makes it imperative for children to learn foreign languages at a very early age. What we should point out though is that this should be done in a pleasant and natural way. There is no reason why we should kill the enthusiasm children bring to our classes. There is absolutely no reason why parents should keep on emphasizing the fact that their children will have to take exams and get certificates!

Parents have a very significant role to play as far as the education of their children is concerned. They should provide their children with a pleasant place at home where they can study. Instead of criticising them all the time, they can teach them the importance of time management and protect them from various distractions such as the internet and television. They should try to be available and set good examples for their children. Last but not least, they should try to be supportive and praise any serious effort no matter what the outcome is.

Every child is a unique personality that needs special treatment in order to excel both in school and life. Parents do not help their children by being overdemanding and criticising them all the time. On the contrary, they destroy what we as teachers try so hard to maintain: the enthusiasm every human being needs in order to succeed.

Dr. Theodora Papadopoulou-Chamouza is a Doctor of Psychology, 
Neurolinguist and a Special Educator.

Ali (2001)

Story

This is a biography of Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest boxers of all time, and a source of inspiration on and off the ring. When Ali refused army induction, he became an icon for the fight for civil rights; religious freedom and racial justice.

Αυτή είναι η βιογραφία του Μοχάμεντ Αλί, ενός από τους μεγαλύτερους μποξέρ όλων των εποχών και πηγή έμπνευσης εντός και εκτός ρινγκ. Η άρνησή του να καταταγεί στον πόλεμο του Βιετνάμ τον ανέδειξε σε πολιτικό σύμβολο ενάντια στις θρησκευτικές αλλά και φυλετικές διακρίσεις.

Columbia Pictures, Inc.

Will Smith as Muhammad Ali © 2001 Columbia Pictures

Review

The boxing scenes are engaging even if not a fan of the sport. Will Smith, in perhaps one of his best performances, is convincing as Ali and Jon Voight in the role of sportscaster Howard Cosell is a treat. Both got nominated for Oscar.

Οι σκηνές των αγώνων είναι συναρπαστικές και για κάποιον που δεν είναι φαν του αθλήματος. Ο Γουίλ Σμιθ, ίσως σε μία από τις καλύτερες ερμηνείες του, είναι πειστικός ως Αλί, και ο Γιον Βόιτ ως σπορτκάστερ Χάουαντ Κοσέλ είναι απολαυστικός. Και οι δύο ήταν υποψήφιοι για Όσκαρ.

Favorite Quote

I ain’t going no 10,000 miles to help murder and kill other poor people. If I want to die, I’ll die right here, right now, fightin’ you, if I want to die. You my enemy, not no Chinese, no Vietcong, no Japanese. You my opposer when I want freedom. You my opposer when I want justice. You my opposer when I want equality. Want me to go somewhere and fight for you? You won’t even stand up for me right here in America, for my rights and my religious beliefs. You won’t even stand up for my right here at home.

 -Muhammad Ali

Starring: Will Smith, Jon Voight, Jamie Foxx, Ron Silver, Jada Pinkett Smith, Michael Michele, Malick Bowens

Written by: Gregory Allen Howard (story) , Stephen J. Rivele, Christopher Wilkinson, Eric Roth and Michael Mann

Directed by: Michael Mann

How we Teach Grammar: A Third Way

by Hester Lott

Teaching grammar can be tricky. For many otherwise competent EFL practitioners, it is scary. Few teachers actually like grammar, or enjoy teaching it as they enjoy teaching the other ‘skills’. I would suggest there are two reasons for this, one of which relates to the particular history of teachers educated in the UK. The other (and the one which concerns me) lies, I come to believe, in the way grammar is traditionally regarded by grammarians.

Grammar and grammarians

In contrast with other aspects of language, grammar is commonly treated in a scientistic way. By this I mean that it is treated as if it consists of a set of rules, based on abstract concepts, which must be learnt in the abstract and mechanically applied. As teachers, we first need to learn the terminology (e.g. adverb, aspect, conjunction, auxiliary, etc.); and then the different types of formulae: (e.g. ‘S + V + O + A’, or ‘Wh+ do/does + NP +verb + ?’), and then figure out how to communicate this knowledge to people with very little English. This approach seems to have very little to do with meaning or communication. No wonder grammar teaching is perceived as frightening!

Grammar and learning

It is possible to teach a language and never have recourse to a grammar term, nor study grammar as a separate discipline at all. We all do this in acquiring our first language. However, it takes years of constant exposure to a language or, better, complete immersion. Very few students have the time or the inclination to go for this approach. So the teaching of formal grammar is a way of speeding up the learning process by giving students the tools to enable them to generate original sentences in correct English by the application of a set of rules. The problem for teachers lies in how to create the same kind of positive learning conditions when teaching grammar that they routinely apply to the other language skills.

There is a widely-held belief that learning happens most readily when the students are personally engaged with the material, when the subject is interesting to them or when they identify personally with the people they are reading about. They learn from observation, imitation and repetition, all within an encouraging and supportive atmosphere, which gives them confidence to experiment and get things wrong a few times without feeling they have broken the law.

Grammar and the syllabus

One way of looking at the problem of integrating the study of grammar into the syllabus is by drawing a comparison with methods used by theorists and researchers into the development of artificial intelligence (AI), the creation of a human-like electronic or machine ‘mind’. There are two radically different schools of thought concerning the best initial approach. One is termed the bottom up and the other the top down approach.

Bottom-up

The first group, those with the bottom up approach, start by creating a simple basic creature, rather like a slug, which has the fundamental capacities that living creatures need: it can recognise and move away from danger, and recognise and move towards objects which are safe and ‘useful’. When this is achieved, the researchers try to add more sophisticated capacities, such as the ability to interact with other creatures, using tools to achieve simple tasks and so on. By adding more and more elements to the program, they hope eventually to create a kind of ‘thinking mind’.

One could draw an analogy between the eclectic methods of the modern English language teacher and the ‘bottom up’ approach. There is no complex rule-learning initially, but, instead, the presentation and repetition of simple phrases and words in a recognisable context, and preferably with communicative purpose. Gradually more vocabulary is added, along with stylistic and grammatical complexity, in a steadily expanding, three-dimensional inverted pyramid of knowledge, confidence and competence.

Top-down

At the other end of the spectrum, the ‘top down’ AI scientists start by analysing the processes involved in a chosen complex, intellectual challenge, such as the game of chess, and creating an intricate (but strictly limited) program to deal with this. Then they may develop a separate program which an, for example, translate simple instructions from English into Japanese. Then they try to integrate the two, so an English-speaking robot can play chess with a Japanese-speaking robot. And so on, creating and combining more and more of these separate complex programs, in the hope that eventually they will end up with a kind of thinking mind‘.

Grammarians seem to operate in a similar way to this group, the ‘top downers’. They start by looking at the language as a whole and proposing a set of complicated rules governed by a traditional terminology (or metalanguage). They then attempt to make all real language fit into the appropriate, ready-made, conceptual boxes. In order for them to teach this, it is necessary to teach the metalanguage to students before teaching, parrot fashion, what should go into the boxes. This process is a long way from the ideal learning process we have looked at above, and from the one which children go through when they learn their mother tongue.

A more efficient way

The dilemma for the teacher lies in how to incorporate the best practices of the ELT classroom into their grammar teaching, or, in other words, to incorporate something of the top-down approach into an essentially bottom-up system.

With traditional top-down methods, the grammar-learning process should go something like this:

  1. presentation of a grammatical structure, usually in a sentence presented without context, character or information about register or genre
  2. explanation of the rule, possibly with other, equally contextless examples
  3. application of the rule by the student, in controlled conditions
  4. absorption of the feel of how the structure is used, and memorisation of examples of this
  5. occasional mental recourse to the rule when in difficulty
  6. bypassing the rule in favour of an intuitive understanding of the way the language works and the spontaneous use of language in chunks, i.e. fluency

This can be very successful, but is not always so. The problem lies at stage 4. What is the best way to move students on from stage 3 to 4?

A middle-out approach

My view is that neither the bottom-up, nor the top-down approaches are maximally efficient for the effective teaching of grammar, though both may eventually achieve the same result, given continuing effort and good will on the part of the student and the teacher. The problem is that many students will never move beyond stage 3 and fossilised errors become established, which, as the name implies, will never be corrected.

I would suggest that a third category, the middle-out approach is the most effective. This consists of teaching, or establishing common prior knowledge of, the relevant grammatical concept and terminology, possibly even i n the student’s first language, thereby establishing a ‘middle ground’. It is essential that the student has a deep understanding of the meaning behind the item or structure, which is only achieved by looking at, and, ideally, listening to, how it is actually used by native speakers, using carefully selected examples of written or spoken English at the appropriate level.

It should then be possible for the student to absorb the deeper meaning. When students have absorbed the deeper meaning, and understood the explanation, the teacher will be able to lead them to experiment confidently with the structure by expressing their own thoughts in areas which naturally lend themselves to it. Thus, by focusing on the meaning of a grammatical item or structure, and by looking at how it is used in real contexts, the teacher can then proceed in the same fashion he or she normally does in the other skills areas.

In this way, the teaching of grammar can be rewarding and enjoyable, and can benefit students in the long term, by giving them an intuitive understanding which enables them to bypass the rule and go straight to the appropriate form, at stage 6. I believe that the basic precepts for a good reading/writing or speaking/listening lesson should apply equally to a grammar lesson.

A popular view held by educationalists is that learning takes place most readily when the whole person is involved in the learning process, and that most learners remember chunks of language according to the context in which they were heard or read. In order for people to engage emotionally with teaching texts, they should be about real people in real situations, communicating in a credible way.

In order to learn we need stories: funny and sad, real and fictional, from history and about science. These do not generally figure very prominently in grammar texts. Of course, the experienced English teacher will be adept at making grammar digestible, and will have a whole set of ready-made grammar-based lessons to deal with common problems, complete with jokes and anecdotes and real contexts appropriate to their classes. But it would be useful for new teachers to have some model on which to base their thinking.

Hester Lott has worked for many years as an editor and an author of ELT
books, specialising in grammar and methodology. She is an experienced
English language teacher, having taught in Italy, London, and Oxford.

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)

Story

Chuck Barris (Sam Rockwell) is a successful game show producer. However, this is just a facade. He was also recruited by Jim Byrd (George Clooney) to be a CIA operative. Or at least he claims so in his memoir, the movie was based on.

Ο Τσακ Μπάρις (Σαμ Ρόκγουελ) είναι ένας πετυχημένος παραγωγός τηλεπαιχνιδιών. Αυτή όμως είναι η βιτρίνα καθώς ο Τζιμ Μπερντ (Τζορτζ Κλούνεϊ) τον στρατολόγησε να γίνει εκτελεστής της CIA . Ή τουλάχιστον αυτό ισχυρίζεται στην αυτοβιογραφία του, που βασίστηκε η ταινία.

Miramax

Sam Rockwell, George Clooney © 2002 Miramax

Review

George Clooney pulled it off without the possible weaknesses of a directorial debut. It is obvious his style was influenced by Steven Soderbergh. Clooney also got great performances from an all-star cast; even cameo appearances from Brad Pitt and Matt Damon.

Ο Τζωρτζ Κλούνεϊ τα κατάφερε πολύ καλά αποφεύγοντας πιθανές αδυναμίες ενός σκηνοθετικού ντεμπούτου. Το στυλ του είναι φανερό ότι επηρεάστηκε από τον Στίβεν Σόντερμπεργκ. Επίσης, απέσπασε πολύ καλές ερμηνείες από ένα δυνατό καστ, ακόμα και περάσματα από τους Μπραντ Πιτ και Ματ Ντέιμον.

Favorite Quote

When you are young, your potential is infinite. You might do anything, really. You might be Einstein. You might be DiMaggio. Then you get to an age where what you might be gives way to what you have been. You weren’t Einstein. You weren’t anything. That’s a bad moment.

-Chuck Barris

Starring: Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore, George Clooney, Julia Roberts

Written by:  Charlie Kaufman and Chuck Barris (based on his same-title book)

Directed by: George Clooney

Know thy stuff!

by Sylvia Kar

Have you ever thought how similar, doctor-patient relationships and student-teacher relationships really are?

They are both based on the foundation of trust. You would never go to a doctor that you didn’t trust, so why on earth would you go to a teacher you didn’t trust? Students need to feel secure, that their teachers know what’s going on in their area of expertise, are in tune with the latest materials, and are up to date with teaching techniques, skills and strategies. Fortunately or unfortunately for us teachers, students have an uncanny sixth sense about whether the teacher knows his stuff and is putting his best foot forward or whether he’s just killing time.

You know what they say! “You can’t fool all the people all the time.”

The market, being in the slump it presently is, does not allow room for unprofessional, haphazard, packaged teaching.

Each lesson must be well prepared, interesting, to the point and geared to the needs of each individual case. Nothing can be left to ‘Lady Luck’ especially in the case of preparing students for certificates, and of course the higher the certificate the more pressure there is to be on target.

You can’t teach for one exam using materials for another. Styles and techniques vary greatly as do the demands made on the student by each examination syndicate. I have often been asked why I don’t write a book on composition writing for the writing section of the Michigan ECPE. The answer is really quite simple. How can you write a whole book on one type of composition format – basically opinion type essays, stating advantages and disadvantages?

It’s interesting to note just how many people preparing students for the Michigan ECPE don’t know that this is the only type of writing they need to teach their students. But then you might add what kind of teaching is this? Do we only teach towards examinations? Are we not obligated to give our students communicative language learning?

I for one have no misconceptions about what I’m doing. It’s “wham bam thank you mam” and out the door. I know I’m not teaching them English, I’m just giving them skills and strategies to pass. As terrible as this sounds, for those of you who are still harboring the misconception that you are teaching communicative language, ask yourself what your first priority is, and if you are being honest with yourself, you will see that you want to pass them and get them out the door. Don’t feel guilty! Everyone’s doing it.

The point is, do it well, conscientiously and with lots of tender loving care. Don’t let anyone catch you with your pants down, which means you must know what you’re doing at all times and this means knowing what you’re preparing your students for, inside out and backwards. And, if you don’t know or aren’t sure about how something is done there really is no harm in asking, because none of us was born knowing.

Sylvia Kar is a teacher, teacher trainer, the author of many exam books 
and is considered to be an authority on B2, C1 and C2 examinations.

Man Trouble (1992)

Story

Joan Spruance (Ellen Barkin), an opera singer, decides to rent a guard dog following threats for her life. That’s how she meets dog trainer Harry Bliss (Jack Nicholson), a sleazy but noble person, who falls for her but soon is faced with a dilemma.

Η Τζοάν Σπρούανς (Ellen Barkin), τραγουδίστρια της όπερας, αποφασίζει να νοικιάσει έναν σκύλο-φύλακα κατόπιν απειλών για την ζωή της. Έτσι γνωρίζει τον εκπαιδευτή σκύλων Χάρι Μπλις (Jack Nicholson), έναν κατεργαράκο, που την ερωτεύεται και θα έρθει αντιμέτωπος με ένα δίλημμα.

Jack Nicholson and Ellen Barkin

Jack Nicholson and Ellen Barkin © 1992 Penta Pictures

Review

I thought the leading couple would guarantee a decent romantic comedy. But, I was bored out of my mind and I was disappointed to watch such talented actors playing in a movie I am pretty sure they want to forget.

Νόμιζα ότι το πρωταγωνιστικό ζευγάρι θα εγγυόταν μία αξιοπρεπή ρομαντική κωμωδία. Αλλά, πέθανα από βαριεστημάρα και απογοητεύτηκα να παρακολουθώ τόσο ταλαντούχους ηθοποιούς να παίζουν σε μία ταινία που σίγουρα θα θέλουν να ξεχάσουν.

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Ellen Barkin, Beverly D’Angelo

Written by: Carole Eastman

Directed by:  Bob Rafelson

Interactive Resources in the EFL classroom

What are the benefits of using the interactive whiteboard resources? Are there any disadvantages? Are textbooks obsolete?

Why should we use the interactive educational tools?

  • Students can work at their own pace, control the amount of input and review whenever they wish.
  • They learn from an infinitely patient source, which can repeat the input as many times as necessary and will not scold them for not being able to get it first time right.
  • Pupils get personally involved in the process of learning by selecting what and when they want to study, practise or revise.
  • At the age of instant gratification, learners receive immediate feedback. In addition, their performance is assessed objectively.
  • There is an increased motivation due to the use of sounds and animated pictures, although the novelty tends to wear off with time.
  • Students learn in privacy, which means that they are spared the embarrassment of making a mistake in front of an entire group.
  • An added benefit is that individualized learning increases retention of input, thus decreasing learning time.
  • Needless to say, interactive learning provides an alternative method of teaching for students who have unsuccessfully followed more conventional ones.

What are the drawbacks of this learning method?

  • Most of the interactive software programs mark the wrong answer without providing any reasons. Of course the student will get more than one chance to try to get it right, but learning by a process of elimination should be avoided.
  • However, teachers can offer explanations for both wrong and right answers and thus help students solidify their knowledge of grammar and vocabulary.

Provided the educational software is used by an EFL teacher in a way that integrates class work with computer work, it can prove an indispensable tool for enhancing the students’ performance.

Evidently, the teacher’s guidance still remains the key factor in every classroom whether students are in front of textbooks or notebooks.

eXistenZ (1999)

Story

Allegra Geller (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is a game designer whose life is n danger. In order to avoid her assassins, she teams up with Ted (Jude Law), a marketing trainee, and they both play her virtual reality game eXistenZ.

Η Αλέγκρα Γκέλερ (Τζένιφερ Τζέισον Λι) είναι μία σχεδιάστρια ηλεκτρονικών παιχνιδιών, της οποίας η ζωή κινδυνεύει. Ο μόνος τρόπος για να αποφύγει τους δολοφόνους της είναι να παίξει μαζί με τον Τεντ (Τζουντ Λο), ειδικευόμενο μάρκετινγκ, το δικό της παιχνίδι εικονικής πραγματικότητας eXistenZ.

Jude Law and Jennifer Jason Leigh

Jude Law and Jennifer Jason Leigh © 1999 Alliance Atlantis Communications

Review

The hazy boundaries between what is real and what is imaginary and the strong symbolism of a cable that resembles the umbilical cord argue against the existence (pun intended) of gaming, but it was not enough for the movie to be good.

Τα ασαφή όρια μεταξύ ρεαλισμού και φανταστικού και ο δυνατός συμβολισμός του καλωδίου σύνδεσης που μοιάζει με ομφάλιο λώρο επιχειρηματολογούν κατά της ύπαρξης των ηλεκτρονικών παιχνιδιών, αλλά δεν αρκούν για μία καλή ταινία.

Starring: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jude Law, Ian Holm, Don McKellar

Written & Directed by: David Cronenberg

Οδηγός επιβίωσης συνοδών ασθενών στο νοσοκομείο (μέρος α’)

Μπορείς να τους εντοπίσεις εύκολα στις συγκοινωνίες. Αρκεί να ρίξεις ένα βλέμμα γύρω σου. Φορτωμένοι με σακούλες. Μόνο που αυτές οι σακούλες δεν έχουν ψώνια. Το καταλαβαίνεις γιατί είναι γεμισμένες μέχρι εκεί που δεν πάει άλλο με πράγματα. Πράγματα χρήσιμα για τον ασθενή. Τον ασθενή που συνοδεύουν. Συνοδός! Τι ευφημισμός αλήθεια! Τι είναι το νοσοκομείο; Δεξίωση; Πάρτι; Φαντάζομαι τον ασθενή να λέει:

“Θέλεις να με συνοδεύσεις στο νοσοκομείο; Θα κάνω μία εισαγωγή.”

Hospitals

Προσωπικά, στη γραμμή Μοναστηράκι-Δουκίσσης Πλακεντίας τούς βρήκα. Είναι εκείνοι που είναι λίγο πιο στεναχωρημένοι από τους υπόλοιπους επιβάτες, που θα κάτσουν από την πόρτα που θα μπουν στο Μοναστηράκι γιατί ξέρουν ότι από αυτή την μεριά ανοίγει και στην Εθνική Άμυνα. Κι όταν ανέβουν από τις κυλιόμενες χωρίς καν να κοιτάξουν θα βγουν από την πλευρά που η ταμπέλα γράφει “Υπ. Μεταφορών & Επικοινωνιών”. Εκείνοι διαβάζουν “Γενικό Κρατικό Νοσοκομείο Αθηνών”.

Έχουν κάνει τόσες φορές τη διαδρομή που δεν χρειάζεται καν να ρωτήσουν τον σεκιούριτι πληροφορίες για το “πού είναι το κτίριο 3” ή “πού είναι το αιματολογικό“. Μην σου πω ότι θα δώσουν και οδηγίες στους πρωτάρηδες στη συνοδεία!

Ωστόσο, η ‘συνοδεία’ ξεκινάει πολύ πριν γίνει η εισαγωγή στο νοσοκομείο. Ξεκινάει με τα επείγοντα περιστατικά. Το νοσοκομείο εφημερεύει. Ο ασθενής υποφέρει. Ο συνοδός εξετάζει αν το σύμπτωμα του ασθενή ταιριάζει με τις κλινικές που εφημερεύουν γιατί ως γνωστόν δεν εφημερεύουν ΟΛΕΣ οι κλινικές (βλ.ειδικότητες) ενός νοσοκομείου ταυτόχρονα, εκτός κι αν μιλάμε για γενική εφημερία.

Αφού ταιριάξουμε το σύμπτωμα με την ειδικότητα, μένει να αποφασιστεί το πώς θα φτάσουμε εκεί! Ο τρόπος πρόσβασης στο νοσοκομείο ποικίλλει. Ο συνοδός είτε θα εκτελέσει και χρέη οδηγού και θα φτάσει ιδιωτικά ο ασθενής στα επείγοντα, είτε θα καλέσει το ασθενοφόρο. Αν πάντως θέλετε να προηγηθείτε στην εξέταση, καλέστε το ασθενοφόρο! Η λογική είναι “αφού δεν μπόρεσε να έρθει μόνος του ο ασθενής μέχρι εδώ, δεν είναι καθόλου καλά”. Και θα είχε κάποια βάση αν το ασθενοφόρο είχε κληθεί στον τόπο ενός τροχαίου και όχι στον τόπο ενός ανθρώπου που βλέπει το ασθενοφόρο ως δωρεάν ταξί!

Κι εκεί που νομίζεις ως άπειρος συνοδός “first come, first served” (είναι και η αμερικάνικη νοοτροπία που μεσολαβεί στην εμπειρία!) διαπιστώνεις ότι δεν έχει προτεραιότητα ο δικός σου ασθενής κι ας κινδυνεύει να πεθάνει από αιμορραγία, αλλά ο ξαπλωμένος στο φορείο ασθενής που σπρώχνει με δύναμη ο τραυματιοφορέας. Επί τη ευκαιρία, ως συνοδός μού φάνηκε χρήσιμη η συμβουλή που άκουγα από μικρή “να έχεις και στην πλάτη σου μάτια“. Αλλιώς, μπουμ! Και να’τη η μελανιά στα πλευρά!

Αυτό όμως δεν είναι τίποτα. Από τα χειρότερα που μπορεί να σου συμβούν στο νοσοκομείο είναι να διαπιστώσεις μετά από ώρα ότι ο ασθενής κι εσύ περιμένατε έξω από τη λάθος πόρτα! Για παράδειγμα, συνοδεύεις έναν ασθενή που παραπονιέται “πονάει το στήθος μου, νιώθω σφίξιμο στην καρδιά & κονταίνει η αναπνοή μου” κι έτσι όταν στα επείγοντα σε ρωτάνε “για πού;” απαντάς “καρδιολογικό”. Σού δίνουν ένα χαρτάκι με νούμερο και περιμένεις τη σειρά σας απέξω από την πόρτα με την ταμπέλα “Καρδιολογικό”.

Να πω εδώ, πως καλό είναι να μην εφησυχάζεσαι ότι πρόκειται να φωνάξουν το νούμερό σας αλλά να έχεις τον νου σου για τη σειρά!!! Αν οι άνθρωποι βιάζονται και προσπαθούν να υπερπηδήσουν τον μπροστινό τους για να ακουμπήσουν τον οβολό τους στην τράπεζα ή το σούπερ μάρκετ, μπορείς να φανταστείς πόσο πιο έντονη γίνεται αυτή η συμπεριφορά όταν υπάρχει θέμα ζωής ή θανάτου, κοινώς θέμα υγείας!

Κλείνει η παρένθεση. Τι γίνεται όταν τελικά ανοίγει η πόρτα για τον ασθενή που συνοδεύεις για να σου πουν “Λάθος πόρτα! Στον παθολόγο έπρεπε να πάτε.”  Αυτό πονάει πολύ περισσότερο από τη μελανιά!

Ας υποθέσουμε όμως ότι έκανες μία σωστή εκτίμηση των συμπτωμάτων και περιμένετε έξω από τη σωστή πόρτα. Βέβαια, είναι πολύ πιθανό η ορθή κρίση να έχει έρθει και με την εξοικείωση στον άχαρο ρόλο του συνοδού. Γι’αυτό και μπορεί να έχεις προβλέψει ότι αυτή η επίσκεψη στα επείγοντα δεν θα είναι “ψεκάστε, σκουπίστε, τελειώσατε” (δηλαδή εξέταση, διάγνωση, φαρμακευτική αγωγή) αλλά μία εισαγωγή για νοσηλεία.

Μπορεί επίσης να το γνωρίζεις εκ των προτέρων γιατί ο θεράπων ιατρός του ασθενή είπε “έλα στην εφημερία να σε βάλουμε μέσα“. Σε αυτή την περίπτωση δεν νιώθεις έκπληξη όταν βλέπεις τον ασθενή που συνοδεύεις να βγαίνει από το εξεταστήριο με την πεταλούδα στο χέρι. Πεταλούδα! Άλλος ευφημισμός! Τι σχέση έχει αυτό το όμορφο έντομο με εκείνο το άσχημο πλαστικό εξάρτημα με βελόνα που χρησιμοποιούν οι γιατροί για να περνάνε τα φάρμακα απευθείας στην κυκλοφορία του αίματος;

Ξέρεις λοιπόν από πριν ότι θα γίνει νοσηλεία. Επομένως ξέρεις κι ότι ο ασθενής θα χρειαστεί τα προσωπικά του είδη (πιτζάμες, παντόφλες, μία αλλαξιά εσώρουχα για αρχή) μαζί του. Έχοντας μεγαλώσει με την παροιμία “των φρονίμων τα παιδιά…” θέλεις να δείξεις φρονιμάδα (=προνοητικότητα) και στοιβάζεις τα προσωπικά είδη σε ένα σακ βουαγιάζ για να μην φύγεις από το σπίτι χωρίς αυτό! Μήπως θα έπρεπε όμως;

Γιατί μπορεί η ‘πεταλούδα’ να συμβολίζει την εισαγωγή, η περιπέτεια των επειγόντων όμως δεν έχει τελειώσει ακόμα! Από την γνωμάτευση της εισαγωγής μέχρι την στιγμή που θα μπείτε στο δωμάτιο, έχετε δρόμο να διανύσετε. Και μεταφορικά και κυριολεκτικά. Και καλά αν τα διαγνωστήρια που σε στέλνουν (αξονική, ακτινογραφία, υπέρηχος κτλ.) είναι στον ίδιο όροφο. Αν όμως χρειαστεί να περπατήσετε, καλό είναι να εξασφαλίσεις ένα αναπηρικό αμαξίδιο, ειδικά αν ο ασθενής σου είναι καταβεβλημένος.

Υπάρχουν τραυματιοφορείς που μπορούν να βοηθήσουν. Αλλά είναι λίγοι αναλογικά με τους ασθενείς. Αν πρόκειται να τους φιλοδωρήσεις, όπως έκανε ο δικός μου ασθενής κόντρα στη συμβουλή μου, τουλάχιστον μην το κάνεις πριν σας μεταφέρει στο δωμάτιο! Θα σας αφήσει να πάει στον επόμενο ασθενή και θα μείνεις να σπρώχνεις εσύ το αναπηρικό αμαξίδιο!

Όπως κατάλαβες, είτε με αμαξίδιο, είτε χωρίς, η περίσταση απαιτεί αρκετή μετακίνηση και ταλαιπωρία στους διαδρόμους του νοσοκομείου. Οπότε, το φρόνιμο θα ήταν να μην έχεις και το βαλιτσάκι να νοιαστείς!  Αν υπάρχει η δυνατότητα να παραμείνει πίσω και να το φέρει κάποιος άλλος στο νοσοκομείο, ή να το φέρεις αργότερα εσύ, καλύτερα άφησέ το σπίτι. Εδώ καλά-καλά δεν μπορείς να μεταφέρεις το σώμα σου γιατί νιώθεις ξαφνικά να ζυγίζεις τα διπλάσια κιλά και τα πόδια σου είναι βαριά, θα κουβαλάς και το βαλιτσάκι;

Κουβαλάς ήδη την αγωνία. Είτε επισκέφτεσαι τα επείγοντα για πρώτη φορά και αναρωτιέσαι “θα σωθεί;“, “θα γίνει καλά;“, “ήρθαμε εγκαίρως;” είτε είσαι βετεράνος και άρα λιγότερο φρικαρισμένος, η αγωνία δεν σε εγκαταλείπει. Συνεχώς σού τριβελίζουν το μυαλό ερωτήματα όπως “θα ‘πιάσουν’ τα φάρμακα;” , “πόσο θα μείνει μέσα;“, “μήπως αρπάξει καμιά λοίμωξη στο νοσοκομείο;” Η αγωνία είναι εκείνο το συναίσθημα που θα σε συνοδεύει συνέχεια.  Ε, να μην συνοδεύεσαι κι εσύ;

Εξάλλου δεν γίνεται κι αλλιώς, γιατί δεν είμαστε ‘συνοδοί ασθενών’ γενικά, αλλά είμαστε συνοδοί συγγενών που ασθενούν.