HomeBlogGoodbye, Luis, and that we never have a lack of smile

Goodbye, Luis, and that we never have a lack of smile

This morning in Argixao we said goodbye with a small ceremony of Luis Perez, one of the people who lived in this house. Someone very loved and appreciated both by workers, and by the rest of us who passed by this place. The ceremony was also attended by a representative of the "Fato Cultural Galego Daniel Castelao" centre in Trintxerpe who shared with us all a Galician poem in honour of Luis, which you can read here.

Antxone Pérez, Argixao's assistant, wanted to share during the celebration of this event this precious text that, a few days ago, Luis read to us visibly moved in a meeting held in the Aquarium of Donostia. His words of thanks comfort us and encourage us to continue accompanying people, ensuring respect, dignity, personal autonomy and the meaning of life for each and every one of them. We hope that it reaches you as much as it does us.

Kaixo, my name is Luis Perez. I'm 63 years old, from Azcuene Street in Donosti, although I consider myself to be from Trinxperpe. I have worked at sea, I have also been a scrap dealer and my free time has been dedicated to being a member of the Pasaia civil protection service, of which I have been a member for 33 years, 18 of which as president. I also belonged to the commission of parties of Trinxerpe and was the one who threw the chupinazos in parties.

My story begins with a deep depression that made me not want to go on living. I spent four years without washing up, eating one sandwich a day and drinking up to 30 beers a day. As a result of this process, I caught a cangrena and on 21st June (St Louis' day, my Saint's day, at 4.30pm) the Ertzaina forced me to go to hospital to have my leg amputated, due to the complicated situation I was suffering from. After spending a month and a half in hospital, I was transferred to the socio-health unit of the Matia Foundation's Argixao centre in Zumarraga.

I arrived here on 1 August 2017 at half past ten in the morning, where I was welcomed by Dr Sofia, together with Idoia, the nurse's reference person, and Ohianna, the social worker here. They talked to me. I was crying because I didn't want to stay in the centre. They were taking me out of my environment... they were taking me out of my dear Trinxerpe. When they finished talking to me, these three people introduced me to Angel, a colleague who lived in Argixao and who would become my roommate after three months. That same day, at lunchtime, he came to find me an assistant who has been my life support since I have been living in Argixao. Her name is Nahikari. This was my first day at Argixao.

I spent a few weeks very sad, crying on the sly, but I could see that the encouragement I got from the workers at Argixao was great. After two months I started to gain confidence. I realised that people loved me and, as I could not stand still, I started to help in any way I could. To the colleagues who could not access the coffee machine, I took the coffee in the morning to the hairdresser... One of the most important things for me was that Alicia, the physiotherapist, started to help me walk. I have to thank her very much, because this was a very important moment in my life. Three months later, in October, they began to take measurements for my prosthesis, in mid-November they gave it to me and today I walk, with the prosthesis and the crutches.

So the months went by and on the 15th of December at 10.15am Maros came to this house, who is today the love of my life and a fundamental pillar for my recovery and for my day to day life.

Argixao's house, for me who live there, is very well prepared. Those of us who live here are very well looked after and one of the most important things in this life is that we don't lack a smile in our daily lives, both from the workers and from the families and people who live here. My day at Argixao starts at half past six in the morning, I take a shower and around seven I put on my prosthesis. I do my exercises in the corridors of the house, at eight I go down to the main floor and greet some residents, we have a coffee and talk. At nine I go to my room and start to feel useful, I make my bed (except on Thursdays when I change clothes), at ten I have breakfast and start to help whatever is needed, monitors, hairdresser, nurse, assistants, reception... This makes me feel much more useful. We are lucky enough to have a vegetable garden and we take everything: lettuce, cucumbers, broccoli... and we give it away to everyone who passes by the house.

One very important thing about the people who come with us is that they follow essential principles in this life: listening, understanding, smiling, and above all making us smile. What I have noticed in this house is that there is a lot of opportunity for all of us who live here to make our own decisions, because in the end we are people and we have the right to decide what we like and what we want to do.

Now I want to thank all the workers in our house and especially Julia, the hairdresser, for giving me all the opportunities she gives me, Aitziber from the bar for loving me as she does, the monitors for making me feel useful, Izaskun (assistant in the day centre) for loving me as a child, the assistants, nurses, social workers and doctors, all the volunteers who come to our house. I don't want to forget Carmen, our director, who with her smile and from time to time with her jokes makes us feel at home. Carmen you know, don't change. I would also like to thank those of you in the cleaning, laundry, kitchen... because you are very good people and all of you who are here listening to an important part of my life story. I would also like to thank all of MATIA for being the way you are, because as my father used to say, it is good to be grateful.

Signed. Luis Pérez

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