Fundraiser underway in Czech Republic for Romani taxi driver who was one of the country's first serious COVID-19 patients
Robert Markovič, one of the first patients to fight for his life against the COVID-19 virus in the Czech Republic, has written a poem of gratitude to all the doctors and other people who took such brilliant care of him earlier this year and saved his life. According to Martin Balík, the head physician at Charles University's Clinic for Anesthesiology, Resuscitation and Intensive Medicine, part of both the General Teaching Hospital and the First Faculty of Medicine, Markovič was afflicted by the largest-ever dosage of the virus that medical personnel had measured in any patient at that time.
Balík said it was apparent Markovič had been infected more than once by more than one of the clients whom he had unwittingly driven over the course of a couple of weeks. Despite not having a big chance of recovering, Markovič is doing his best today to return to normal life.
As a consequence of falling ill, Markovič's quality of life has deteriorated greatly. For that reason a collection is now being held to aid him with getting out of the problems he encountered after his hospitalization.
The fundraising drive on Znesnáze seeks to raise CZK 180 000 [EUR 6 850], and with 33 days to go has raised CZK 32 361 [EUR 1 230]. It was started by Czech Television reporter Richard Samko, who is also a Romani community member.
"I've been working at Czech Television in the news division for more than 20 years. Thanks to that job, I've traveled all over and met very interesting people. One person who has influenced my work and my perspective on life is Robert Markovič," Samko explained, adding that: "His coronavirus infection may have been defeated, but Robert Markovič's medical sufferings didn't end when he was released from the hospital. He has to be examined as often as three times a week, especially for lung x-rays, examinations of his heart and blood vessels, giving blood samples and going to neurology. The treatment of a pressure ulcer... is causing him big difficulties. His left palm and fingers are also partially paralyzed because of the infection."
According to Samko, Markovič has not just lost his job, but has also had to give up his leased vehicle because he was unable to afford the payments. Today when he needs to get to the doctor he has to arrange for a ride.
"After learning about Robert Markovič's fate and his serious problems, I've decided to aid him in this format and bring hope to his entire family so they'll be able to live well again. For that reason, I'm asking you all for your assistance so that together, we can make one small dream come true for him. Together with you all, I'd like to raise enough money to get him a car," Samko said.
News server Romea.cz is publishing Robert Markovič's poem here in full translation:
Awake, I slowly open my heavy eyelids with effort.
What I see isn't natural - later I learn it was prayed for.
I still don't know what happened. My mind and body have been asleep.
Death had me in its power for long days and long nights.
I see figures all in white. Is this a work of God,
testing my faith, or am I in outer space?
All soon becomes absolutely clear
when a man in white comes over to me.
"Greetings, Robert," - he asks me a question,
but I can't make a sound.
"How are you feeling?" he asks. I answer as best I can.
I don't have to know sign language to give him a thumb's up.
"I'm really glad, you weren't doing well."
Suddenly I have a dull memory
of the ambulance, riding to the hospital.
My lungs were still working then.
By now I know the man in white is no astronaut.
He's a doctor in the Resuscitation Department.
He got me out of my critical state,
as one of those who saved my life.
He's dressed that way because of my disease,
which the oldest prophets knew nothing about.
It came unexpectedly and gripped the whole land,
I never dreamed I would catch it.
Then a better day arrived, and
gradually I took the tubes and hoses from my body.
Finally I could speak, which brings me joy.
Step by step I learn to walk,
two white angels have to lead me.
My dream is not to show the world what I can do,
just to get to the toilet on my own.
My first meal is nothing to write home about.
The food grows cold before I can finish.
I'm spilling, losing almost entire spoonfuls,
did a stroke take the strength and feeling from my hand?
Fortunately that's not what it was, just
the unconsciousness has weakened me a bit.
More news awaits me:
I'll be going home without some muscles.
On my left hand, the palm and fingers are paralyzed,
and what was laid low has to be cut off.
Little scars remain on my lungs,
but my wife lights candles in church.
We thank God for my life, and my white angels,
whom I will never forget.
Let the whole world know: I owe them my life.
That's the story this poem is telling.
I know everybody who works here now and worked here then,
risked their own lives, for me and for others.
Back then all I could do was nod and point.
Now I have the opportunity to thank them.
This is my "THANK YOU" for saving my life,
my words are from the heart.
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