“In the hospital, he revealed his plans to the doctors, they thought he was crazy” – Kaczyński vs. Illness

“My name is Bogusław Kaczyński. The day I had a stroke was the worst day of my life. I didn’t expect anything like this because I was in good health, had regular medical check-ups and got great results. I understood that human life is fragile. And its end. I was thinking about life Not death.”

This is how Bogoslav began the story of his case in a book by Szymon Hołownia People in suitcases.

He was still in Stockholm the day before. The next concert was to be held by Małgorzata Walewska in Olsztyn. That is why he traveled to Warsaw. He wanted to go back to Stockholm for the weekend.

My friend, radio presenter Yurik Jakubowski, took me to the hospital on Sobieskigo Street, who had been collaborating with Pogo on Polish radio and at the festival in Krynica for many years. Yurik was notified of the ordeal by Lady Iwa Tito-Magordomo and the Bugo House Affairs Brigade. However, Bogoslav did not immediately find himself in the best neurological hospital in the capital. At the signal, the ambulance first took him to the hospital located on Stępińska Street. He was fortunate that at nine in the morning an employee of ORFEO, Kasia Lewandowska, knocked on Bogusław’s apartment in front of the entrance to the office, turning the key when no one was opening it. He was lucky he didn’t lock the door twice. He was sitting in an armchair when I walked in, but he felt like he was loosening his blades, half of his body – from his face to his legs – was numb. He asked her to call an ambulance. He was lucky! Every second is precious in one stroke. He was angry about the illness he had contracted at the wrong time. In Stępińska, in the antechamber, between life and death, he spent the first two weeks after a stroke.

To Sobieski, where there is the best rehabilitation of people after a stroke in Warsaw, and the best in this regard, he was transferred later, when his condition is relatively stable. Not without the painstaking efforts of friends, especially Zbyszek Napierała, because moving from one hospital to another does not mean changing your holiday address.

When Jurek Jakubowski introduced me to the room on Sobieski Street, he first warned me that Boguś was slowly saying that he would not give me his right hand because the effects of paralysis still persisted, and he was generally pessimistic—I saw a man’s smile. “Today is a good day,” he said. “Nina Andrich visited me in the morning with a strawberry cake, and in the afternoon the editor Lesica came.”

Rumor has it that Nina Andrich’s entry made him an excuse: “Bogosia, you’re ignoring me. I only came because you’re sick.” The second part of the rumor says that she brought back the strawberry cake after learning that Bogoslaw cannot eat sweets. Don’t mind rumours…

I haven’t seen Bogusaw for a long time. Our relationship has fizzled out a lot since I became a mother, but with the sweet greeting that emanated from my sick female colleague, the warmth returned. Deprived of strength, Pogo, shocked, remained a nimble man. I didn’t know the fullness of his ordeal yet.

Then he started telling me. He received a signal from Stockholm that something was wrong with his sister – Hanka. I have flown. In the hospital, at first, the doctor told him directly that his sister was dying and that there was no chance for her to get out of it, but she asked the doctor not to tell her brother. Bogoslav mentioned that at some point, while listening to the doctor, he stopped understanding English. It was just that his mind would not understand what the other was talking to him. The brother was taken to his sister. When he saw her, he was horrified, but began to play, telling happy Warsaw stories. She was staring at him. They knew each other as if they were twins. She saw his deception and saw that she could see. He said that today he has a flight to Warsaw, because the long-advertised concert is in Olsztyn tomorrow, but that he will return right after this concert. They said goodbye. The next day he had a stroke under pressure. In the hospital, he said he had to go to the concert. Doctors said he wasn’t going anywhere. Then I realized it was dangerous.

The worst of it was that he was speaking indistinctly, he was just chattering, and he didn’t want to worry his sister with his voice. He promised to fly right after the party…and didn’t call for a week! What did you feel after that? Years later, these thoughts continued to torment him.

In fact, he didn’t call at all, but they had been calling each other every day for years. In the end, Zbigniew Napierała did it and mediate the conversation. He said, once he found it kindly, that Pogo was feeling bad, and that he was in treatment, which temporarily prevented him from speaking.

After another week, the doctors came to change Bogoslav’s medications. He took it. After a while a nurse came and said there was a phone call from Stockholm. The doctors nodded that he could pick up. He heard on the receiver that his sister had passed away this morning. These modified medications were sedatives. Horse doses so the patient can handle it all. My mother died, my father died, and now my sister is dead. I thought it was like a Greek tragedy.

The stroke occurred in March. However, in August, the fortieth, jubilee, Jan Kibura festival. Bogusław was to conduct concerts. Not one but twenty concerts! When he told the doctors about his plans for his celebration at the hospital, they thought he was crazy.

And he kept saying, “Goethe was old when he decided to have plans for a hundred years in the future!” He was one hundred and fifty years old. He decided to wage war on disease. Back from the abyss. One thing to overcome the weakness of the body with the strength of the soul! At first, even sitting, he was unable to stand upright. Six months later, he himself opened the door to his apartment for me. And this is a very delicate activity: first you have to press the key with the lock, and then turn the key in the right direction. In addition, he was walking to the second floor, because there was no elevator in the apartment building. But going to an apartment in particular is different after all than going up on stage! Especially, you can stop and rest.

However, entering the stage is time and rhythm, known in English as timing. While still in a hospital bed, Bogusław mentally worked out how all of this would happen. He worked hard with physical therapists to return the body and the word to their partial form. He had never done any sport other than hiking, and now he does four hours a day, getting close to running up the steps of his blocks. He had an excellent healer, Mr. Grzegorz Ochman, who – fortunately with sympathy and humor – imposed on him many boring and boring exercises that had to be done systematically and regularly. This is the first time he has won a war with a penalty for a deteriorating life.

The festival was organized from the hospital. He still did not use his right hand, and this handicap had not completely receded. Ewa helped him take notes. They called the artists – no one refused. In August 2007, he led the European Jan Kibura Festival in Krynica. The main pumping chamber was bursting at the seams. Half of Poland listened to the broadcast from the opening ceremony on Radio Jedynka. Kaczyński did not ride in a wheelchair, did not walk on the balcony, he entered the theater arm in arm with the beautiful Grażyna Brodzińska. The audience sang it happy birth day! Little stutter. His style wasn’t as fluent as it had always been. But people love it! They have always loved him for their esteem, and because they have never treated them, and after this struggle with death or incomplete life, they loved him even more. For many people who suffer from their ailments, this has become evidence that it is possible to cope, get out of bed, and win the punishment.

***

Bogusław Kaczyński’s biography was published on April 27, 2022 by Muza . Publishing

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