Sinisa Mihajlovic’s nurse revealed what it was like having the Bologna coach as a patient. “During games, you could hear him shout through the whole ward.”
The 50-year-old was diagnosed with leukaemia in July and spent most of the last four months at the Sant’Orsola clinic in Bologna.
He returned to a press conference this week and used it to thank his nurses, naming Carmela Boscarino as his ‘guardian angel.’
“He was a real gentleman,” Boscarino told the Corriere di Bologna newspaper.
“I was working while he was holding that press conference and glanced at the TV when another patient was watching it. His praise really moved me.
“His words also meant a lot to the other patients, because they know what they are going towards. It’s not easy to deal with a bone marrow transplant, but it can mean salvation.
“We nurses try to look after the patients, but also be as honest as possible. It was difficult at first to help him understand the situation, but he did everything we asked.
“He was scared when the time came for his first day release from hospital, frightened in case he’d get a cold. I told him it would be pretty tough for any illness to damage him.”
Mihajlovic continued to work throughout the hospital stay, watching training sessions and matches via videolink, even giving team talks.
“He lost his temper a lot when it came to Bologna. In fact, when the games were on, we knew better than to go anywhere near his room,” added the nurse.
“We could hear him shouting from down the hall, in the other wards. None of the other patients ever complained, though. In fact, when Bologna lost, they’d ask us how Sinisa had taken it.”
Mihajlovic had three courses of chemotherapy, but was released after a bone marrow transplant last month.
“When he learned the donor was American, he started joking and speaking in English, even though he can’t speak a word of it! We all made fun of him and the laughter helped ease the tension.
“We would spend the night talking about all sorts of things when he couldn’t sleep. He told me about his profession, where he comes from. Discussing the war is very emotional for him.
“He seemed really tough when he arrived and was quite intimidating to deal with, but when he relaxed, we got to know the real Sinisa, a humble man who appreciates the little things in life.
“He’s a really good person. Maybe he just acts tough because his profession requires it, but he’s a softie inside.”
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