Thursday, October 30, 2008

Me, sick?… You’re nuts!

Photos: Claudio Fuentes Madan

Yesterday at six in the evening one of my best friends called, asking me to go to CIMEQ where her father (retired security services) was dying. She’s been my friend since I was born and I love her father. Here in Cuba the relationships among family members have become really tangled (my father was also in the security services). The first thing I thought was, “She’s crazy, they’re not going to let me in at Cimeq, not even for a dead man,” but it wasn’t like that, I went in through the service door and nobody asked me anything, despite spending 20 minutes wandering around with a face looking like, “where am I… where’s the elevator for god’ssssss” and ending up getting in a freight elevator with terror on my face. I’d been there when I was a girl, my father took me when I was sick, and I remember some things.
Nothing has changed in almost twenty years, literally. Of course it doesn’t compare to Calixto García or to Fajardo, which look like they’ve been bombed (in spite of some repairs that for some strange reason are not very obvious). I have spent a lot of time in my life in hospitals, for five years I was hospitalizing my grandmother in Fajardo every six months, and I took care of my first boyfriend in the Calixto hospital for almost a year… and nobody can tell me that at least health care in Cuba is grrrrrr… at least what? At least we have good antibodies and people save themselves, at times… really it’s a miracle (I’ve seen, from a pneumothorax hose to a femur put in backwards during a one-hour blackout in intensive care during a cyclone at Calixto Garcia--in 2002 or 2003, I don’t remember--because there was no staff).
In addition to the general apathy of the doctors and nurses and the daily mistreatment (they also live on their salaries), the bad conditions and the filth are the status quo. But my friend was depressed and told me: one week to have a test, another week to have it looked at by a specialist, more than a month waiting for a broken machine, sometimes the wrong medicine comes. And I wonder: what about the broken ceilings, the clocks that don’t work, each one showing a different time… Don’t they think here is where everything should be the best? If it’s like this here, what’s left for us?

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