Mercedes Gonzalez Amade
HAVANA TIMES — A few months ago, I had to be hospitalized because of several fractures in my left ankle and metatarsus, as well as my chronic condition (spastic paraparesis). I had lost all mobility in my legs, my sense of balance and muscle strength. I also had other conditions that I became aware of after being admitted at the Julito Diaz Hospital. The quality of Cuban healthcare in terms of its professionals and specialists is world-renowned.
I hadn’t been to this hospital for some time, not even for checkups (which was a mistake on my part). Since it’s far from home, I had chosen to go to other hospitals or polyclinics.
When I got to the hospital, I was amazed at the positive changes that the restoration of the facility had brought. In addition to repairing hospital infrastructure, they have set up cutting edge technology that is almost on a par with what one sees in the First World.
People from other countries who have suffered serious lesions are also treated at this hospital. I’ve met a number of them and we have shared ideas, personal tastes and even trying experiences, for we have undergone certain types of therapy together. They have told me that the cost of their rehabilitation here is comparatively cheap, and that they are very happy with the medical attention they are receiving.
In our conversations, they are surprised to learn that I don’t have to pay a cent for my rehabilitation. Their eyes go wide with surprise when they hear that, in my ward, they could come across a medical doctor, an athlete, an economist, a housewife and a retired marine, all with the same rights and entitled to the same care. They are moved to hear that, spending so much time together, we grow on one another and develop lasting friendships. I met one of my sporting companions at this hospital years ago and we have won more than one match together.
We are fortunate to have this place. If I lived in another country, I am positive I would not be able to walk as I do now. I must be admitted two to three times a year to receive expensive treatment, good food and medication. My family is poor, I am unable to work and my son is still in school.
I am able to walk almost as well as I could before I fractured my left ankle. I started taking small, painful steps, but I’ve recovered the mobility I’d lost. I am happy with myself, I know it’s hard but I always push myself to move forward, through effort and will.