An Accident and Diabetes (Part 4)

Osmel Almaguer

 Havana Street.  Photo: Caridad
Havana Street. Photo: Caridad

In the subsequent consultation, guided by the results of the analysis, Dr. Conrado discarded the possibility that I was diabetic.  Instead, he recommended that I see a psychologist or neurologist.

Christ!  So in addition to not investigating my ailment like he should have, he branded me as nuts. What a waste of time!

Days later my friend Dr. Raquel insinuated to me that Conrado was one of those doctors that graduate “by the skin of their teeth” and that are very self-serving, because they spend their time negotiating gifts from patients instead of giving them medical treatment – as they should.

I’ve heard that it’s now common for doctors to deny that some people suffer from certain illnesses because – if diagnosed as such – these patients would be eligible for extra food allowances allotted by the State.

Likewise, I’ve also witnessed doctors grant food allowances in exchange for certain sums of money.

I don’t know if this is the case with Conrado, but I suspect it is.  On top of all this, one day I saw him leaving the clinic looking like he was coming from the supermarket, with at least three bags full of “gifts” from patients.

When he saw me in his office, he asked where I worked – like he does everyone else.  I replied that I worked at the Cuban Book Institute, which is synonymous with having no money or anything else I could “give” him.  He therefore responded that he “didn’t like to read.”  This was precisely why I didn’t obtain what was rightfully mine: descent service, which in practice is no longer being rendered so freely in Cuba.

The worst thing about these types of doctors is that they’re putting the lives of human beings at risk in order to pocket a few pesos, and that no regulation exists or is enforced to prevent this type of criminal behavior.

The day that Conrado saw me, I didn’t know if I would be treated by a scientific doctor or a witch doctor.  In the end, I believe he was neither of the two, because people like him are unable to cure anybody.


Osmel Almaguer:Until recently I would to identify myself as a poet, a cultural promoter and a university student. Now that my notions on poetry have changed slightly, that I got a new job, and that I have finished my studies, I’m forced to ask myself: Am I a different person? In our introductions, we usually mention our social status instead of looking within ourselves for those characteristics that define us as unique and special. The fact that I’m scared of spiders, that I’ve never learned to dance, that I get upset over the simplest things, that culminating moments excite me, that I’m a perfectionist, composed but impulsive, childish but antiquated: these are clues that lead to who I truly am.

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