The Odyssey of Medical Diagnosis

Yenisel Rodriguez Perez

Fructuoso Rodriguez Hospital in Havana. photo:

HAVANA TIMES, Dec 8 – I prepared myself psychologically to deal with the paradoxes of Western medicine. I was scheduled to go to a rheumatology exam.

I reviewed and considered all the potential complications that would be implied by me introducing myself into the dynamics of the Cuban public health care system.

I had a lot of things in mind, but in the end my prediction was off. However, the error turned out to be lucky for me, motivating me to change the outlook that had imprisoned me as a passive patient and to value second opinions.

The bloodiest battle ensued in the terrain of medical diagnosis.

Eventually I came to understand that the three experts who assessed my case were unable to come to an agreement on the fundamental aspects of my illness. The few and circumstantial points on which they coincided were tied together by the mystique of X-rays.

There were the two white spots on the x-ray similar to a peak in the Himalayas. The doctors identified it as an incipient grade I bilateral sacroiliitis. But beyond this co-occurrence of opinion would come the chaos surrounding the medical treatment.

I realized that none of them were able to find out more than what I knew about the nature of the disease that affected me as an individual case. They knew the deep secrets of the etiologies sacrosciatics and rheumatism, but I would become — by force of will — the alchemist of the mysteries that imprisoned my body.

For this I designed a simple strategy that is still under construction, it emerges to the degree that I can begin to intuit solutions to circumstances and contradictions of the system, those of others and of myself.

On my own I saw three doctors who specialized in sacroiliitis, but from different disciplines within Western medicine: a rheumatologist, an orthopedist and a physiatrist.

The gaps and contradictions that existed between their observations were filled with my own observations, which also referenced specialized literature as well as the signals emitted by my body as pain or well-being.

I currently have the support of other non-medical specialists, but they’re able to fill many gaps in the knowledge and ideas of official Western medicine. They are friends, lovers and physicians committed to other ways of playing the role of healers and curers.

Every morning I conduct my own medical treatment. It’s a kind of potpourri of prophylactics and curatives seasoned with mysticism, scientific laws and a lot of self-control.