By Aurelio Pedroso (Progreso Semanal)
HAVANA TIMES – Ramon “Mongo” Garcia is a 70-year-old man whose fragile body wouldn’t be able to house another ailment. From neurological problems that he refers to as “problems up in the roof”, to the tip of his big toe, where what we calls “termites” nibble, day after day.
“I’m killing myself piece by piece,” he confesses with this humor we Cubans take right up until half a meter away from our graves.
If you suffer from more than one ailment that requires a special diet, forget it. This is because of pure bureaucracy or there just isn’t enough for everyone. If you have two ailments like type 2 diabetes and chronic pancreatitis you are in fix.
This isn’t a recent predicament either, given the current situation. It’s been going on for a long time before the crisis got worse and the damn virus appeared. Ever since 2008 if you want a ballpark date.
One thing that’s been repeated to death: we live surrounded by sea and eating fresh fish is a luxury or pipedream. Experts recommend fish because trying to eat white cheese is a mere illusion, as is wholewheat bread or a ration of skimmed milk that does not last the month.
Luckily, he hasn’t had too many problems with medicines, except for those “patches” to control blood sugar or if a friend or relative abroad sends him pancreatin. Without it, then we have papain in papaya, but at what a price when this fruit can grow here amidst a pile of rubble.
“Let me tell you something. I’m ready to keep fighting, but I really doubt my pancreas will because it’s down there, like in a refuge and maybe it doesn’t know what real life is like out here. Hopefully it doesn’t ever find out. It would be like a passport up and out. Either from a guardian angel’s hand, or down below, to the point of one of Satan’s representatives’ trident,” he said.
Mongo Garcia watches Dr. Duran’s daily Covid-19 briefing. He’s no longer afraid of the deadly coincidence between every death and diabetes mellitus. His life philosophy that he got from old military endeavors, blurts itself out:
“I’m living on the brink of war. Without back up coming from the rear.”
Critical times for everyone. Which is multiplied twice or thrice in the case of diabetics.