Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What to Celebrate? / Rebeca Monzo

What to Celebrate? / Rebeca Monzo
Rebeca Monzo, Translator: Meg Anderson

Today, December 3rd, we celebrate the Day of the Doctor in my world.

I have a doctor friend, with twenty-five years of experience,
specializing in psychiatry, with good results, according to the
acknowledgement of her patients, which is what really counts, who this
year will be in her house baking cakes to be able to survive, while in
her ancient place of employment, a polyclinic in Central Havana, they
will hand out flowers and make speeches, with out taking into account
that of the five psychiatrists who work there, only one of whom kept
their job, while the other four, including my friend, were let go.

My friend is still young, not yet fifty years old, and has vast
experience in her field, is divorced and has two children to take care
of who are still studying. It is inconceivable that a doctor's knowledge
and experience would be wasted in this way. I understand that if this
polyclinic had too many psychiatrists, something I doubt as this is an
overpopulated city in which people do not enjoy the best living
conditions, they should have had the others sent to other health centers
where they could have used them. The sick who come in search of medical
help almost always have to be attended to by inexperienced foreign
students, who in some case cannot communicate very well with them,
because they do not speak our language correctly. In general, this is
not well received by those who come seeking medical attention, when our
government shows off by sending so many doctors on foreign missions.

Is it that, since people here the do not have life insurance (it doesn't
exist), they come to practice on us as if we were guinea pigs? What's
certain is that already this is causing discomfort among people; we like
to be well served and to be in the presence of an experienced doctor,
from whom the students next to them can gain experience, rather than
practice on the sick.

Nevertheless, my congratulations to all these hardworking Cuban doctors
who take the bus (guagua in "good Cuban") or bicycle to their hospital
or polyclinic, who have shifts too often, who work with many difficult
materials and who even so are kind and professional with the patients
(as they should be), receiving a lower salary than an employee at Aurora
(a business that sweeps the streets) or a fumigator. To all of them, my
deepest respect.

Translated by: Meg Anderson

December 3 2011


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