A Guide to Cuban Diseases

You won't find these in any American Medical Association journal

By Beto de la Mora
Published on LatinoLA: July 3, 2002

A Guide to Cuban Diseases

Mysterious body temperature, not high enough to be considered fever, but serious enough to miss school and work. Illness is unknown by the American Medical Association and understood only by doctors of Cuban origin.

Attack of obscure origin that can strike at any time. It could be serious enough to require overnight hospitalization, yet it is undetected by medical technology.
Victims tend to be males and females over the age of 50 years.

Attack with similar symptoms as the Patatu's but not as serious and with shorter duration. Can be alleviated by lying on a bed with a wash cloth soaked in alcohol on the forehead.

Sereno (No translation):
Occurs when someone steps outdoors suddenly at night and is sprinkled by a mysterious substance. There are no physical symptoms and can only be detected by the Cuban elderly. The effect of having this disease is unknown: Children must not be taken out at night without proper head gear or risk of contamination is certain, specially during a full moon night.

Empacho (No translation either):
Digestive disorder which occurs after the consumption of a large Cuban meal, (i.e. Nochebuena). The only known cure for this disease is "Sal de Fruta ENO", NOTE: Alka-Seltzer, though basically similiar in carbonation, is completely ineffective.

Soft cranial spot found on new born babies of Cuban origin. Much more sensitive than that of Americans. The slightest touch to that area can lead to irreparable brain damage and/or seizures.

Enfriamiento, ? Resfriado:
Of body temperature and slowed metabolism caused by emotional episodes.

Elevated cranial protrusion usually caused by the fall after a Sirimba or Patatu.

Mu?eca Abierta: (Open Doll) - Dislocation of wrist.
Unknown cause, other than most documented cases occurs after an unsuccessful attempt to open a jar of "aceitunas".

Bazo (Spleen or Cup):
Organ located in the abdominal cavity of Hispanics, especially Cubans. Equivalent to the spleen in Americans, but much more complex.

Aire: (Air):
Common malady that results when someone steps outdoors suddenly, particularly at night, without proper attire. Characterized by sharp, intermittent pain. Can mimic a heart attack, sirimba, or a Patatu. Can affect any part of the body.

Locura Ovarial: (Ovarian Induced Dementia):
A strange phenomena that occurs when a woman proceeds to wash her hair while menstruating. Can also strike if a woman takes a shower in the 40 days immediately following childbirth. Symptoms include erratic behavior. First studied at Cuba's "Mazorra Clinic for the Insane". Every Cuban family knows at least one case.

Syndrome affecting all Cuban senior citizens to different degrees. Can be as mild as forgetfulness and as severe as all around bitchiness and irritating behavior. Treatment: Permanent stay at nearest nursing home.

Punzada del Guajiro, ? en la sien (Brain Freeze):
Sharp pain of short duration in the temporal region of the head occurring after a particularly cold beverage (un granizado). First reported by "guajiros" (rural Cuban farmers) upon first experiencing refrigerated liquids. Although bothersome, it doesn't have long-term effects.

Cuerpo Cortado: (Cut Body):
Frequent and mild condition of unknown ethnology. Symptoms include, but are not limited to: Fatigue, lack of energy, and chronic whining.

Mo?o Virado: (Twisted Bonnet):
Psychological imbalance of short duration that causes strange mood swings, violent irritating behavior as well as general unpleasantness. Extremely common. Can strike anyone regardless of age or sex.

Dolor en la Rabadilla:
Pain at skeletal region located at the end of a Cuban's spinal cord. Has absolutely no equivalent in the Gringo's anatomy.

Dolor en el Huesito de la Alegr?a: (Bone of Happiness):
Same as above.

De Repente:
Leading cause of death of all Cubans.

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