Culture

Mexican medicine For Every Illness and problem in life.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y67-ufKRwHwGrowing up, my mom knew more than all my doctors. At least that’s what she’d tell me back then, and still does to this day. She insists that American doctors only push pills they’re paid to prescribe, and that those pills valen pura madre. So she has always used her own style of mexican medicine, much of it passed down to her from her own mom.

When doctors tell her she shouldn’t be messing with medicine, well, let’s just say she isn’t having it.

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Every time I’ve gotten sick with anything from a cold to viral meningitis, my mom has come to the rescue with her Mexican mom remedies that somehow, and seemingly magically, got me back on my feet in no time.

There were, of course, the staples of Mexican medicine cabinets.

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“Ponte Vicks en las patas y en el pecho. Y mas te vale que te pongas los calcetines!” Totally normal, right? Well, my mom also added banana leaves to the Vick’s foot wrap. Why? Because that’s what her mom did, and that’s reason enough.

Even then, she took it a bit further, making me eat a chunk of Vicks she would scoop out with her fingers and shove into my mouth.

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I have no idea where she heard that this works, but my stomach would feel weird for hours after. I’m also pretty sure this could have poisoned me. By the way, Vicks doesn’t taste good. Luckily, there was always caldo on the way to get the flavor out of my mouth.

Lemon also made its way from the kitchen to the medicine cabinet.

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Along with gargling lemon for a sore throat, my mom would make me put it on my arm pits instead of deodorant, rub it on my elbows to get rid of dark patches or use it on my face when I broke out. Lemon fixes everything.

Fear of needles was not allowed in my house. If I acted scared, my mom basically called me a wimp.

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When my anginas were swollen or if I came down with a fever, my mom went to the pharmacy, bought a fresh pack of needles and the serum needed to cure me. When she came home, I knew what time it was.

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And it was going to hurt.

There was no messing around. It was “bajate los pantalones, chamaca” and then…

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It worked though, and fast! I rarely missed a school day.

And it went both ways. If she was sick, I was tasked with injecting her despite having zero medical training. Because I was a teenager.

To say stabbing a needle into my mom’s butt cheek made me nervous is an understatement.

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But I didn’t have a choice. Mami was sick and I had to help, because she always did the same for me. Now as an adult, I’ve got it down. Well, better than when I was 16 at least.

“Tronando los cueritos” is another one of her go-to remedies.

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While it sounds pretty gross, and sort of like a norteño song, tronando los cueritos meant pulling the skin on my back and stomach until it cracked. Yes, cracked. It’s not fun, but that was her cure for empacho, or a uncomfortable blockage in the stomach or intestines. Sexy, right? She’d cap it off with a teaspoon of olive oil and orange juice down the throat, which she said would unstick food stuck to my stomach. Again, sexy, right?

While my mom didn’t use lard in any of her cooking, she would mix it with sugar and slap it on my head if I got a bump.

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It seemed to get the swelling down pretty quick too.

Trust though, she would rub it on while reminding me that’s what happens “por andar de vaga.”

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“A ver si así aprendes.”

Burns happened in our house all the time. It’s unavoidable when most of your time is spent in the kitchen. That’s where mustard came in handy.

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The burn would kill, but the mustard soothed it every time.

My mom truly had a cure for anything, and it didn’t dawn on me until years later that some people might think her remedies were strange. They worked though, and I still use many of these years later.

And no matter how old I get, any time I’m sick, I know exactly what I want.

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And maybe a spoonful of Vick’s.


READ: You Are NEVER Too Old to Try Abuelita’s Tried and True Cold Remedies


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mitúCares: Leslie Gonzalez of Latinx En Medicina Wins Grant To Help Her Mission

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mitúCares: Leslie Gonzalez of Latinx En Medicina Wins Grant To Help Her Mission

Our community does better when we all work together. As such, mitú wants to help people uplifting our communities. We asked all of you to nominate people that were doing the work and mitú is proud to announce Latinx en Medicina as one of two winners of the mitúCares grant program.

Latinx en Medicina is more than a social media page, it is an important place for Latinx healthcare workers to connect.

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Leslie Gonzalez is a fourth-year medical student and has spent her academic career feeling like the only one. She often walked into classrooms and was the only Latina in the room from her masters programs through medical school. This inspired her to create Latinx en Medicina.

Gonzalez, who grew up in the San Fernando Valley, went to California State University, Northridge for her undergraduate degree. She admits that during that time she felt isolated because there just weren’t any mentors who helped her along the way. She loved her experience but walking into a class for her pre-med degree and seeing no one that looked like her took a toll on her.

Getting into medical school was something much harder than she expected and wished she had a community to ask for advice.

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“Applying to medical school is a whole different kind of challenge in its own. I didn’t really have mentors who looked like me,” Gonzalez says. “I don’t recall seeing a doctor who looked like me, that was Latina or Latino or Latinx. At the moment, I didn’t really understand that, until I got into med school. I applied to medical school and I didn’t get in. The first time that I applied, I didn’t get in. It’s very common not to get in the first time that you apply but I didn’t know that because I didn’t have a community to talk about this with.”

Fortunately, a pre-med counselor pointed her in the direction of a master’s program. It quickly became two master’s degrees before she was comfortable enough to apply to medical school for a second time. This time, she was accepted and what awaited her was less representation that looked like her.

Gonzalez said that in her first-year class of 200 to 220 students, 6 percent of the students identified as Latinx. She knew that it was a problem that had to be addressed. People should be able to find mentors in their fields that understand them on a cultural level, someone who could help her navigate her nagging imposter syndrome.

“I went through the motions of med school,” Gonzalez recalls. “Again, I didn’t really have a mentor who looked like me. I didn’t really have somebody to look up to. Again, I felt like I had to do the most just to prove my worth in med school because of that imposter syndrome. I didn’t know it at the moment but that was exactly what I was experiencing, the imposter syndrome.”

Gonzalez created Latinx en Medicina to create a place for people to finally connect and network.

Latinx en Medicina is all about helping Latinx healthcare professionals connect with each other like never before. Gonzalez wanted a place for any and all people who work in healthcare to have a place to network and create an online community. She remembers receiving so many messages from young Latinx people in school and starting their healthcare careers reaching out to her for advice. After a while, it got to be too much to handle on her own so she wanted to start connecting people to one another.

“Essentially, I was acting as the older sister in pointing them in the right direction. But, I am one person,” Gonzalez says. “I can only handle so many messages in my DMs. On top of that, I’m still in school, I still have that schedule. The thing that I came up with … [was to] build a community that was separate from my personal social media platform [to] build its own community.”

Another important function of Latinx en Medicina is to connect healthcare providers with patients who are Latinx. Gonzalez watched how much being able to connect with patients in their language meant to them.

Gonzalez remembers being able to talk to one young patient in Spanish and the impact it had on her then. She visited a young Spanish-speaking patient and asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. The patient said she wanted to be a doctor so Gonzalez let her wear her stethoscope and reaffirmed that she can be a doctor if she wanted to.

Moments like that, according to Gonzalez, are some of the most touching and rewarding parts of the job. Moving forward, that young girl will remember the time the doctora encouraged her to do the same.

Congratulations, Leslie! Thank you for creating a place in the medical world for our community.

READ: This Beauty Pageant Queen Is Trading Her Crown For Her Doctor Scrubs To Help Tackle Coronavirus Pandemic

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Community Rallies Around Latina Leader Who Needed A Double Lung Transplant Because Of Covid

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Community Rallies Around Latina Leader Who Needed A Double Lung Transplant Because Of Covid

There is still so much that we do not know about Covid-19. One of the biggest mysteries is the long term effect of the virus after people recover. One of the most common things caused by Covid is the need for lung transplants. A Latina leader in Milwaukee experienced just that.

Carmen Lerma is a beloved member of the Latino community of Milwaukee.

Lerma was diagnosed with Covid-19 in July. At the time, cases were growing across the country and we knew even less about the virus than we know now. Lerma’s Covid diagnosis led to the beloved community member needing a double lung transplant because of the viciousness of this virus.

“She is very kind. She is very loved,” fellow volunteer and friend Carmen Hernandez said of Lerma to NBC News. “I feel so bad for her situation right now. She can’t even breathe. It’s really hard for me to see her going through this when she’s such an active person.”

Months after her diagnosis, Lerma has a new pair of lungs.

Credit: Carmen Lerma / Facebook

The Covid-19 pandemic is entering a new and terrifying chapter as cases are growing around the world. Countries in Europe are implementing new restrictions to control the spread of Covid and certain states are follow suit to protect residents. Lerma is hoping that her story can help to convince people of the severity of the virus.

Lerma’s story highlights the seriousness of Covid-19 complications after surviving a diagnosis.

Lung transplants for Covid-19 patients are becoming more and more common as more people are infected with the virus. Currently, more than 8 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with Covid. More than 220,000 people have died and cases, which never significantly decreased, are on the rise again in most states.

Lerma is using her story to get people to care about Covid-19.

Credit: Carmen Lerma / Facebook

There has been a lot of misinformation spread about Covid that has contributed to the spikes. President Donald Trump used his own diagnosis to tell people not to worry about the virus and to get out there and live life, something health experts around the world rebuked. Even Harvard University released a study debunking the claim that certain blood types are more resistant or prone to Covid-19.

In one of the most American traditions, friends set up a GoFundMe to help cover the costs of Lerma’s medical care.

The GoFundMe page has raised more than $30,000 of the $100,000 they are hoping to raise to pay for Lerma’s medical costs. She spent months in hospitals fighting the virus that is currently devastating Wisconsin as it spreads unimpeded. Wisconsin is facing one of the worst outbreaks in the U.S. right now after a conservative judge declared Gov. Tony Evers’ restrictions to slow the spread. The state’s Republican Party is suing to reverse the mask mandate, the single strongest tool we have to battle the virus and save lives.

READ: Joe Biden Walks Away With Final Presidential Debate On Healthcare, Covid, And Many Issues

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