Taking advantage of a mid-February cultural tour to Havana, Cuba, Boston-based registered dietitian/nutritionist and hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) advocate Miriam Erick embarked on a mission to deliver copies of her 1995 book, Coma does galletas y me llama man᷉ana en la manana: una guia real para sobrevivir los malestares del embarazo (Take Two Crackers and Call Me in the Morning! A real-life guide for surviving morning sickness), translated into Spanish by a Cuban American.
The trip was organized in accordance with guidelines from the US State Department, so Erick planned to engage the freelance services of a courier to deliver her books and Spanish language resources from the HER Foundation. Accompanying the parcels was a letter translated into Spanish to the Directors of Nursing at the three major medical centers in Havana about the severe consequences of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy and/or hyperemesis gravidarum on pregnancy nutritional status.
Word soon spread through the bus that Erick was a quasi-retired, former Brigham and Women’s antenatal nutritionist and medical writer on the topic of morning sickness with a recently updated book on the subject. When hotel management at Hotel Nacional de Cuba was unable to assist in the courier search, Erick sought assistance from the tour guide, Jose Luis Sande. Sande, a former Cuban professional baseball player, activated his contacts after reviewing the pregnancy sickness materials, appreciating the fact he was also the father of a adolescent daughter who might one day want to start a family!
The following day, Sande instructed Erick to remain on the bus and asked the driver, Richardo, to drive a few blocks to the Ministry of Health in central Havana. After negotiating 6 or 7 various offices, Sande located a high level administrator, who after reviewing the educational materials, promised to deliver them to the various facilities which care for pregnant women. The official was interested in establishing a connection to US health resources. Shortly after arriving home, Erick received a letter of appreciation from the Cuban Ministry of Health which was shared with Kimber MacGibbon, Co-founder and Executive Director of the HER Foundation.