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According to new reports Fidel Castro may be dying from the same disease that almost killed me in April, 2005 in Fallujah. Called diverticulitis, it occurs when pouches (diverticula) in the large intestine (which in and of themselves are relatively common in adults) become perforated and flood the peritoneal cavity with germs. Prior to any such perforation, areas of colon with such pouches can be cut out and the colon reattached. But if perforated, this technique virtually guarantees continued infection and so standard procedure is to run the colon out the side through a colostomy. (Temporary in my case.) Castro's Spanish doctor assuredly knew this but was probably ordered by El Jefe to skip the colostomy. For his troubles, he ended up with one anyway. Between the disease and the surgery all of this is horribly painful - which is why I'm glad Fidel has it, notwithstanding that it gives us something in common besides smoking cigars and having ugly beards.