Wherein I Visit the Holistic Doctor
Let me preface this post with a few facts: I have no less than 6 books on witchcraft sitting on my bedside table right now, I collect crystals, I believe yoga can change people's lives, I was vegetarian for three years - just for my health - and for a while there I thought about becoming a midwife and got real involved in the natural birth movement (lots of thoughts there... not for this post.) With all that out of the way, let me just say that my visit to a holistic doctor was not only overwhelming but infuriating and nothing like what I expected.
This is not to say that all holistic medicine is quackery, far from it, I was so disappointed because the "care" I received was different than what I hoped to receive from a holistic doctor: a personalized and intuitive treatment plan. On the contrary, I had the kitchen sink thrown at me and every treatment was through the particular bias of the doctor I saw. The bias in this case being mercury fillings in teeth being the root of all ailments. All doctors will have bias, they're human, but they shouldn't take over an appointment. I felt profoundly unheard and unseen, as if I was just another statistic he could add to his research to prove his unprovable hypothesis. I was asked the same questions repeatedly ("Do you have X?") and by the sixth time he repeated the question I realized he wasn't forgetting the answers, he was trying to change my answers ("Well thats strange because if you had X as a child then you should have X...")
I don't think this will be my last visit to a holistic doctor in my life, but I will surely do more homework next time. I left with a staggering bill of $700, which I had talked down from $2,000, a bag full of supplements, and a very uneasy feeling in my bones. Some of these supplements might help me, many of them I found through just googling the best supplements for M.E.. I was also offered lidocaine shots in my back to treat the pain in my neck and shoulders. While this sounded appealing compared to the prospect of getting all my fillings ripped out and replaced, it's not something I feel comfortable doing. With plans to work with an osteopath and physical therapist, I find it more productive to work out ways to prevent my pain - not mask it with lidocaine. However, if this works for you - go for it! I may be running back for that very injection in 6 months time. For now, however, my gut tells me to take the slower path and to tread carefully.
Image: A Viennese woman depicted during the latter stages of cholera (1831). Featured in The Sick Rose: Disease and the Art of Medical Illustration, Thames and London Ltd. (2014). Courtesy of the Wellcome Library, London.