We were discussing utilization management when I started feeling wonky. I was growing a fever and an acute need for a bed. Or, ideally, a place to send my body into time-out until it was better behaved. I don't think the topic made me sick, although ironic since UM (we love acronyms) is how healthcare folks decide if symptoms, diagnoses and treatments really jive. I was still in the symptom phase, and they were getting worse.
This has been my second Wonk in a month, which worried me, so after Lesa's Herculean nursing and 36-hours staring at HGTV in the hotel, I drove back across North Carolina and straight to Sam Williams, homeopath and functional medicine wizard. He hooked me up to his frequency machine (which, I swear, sounds like Vegas slots), ran through a battery of tests and permutations, and smiled kindly at the end when he said, "Is there something you know you should be doing with your life, but still hesitating? Because your body suggests it's time to get on with it."
Damn. The flu woulda been easier.
Here's what I love (or hate - lol) about "alternative" medicine. Things aren't parceled up like in Western medicine. While I worried mono, Sam found existential. He checked for parasites, bacteria and viruses (even Epstein-Barr), but found my 12th chakra gone awry instead. (Hell, I didn't even know there was a 12th chakra ...)
Fortunately, "alternative" medicine can also treat the existential, or at least ease my angst enough so I can get on with it, as Sam suggests. Nobody kicks bacterial infections like our family docs, and Western meds and surgery have saved many a loved one's life. But alternative medicine can treat some things that Western medicine can't. Heal them, in fact, not just calm the symptoms and pain.
I know that's a leap. But conventional and alternative are really really different. Different enough they require radically different questions, assumptions and mind-sets. Even conversation is tough. It's akin to translation -- Sanskrit and Swahili are both languages, but it's sure hard to talk when the characters remain foreign. Oversimplification: Western sees mechanistic precision, exquisite attention to each detailed part; bacteria invade and must be eradicated for normal functioning to resume. Alternative sees wholeness, a tapestry of unfathomable interconnections; a sentry got distracted, caused by one of a zillion possible reasons (a passing fantasy, partied too late last night, been pissed off at the boss for 16 years ...) allowing the virus to sneak through that gaping hole in the wall. So let's find the unique thing to close the hole, get rid of the virus and help the sentry heal what ails him (endless possible treatments for endless possible scenarios).
A week into Sam's treatment last fall, Maddy's acute mono ceased; within a month she said she felt better than she had in a year; within 3 months she felt better than she ever remembered. Bonnie Walker's acupuncture once stopped a full-blown migraine instantly; a few more treatments and they never returned. My chronically high cortisol and that intense chest-clench I've been ignoring for months? My weird, sudden muscle spasms and aches and allergies? John's lingering symptoms from 40-year old knock-outs to the head? All been healed by "alternatives." (I have a fabulous list of folks -- I'm happy to share.)
So Friday afternoon Sam gave me half a dozen little containers of homeopathics to take 3 times a day. A few treat predictable things: flu, fever, stomachache. But the flower essences are my favorites: filaree to regain a cosmic perspective on mundane worries; golden yarrow to find comfort and protection in an expanded, open life; and mimulus to help my soul find the strength and purpose of my higher self.
I spent Saturday in bed, Sunday finished some chores, today I'm physically back to normal. Now it's on to "getting on with it," whatever "it" might be. I keep tracing back to Wednesday's utilization management discussion, those links between symptoms, diagnoses and treatment. We need to broaden them somehow, expand them, create something that bellows, "Ya know - we need all the types of medicines we can get!" I suspect there's an "it" in there.