Thursday, May 21, 2009

O Great Medicine Woman!

Had I been born in an ancient place or time, when you didn't have to go through all these bothersome years of medical school and voluminous dry tomes, I would have been a great doctor. Through my own research I could have analyzed you way before Freud (and I would have known the true things you envied and those you did NOT), developed a method of treatment for PMS by gender - you know, Pre-Menstrual Syndrome or Petulant Male Sickness - let's face it, crabbiness is not limited to only those possessing uteri - and then whipped you up a dandy herb concoction as treatment.

Nowadays, you are required to know where the amygdala is as well as what a pre-frontal cortex does. If you actually want to buy a stethoscope you have to define occipital lobe and limbic system. It is no longer good enough to point to someone's cranium and say, "That's where yur BRAIN is, Jethro. If you don't believe me, well, let's just crack that thing open 'n have us a look see!"

Personally, I believe I would have fit right in with the likes of these guys:

I love color and big bangly jewelry so I could see myself workin' the whole outfit thing. But then my obligation as a purveyor of health would have kicked in and I'd be advising that guy on the right to lose the cigarette. At that point, of course, they would have held out their grateful arms for a big group hug, snapped my neck, and boiled me in the over sized communal stew pot.

However, I was born in this place and time and so must practice medicine on my family and friends in my own version of a village healer. This works out even better because they are not nearly as free to uh, liquidate me, as it were, with impunity.

Learning is my thing and I'm happy to share and help whether I am needed or not.

I enjoy knowing what makes people tick; why we do what we do; how what we eat affects our whole sense of well being; and how our second brain, the digestive system (which actually has nearly as much serotonin as our brains) impacts our mood through its complex systems. This is the type of late night reading I enjoy:

I even like to know what made Jane Austen do what she did, as in, entertain me MIGHTILY. (Okay. I don't think this has anything to do with the subject. And I may or may not have a shrine erected in my home to honor her.)

One thing every good healer knows is she practices medicine on herself first. If she does not die or have body parts fall off, then she is free to help others. I am the one people call for advice and come to for over-the-counter medicine when we're at functions together. I always carry Advil and Sudafed for Grizzly's sinus headaches, Excedrin for migraine, and Tylenol for those who can't take anything that might upset their stomach. I get a good ribbing about this occasionally but everyone keeps coming for relief. I have even been known to leave in the middle of church to hunt down Benadryl for a friend having an allergic reaction. I liken it to getting the donkey out of the ditch on the Sabbath. Some things simply must be done.

But I have made mistakes.

There was the time I put ear drops in my son's eyes. The bottles looked nearly identical. When he told me they felt "burny" I told him he was overreacting. But when he looks at you intently now and says, "I hear you," believe him.

Or the time I told him to take a big sniff of Zi-cam when he squirted it (because Grizzly said that's what the direction were). Note to all medicine women: Never trust anyone not highly skilled in the healing arts, i.e., men, because they never read the directions to anything. This was the exact opposite of what was prescribed on the package and had the resultant "MAJOR burny" effect. Lesson learned the wrong way: on someone else. That's bad medicine.

But probably my biggest error occurred on myself - the way it should be. It is the reason I am suspect to any and all when they get injured and I advise ice. I'm really not good with ice. It's probably because I'm a throw back to before they had ice, unless you lived in the glacial regions. Personally, I like the stuff and think it's good for just about anything, except migraine - which requires 3000 degree hot packs to the pre-frontal cortex.

My problem seems to arise in the theory that if a little is good, cryogenics is better. I have burned my back numerous times with ice packs applied to bare skin for well over an hour. But oh, what blissful, pain-free hours they were. Until later.

And then there was the time I froze my finger. Solid.

I had been washing our SUV and needed the ladder to get to the top. When I popped it up, I trapped my baby finger in the latch that forces the ladder open and it was caught there. I frantically tried to pound up on the mechanism to free my finger while simultaneously wailing and jumping up and down. The kids ran around frenzied not knowing what to do. I managed to extricate my digit as I called for ice and dashed into the house. My daughter moved rapidly to comply but came back with ice-cubes.

"No, no, honey. Mommy needs the soft ice pack!" I advised through gritted teeth, flinging meat pies and orange juice from the freezer in my desperate pursuit. I spotted my frozen deliverer and hurriedly wrapped it around my finger. The pain was still intense so, with the instinct that makes you stand on a badly stubbed toe and stop the throb, I put a couch pillow over the ice pack and then laid down on top of the whole thing. Slowly, the pain began to wane and I started breathing. Ahhhhhhh. Ice.

I savored my semi-pain free interval until I felt a shift of some sort and decided to investigate. I extricated my finger from its packaging and discovered it was frozen solid. Just like a T-Bone from the deep freeze. I was awed. I had no idea such a thing could occur. Every good healer should know these deep secrets hidden in the magic of ice. I called the kids.

"Look!" I said with wonder. "My finger is frozen! Feel it! Tap on it! Isn't that amazing? It's just like meat!" We all enjoyed the fascination of the moment. Then I had a second thought. "Uh, I think I have to thaw this out right away," I announced. I was pretty sure this qualified as frostbite. My first-aid training came back to me and I figured cool water was better than hot. I shoved my hand under the bathroom faucet and began the process. I found myself longing for the pain of the ladder.

I discovered that thawing out frozen body parts is painful to an exquisite degree. And I've given birth. I fell to my knees with my arm still draped over the sink and there I supplicated, minus the humility part. I wailed and moaned and carried on to epic degrees. When I finally dared to analyze my former barbecue candidate, it had thawed but had no feeling on the outside. I wondered, would it fall off? I eventually learned the answer was no. It simply turned hard as the layers of skin died. A few weeks later my finger lost its exoskeleton and revealed new and baby pink skin, with nerves intact and no other damage. I was happy and still fascinated by the whole process.

Unfortunately, the incident lost me my icing privileges and I couldn't practice them in any other state, either. Now, when I head for the ice-packs to halt bruising or swelling, everyone runs from me. Okay! I was wrong about this one thing. I've learned. They should trust me even MORE because I am now fully aware of the pitfalls!

And I learned them on myself. That is loaded with credibility. What doctor do YOU know who's willing to subject himself to his own medicine? Sounds like a true healer to me.

Copyright 2009 - All Rights Reserved


  1. You are too funny! The bit about the Zicam totally cracked me up, because Frank just did this when he was sick a few weeks ago. I would not have been surprised if he'd blown his head clean off with the explosion of sneezes that occurred immediately thereafter. It was amazing, and I don't believe he'll ever take anything ever again without reading the instructions first. HAHA!

  2. Absolutely brilliant, Robynn!!! You are such an amazing writer! This is tightly written, concise, descriptive, and beautifully thematic! You have done a bang up job on this one!!!LOL...(pardon the pun)...Seriously, I am really impressed with the genius of this post! And so proud to call you friend! ~Janine XO

    P.S. I'll be back tomorrow as I've got something for you...Janine XO

  3. You and I would have made great doctors. (I think we were separated at birth) We just need administrative assistants to administer our treatments, while we stand back and wear the big bangly jewelry.

  4. Girl, have I told you lately that I LOVE you? Well, I do. You make me smile, you make me spit various stuffs on my computer monitor, you make me ponder and think deep thoughts... and you make me wonder about your sanity.
    Those are all the makings of a friend, in my book. ;-)

    Now get that corn outta my face!

    my word veri. is:
    You gmake me fall to my gnise, in laughter!

  5. O Wise and Knowing Great Medicine Woman, laughter is the best medicine for all my ills; thank you so much. You are so special, I'm still laughing about the frozen digit ... actually 'been there, done that'. Perhaps that's why even though I'm a registered nurse, my family doesn't trust me to put on a band-aid! Well, that's probably an exaggeration, but you get what I mean. They ask me what they should do about stuff and such and ignore me when I give my learned advice. Perhaps, that's because my expertise was in Hospice ... anyway, I love your story telling and especially your sense of humor. Long Live the Medicine Woman!!!

  6. Oh, sweetness... I love you and everything, but I'm staying as far way from you and your healing as humanly possible :)

  7. No competition for the ice here,.. I hate it. Don't even like feeling chilly! I do run a burn under cold water, but that's about it. My best story is when I had some muscle aches,... rubbed on bengay. Later, headed for bed and went to brush my teeth,.. yep,.. with bengay! Good grief I was spitting for an hour!

  8. I am shaking my head in disbelief that you froze your own finger. Huh?

  9. Robynn, you just crack me up! I never know where you are taking me or when you are going to dodge and weave. What I do know is you make me feel so joyful! It feels like your writing comes from a place of joy and its contagious! I've had my share of frostbite and frozen fingers and toes, but I also LIVE IN MINNESOTA, lol, where its expected and hard to prevent at times! You are the best :)

  10. once again...cracking up (snorting) out loud!! loved the reference to your former barbecue candidate. seriously, how do you think of these things?

    i am thinking you are NOT the one to heal my vertigo?? am i right?

  11. Robynn if I ever get to visit you and I injure any little part of me... don't you ever come at me with an ice pack unless I specifically ask for one. I hate cold on my body. Even when I should use cold, don't even go there. If I know it is critical to my survival, I might, just might consent to an ice pack, but it has to be crucial to to my survival. I, too, carry Advil and Tylenol in my car, in my travel bag and there may even be some still in my golf bag even though I haven't played in over a year. I am not a mommy, I just believe in being prepared... but I'm older. Oh, the other thing is 99 percent of the time I have a bandaid available, too.

    Great post.


    WV- poliess - and that is what I may call if anyone threatens me with an ice pack. LOL

  12. That was awesome!!! So funny, I love it!

  13. Those top 3 books sound ABSOLUTELY fascinating. I love stuff on the brain... we've only seen the "tip of the iceberg", so to speak. And I did not know about so much serotonin in the digestive track... VERY interesting. You know chocolate stimulates serotonin. Thus, chocolate can almost always be rationalized.
    Thanks for the smile today!

  14. Hey, chickie... you won the canvas :)

  15. Hey, Lady! You sound like me--reading books, self-analyzing, self-diagnosing, self-medicating. I just haven't frozen any digits yet. LOL

    To answer your question on my recent post--you could soak the rice first before cooking it. Or you could follow the directions on the PCC website where I linked to the original recipe.

  16. This cracked me up! Good on you for experimenting on yourself!

    As one who has lost all feeling in her hands and then had them warm up again (in minus 30 degrees C) I hear you about the pain... Excruciating.

  17. Your post is a hoot. It reminds me of me in some ways as I believe that suffering is for wimps and if there is a solution take it! Why rack up years of headache pain being a brave wee soldier when two Ibuprofen knock it clean away?

    But there are limits. I once knew a couple that had one of those 'diagnose your illness symptoms' medical books. There wasn't a week went by before one of them pulled a sickie at work because they had matched some spurious symptoms to a deadly disease in thier book! Pair of nutters! I had to take thebook off them in the end!

  18. wow, who knew that an ice pack could be so dangerous! I'm glad your finger didn't "fall off." :)

  19. Okay .. as a non licensed doctor I can tell you this:

    ICE is only good immediately after a sprain or pull and should NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER be applied directly to NAKED skin .. ice packs go into clean washclothes and then against the hurt area and then ONLY ONLY ONLY for 15 minutes at a time ..

    AND the best way to head off a migraine is when you 'see' those flashing lights in the corner of your eyes? Take a large cup of BLACK coffee and drink it ... eating/ingesting once a migraine kicks in means you will feel sicker longer ...the black coffee helps expand the blood vessels and gives you time to get into bed in a dark room and ride out the migraine (or time to get to take meds a real doc prescribed)

    Okay .. now go back to doctoring ... the rest of your 'cures' are approved by me .. LOL - word verification is: CADIST

  20. LOL Only you could make that funny! Another excellent post.

  21. You inspire me, Robynn. I've given you the literary, Premios Dardo award at my bloggie event...drop by and pick it up! Many congratulations!~Janine XO

  22. Oh my, that was some good writing!! So funny...I was right along there with you in the freezer, on the couch, hanging over the sink...just not with you washing the car! :)

    You had asked about Regina's dinner rolls on my cooking blog...I think you should give them a try in the kitchen aid. I don't know if the bread maker takes more/less yeast, but it's always worth a shot. Regina's rolls are yummy!

    Speaking of Regina, I'm glad we've met through her! Yay! I'll be sure to keep checkin' back on your blog. It's fun making new friends!

  23. You Are an amazing writer! You make me laugh, and think, and palin enjoy coming here.


  24. You're make me laugh and i love your rock!

  25. Oh my gosh, this was brilliant! Gosh, you sure do know how to put a smile on my face! I love the part about "your brain is here, Jethro" and the bit about your ice privileges being revoked in other states. I laughed at the eye drop mix up; I actually was once prescribed eye drops for my ear infection! Ha! But nothing compares to your grouping with the bangly jewelry guys ... even if they really do have a communal stew pot! HA!

  26. You are hilarious! Remember the hipocratic oath--Do No Harm!

  27. Gosh you never seize to make me laugh.

    I am one that is very suspicious of all medicine and think the side effects outweighs the benefits. I think it has to do with the culture I grew up in where you lap up your pain in quiet strength (Good thing I wasn't always in that category)

    I have to put ice on the kids bumps and mashings and I'm usually thinking they'll get frozen or bitten by ice.

    I relinquish all medicine giving to the husband who seems to not worry about the dosage while I will have a heart attack.

  28. Good morning, Robynn. In response to your question, Canadian, Texas, is the county seat of Hemphill County, Texas. It is in the panhandle of Texas. My grandparents had a farm outside of town and that picture I had on my post was taken on that farm. I loved that photo because of them being barefooted and I always said my love of running around bare footed came naturally to me because my mom running around barefooted, too. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a great holiday weekend.

    Love you, my blogging friend...


    WV - asocern...

  29. You don't have a license to practice in Florida do ya? You are too funny for words! I have done some stupid things but you win the booby prize! I really like the jewelry they are wearing!

  30. Loved this post....Will be back to read more....Hope you will visit me

  31. :-D hahahah!!!!

    The only thing I'm seeing at the moment is you describing this in person. I couldn't breathe I was laughing so hard! (....where were we when you told this story?.....I can't seem to remember.)

    See you tomorrow! We just got back from our family reunion. It was such a blast! I was even given the title of being "faster than a chimp" by little Mandy because I beat Caleb in a swimming race. I can't imagine where she came up with that....:-D Fun times. :-p

    ~Kaylee "faster than a chimp" bean

  32. Since I don't have your email...will just add a note here...will have a button tomorrow but have no idea how to get it out...I have only been blogging for 3 months.....and have so much to learn....a girl that read the blog offered to make the me at if you can walk me through it...Teresa

  33. Oh my ... classic ... the frozen meat finger. Don't think I'm cracking up because I actually know what you're talking about from personal experience though. I'm just sayin'.

    Good stuff ... you're the best!

  34. I came, I read, and I still can't believe you have these incredible stories I haven't heard! I hope you're working on that book!
    love you friend

  35. You are one of the funniest people I have almost known, bar none!!!