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.