Monday, March 9, 2009

The Naturopath

Last week, I finally got around to seeing my naturopath.  As you know, I was stuck in a loop: I don't feel motivated to go see him unless my aches and pains are bothering me, but when I'm sore and tired I can't summon the energy to drag myself all the way downtown to his office.

I used to live closer to Marty.  I've been seeing him on and off since I was in my early 20's, 13 years ago.  His office was only one subway stop away from the basement apartment I shared with my first husband before we were married.  It takes an hour to get there from where I live today.

Marty has seen me through a lot.  I'm not sure what helps me more, his skill with homeopathy, accupuncture, and flower remedies, or his kind, steady presence.  I can tell him anything, from the very personal to the very bizarre, and nothing seems to ruffle his feathers.  And yet, I know without a shadow of a doubt that he cares.

Back in 1996 I was going through a phase of severe anxiety.  I must have left a message on Marty's voice mail betraying my desperation through the tone of my voice.  I don't remember what I said.  What I do know was that I was in the middle of compulsively scrubbing out the basement apartment to burn off my nervous energy when there was an unexpected knocking.  I put down my rags, bucket, and rubber gloves to open the door, and there was Marty.  He had cycled all the way over, unannounced, because he was worried about me.  He had brought a remedy to help me.  Talk about above and beyond the call of duty. He never charged me for that house call. 

I've changed a lot since then, but Marty, steady Freddy that he is, seems to be mainly the same.  He has some grey hairs in his moustache and lines around his eyes, but his calming manner and easy laugh are just as they were 15 years ago.  His office is also pretty much as it was, except now he takes notes on an MacBook laptop computer.

Marty works from a 2-room office in a converted house.  The little room in the back contains a table where he gives accupuncture treatments.  The larger room is where he does his consultations.  It has an unused wood-burning fireplace framed by a beautiful wooden mantle.  The mantle is covered with tiny bottles of almost every type of flower essence available.

The rest of the room is devoted to wood-and-glass cabinets.  One contains large, glass bottles of herbal tinctures.  The rest are filled with hundreds upon hundreds of glass tubes, each smaller than a tube of lipstick.  This is his homeopathic apothecary.  Without exaggerating I'd bet that he has at least two thousand different types of granules.

These little tubes cover every available surface.  The tops of the filing cabinets are all populated, as is much of Marty's desk and the edges of all the bookshelves.  Everytime he shuffles papers on his desk or goes looking for a pen he knocks over half-a-dozen of these bottles which go rolling off like miniature bowling pins.  How he keeps track of them all is beyond me.

I sat with Marty for an hour and told him my tales of woe.  He took lots of notes and asked questions.  In the end he said he'd have to do some research.  He had a particular remedy in mind for me, but he couldn't remember the name of it.  It must be an obscure one.  He'll be calling me about it next week.

In the meantime I stopped at one of the health food stores where I used to work,  back in the day, and picked up an off-the-shelf homeopathic arthritis remedy.  It won't be as lasting or as personal a cure as what Marty will come up with, but it's something to have on hand just in case my symptoms start acting up.  I had a chance to take one dose that same night, and I think it did help somewhat.  Heck, I don't care if it's the placebo effect - any help is welcome.


savia said...

I have a great naturopath and accupunturist as well. I think it makes a real difference, and it sounds like you have a keeper. I hope you feel better soon.

Duck said...

Ugh. I know that 'loop' in the first paragraph all too well.

Wow. I absolutely need someone like Marty. I think I may start looking more towards the natural approach now.

Karen said...

I am sure this won't be too much of a shock when I say that I am more of a traditional Western medicine person than a naturo-Eastern principles person. (That might be the worst sentence ever! LOL)

But at the same time I am all for whatever works for you. I'd probably try a combo of both if I were faced with ongoing problems.

As you long as you feel better, that is all that matters!

SoMi's Nilsa said...

I love that you have found a medical means that works for you. As a mostly healthy person, I find it very difficult to find doctors I like and trust. I can only imagine it's that much more difficult when you actually need that care.

unsigned said...

House calls are rare these days.

Sparkling Red said...

Savia: He's definitely a keeper. As a herbal sales rep I had the opportunity to meet many of the naturopaths in Toronto, and I was never tempted to switch.

Duck: The natural approach seems to work well for people who are "sensitive", i.e. your body reacts noticeably to small changes in your environment. Of course you also need the right practitioner to help you - there are as many mediocre naturopaths as there are mediocre M.D.'s.

Karen: I only ended up going down the natural road because M.D.'s just couln't help me, and prescription medication, even OTC meds, give me bad side effects. I'm a pragmatist - I'll go with what works. :-)

Nilsa: It is difficult, because the disappointment of not getting help is almost worse than not trying. Over the years I've continually pushed the boundaries of what I'm willing to live with because the risk of medical treatment is worse. Thank goodness for Marty.

Unsigned: Indeed, very rare.

Kate said...

There don't seem to be such things as naturopaths around here. Otherwise, I'd be there.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Hmmm... I'm not sure I have ever heard of a naturopath before your blog so naturally I go with the traditional medicines, not really a choice there. I would certainly look into any alternatives to find some relief. The guy sounds pretty awesome to do a house call.

Nicole said...

You are so lucky to have him!
I'm sure he finds something!
Best wishes!

LL Cool Joe said...

Well whatever works for you.

My older daughter went to a
"Educational Therapist" she used to sense problems in her body with her hands. Truthfuly I thought it was a load of crap, but the difference it made my daughter was unbelievable.

Dianne said...

Marty sounds like a treasure! a person born to help and heal and care

I'm glad you have him

I may look into this, thanks

Scarlet said...

Marty sounds like an angel, and the fact that he once visited you on his bike because he was worried about you speaks volumes.

With his determination, knowledge and kindness, you WILL get better.

Sparkling Red said...

Kate: No naturopaths?! I can't imagine such a thing. That's just a darn shame.

Ron: Wow, I can't imagine life without the option of naturopathy. It would suck, frankly, because regular medicine most often fails to help me. Well, if you ever decide to explore that realm, it will be a big adventure.

Nicole: Thank you! :-)

LL Cool Joe: Truly, many people don't believe in natural remedies, especially energy therapies like Reiki etc. Some people are converted by giving it a chance and seeing good results, and some people simply don't seem to be affected. You never know until you try.

Dianne: It would be great if you could find a natural health practitioner who might help you. Let me know if you do!

Scarlet: He is an angel - a funny, kind angel with a moustache. ;-)

LL Cool Joe said...

Actually that's interesting, because the treatment worked so well on my older daughter, The changes in her were amazing, but it didn't work on my younger daughter at all. I often wonder why.

Jenski said...

Marty sounds great.

And I agree that even if something you take has a placebo effect, that is still an effect and it still worked. :-)