Father’s Day: Tribute to Jim Thompson

dad and me
Dad and me when I was about 4 years old.

It’s no secret that Dad was my favorite parent.  I was “Daddy’s little girl.”  I was a superstar, and could accomplish anything I wanted.  To have not had sisters — or a mother that he could remember — Dad had a knack for raising girls.

It was Dad who was the nurturer — the one who kissed the boo-boos, affirmed me, told me I was smart and beautiful.  He was kind, loving, and steady.  Even when he was angry, he wasn’t prone to outbursts.

It was Mom who spanked, yelled, and always found something wrong with me.  My hair, my clothes, my makeup, the condition of my room — nothing was ever good enough.  It didn’t matter what I did, it wasn’t right.  Oh, sure, she praised me when I brought home straight-As or other successes.  But she didn’t love me like Dad did.

Dad wrote me letters while I was in college, carefully printed on yellow legal paper, using yellow correction fluid to fix his mistakes.  He would visit me periodically.  He bought me my first car — and took out a credit life policy so that it would be paid off if he died.  Which he did.  I wonder now if that was foreshadowing.

When Dad died suddenly at age 60, I was on the phone with him.  It’s a fact few people know, and something we never talk about.  Ever.  I still wonder whether I did the right thing, if I waited too long to call for help.  By the time the rural volunteer paramedics arrived, he was long gone.

When it came time to plan a funeral, choose a burial plot, and other such tasks, Mom was a mess.  I was the rock, the one who ushered her along to make the necessary decisions.  I remember standing with Mom, staring at Dad in his casket, and her whispering, “It’s OK to cry.”  I didn’t cry at all.  Later, with my friends, on a dark night outside my parents’ house, I cried until I threw up.

And I still cry today.  There have been many times I’ve thought that Dad was the only person who truly loved me.

While I know that’s not true, it remains a fact that he loved me best.

 

 

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Embracing “Voodoo Medicine”

dollI’ve started seeing a witch doctor.

No, I don’t sneak off during the full moon to chant incantations in the graveyard.  I go to a modern medical office in broad daylight.  And I don’t have to bury bodily fluids and sprinkle potions on the spot  — but I do have to mail them off to a lab on the west coast.

“Black magic never stops. What goes from you comes to you. Once you start this s—, you gotta keep it up. Just like the utility bill. Just like the grocery store. Or they kill you.”

 

Minerva in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”

The health care practitioner I’m seeing wouldn’t appreciate being called a witch doctor or his practice voodoo.  That’s what traditional medical practitioners call their brethren who embrace homeopathic or alternative medicine.  Not to their face, but behind their back.

The purveyors of non-traditional therapies call their practice “integrative medicine,” and there are official organizations that provide board certification and continuing education for the high priests and priestesses of homeopathic treatment.  They combine evidence-based (traditional) medicine with homeopathic or non-traditional treatments.  To the hard-core, traditionally trained medical doctor or osteopathic physician, it’s a betrayal of the brotherhood (or sisterhood).

I didn’t find this new-age doctor in a voodoo shop.  I clicked on a Facebook ad offering relief from my thyroid disorder.  I had rapidly gained 20 pounds, feel fatigued all the time, and suddenly developed high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  Despite taking synthetic thyroid hormone, I still feel like crap.  My primary care physician, a graduate of a traditional medical school who operates within the usual volume-based practice, refused to prescribe natural thyroid hormone.

When I went to the voodoo appointment, I went with a healthy dose of skepticism.  While I’m not in the health care field, I was previously married to a provider.  Therefore, I have about six years worth of second-hand medical training.  What I was going to experience would have been called “hooey” by my Ex.

I felt like I was in a college biology class as the doctor explained the relationship between the liver, brain and adrenal function.  I had read about “leaky gut syndrome,” and was ready for the lecture.  I have a colleague who has undergone a similar regimen.  I was ready for the spiel — the sales pitch — for a treatment that is likely not covered by my health insurance.

When I walked into the office for the $49 consultation, my plan was not to buy into the program, but to walk away with the info.  However, the program was dangled in front of me, and I felt bad enough that day to say “I’m in,” and plunk down a credit card to pay the fee.

The new dining room suite can wait a bit.

Tomorrow I embark on the big step of the program:  The Diet.  The philosophy is this:  if you cut out everything that can cause inflammation in your body, you can rid yourself of toxicity and heal from the problems caused by the bad foods and chemicals that cause it.

This morning, I drank my last cup of coffee.  At lunch, I ate my last sandwich and drank my last diet soda.  I’m preparing to cook the last meal of shellfish and processed frozen vegetables (broccoli with cheese sauce).  I’m sipping on my last glass of wine.

For the next 30 days, I can eat only poultry, beef or fish (no shellfish or pork), certain vegetables (no potatoes, beans, corn or peas) and specific low-glycemic fruits.  No gluten, grains, nuts, caffeine or alcohol.

Yikes!!! I can live without gluten, grains, sugar, artificial sweetener, preservatives, or nuts.  But caffeine and alcohol are the foundations of my existence.  They are how I cope.  How will I survive?!

This blog will be the diary of my penance.

I’m putting my faith in “voodoo medicine.”  I’m turning my health over to a so-called “witch doctor.”  I’m also investing a significant amount of money in this program.  But it’s time for a change.  Traditional medicine isn’t serving its purpose.

Stay tuned!