Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

The things we do for love (and skepticism)

Posted in Skepbitch by Skepdude on September 30, 2008

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ORIGINAL ENTRY AT “SKEPBITCH”

On a recent visit, my brother Kalvin asked me, “What did we eat when we were growing up?”

I stared at him in disbelief. “You must have repressed memory syndrome,” I teased. “How could you forget the tofu? The wheatgerm? The lecithin?”

Five years older than me, he admitted coolly, “I probably drove out for a hamburger afterwards.”

Long before it was cool in California to add soymilk to your latte… before hummus was fashionable… when most families would come home to ”meat and three veg”, I’d be coming home to a wholewheat vegetarian lasagne with spinach, ricotta and brown rice.

I was the gastronomic outcast in school; the wretched, miserable kid with the Nutmeat and tahini wholewheat sandwich. I was the kid with the carob ‘chocolate’ easter eggs…

It all began when my mother developed a series of nasty non-specific symptoms. She had heart palpitations. She lost weight. Her hair fell out. She was up cleaning the bathroom at 2am.  It was like she was on speed. She was suffering from a thyroid condition. She was sick, scared, vulnerable, and the symptoms never completely disappeared…

Thus began her life-long alternative medicine quest…

She has visited naturopaths, homeopaths, trichologists, herbal medicine ’specialists’, reflexologists, diet gurus, reiki masters, acupunturists, bowen therapists, chiropractors, osteopaths, iridologists, and other peculiar practitioners that don’t even have names…

Yeah. That’s my Mom.

She takes garlic and horseradish tablets, spirulina, echinacea, Vitamin C, Vitamin B complex, multi-vitamins, “Pluton” homeopathic pills and a long list of unidentifiable, unnecessary tablets that make for expensive urine. You’d think she has heart disease or cancer…when she sits down to a meal, out comes a plastic tray of pills. As my step-father says, “She eats more pills than food.” She’s dabbled in most fad diets, but worst of all, she used to make her own collodial silver…

She’s been visiting with me for the past few weeks, so let me tell you about my most recent tiff with her…and you’ve heard these arguments before…

Years ago she saw a chiropractor who ‘massaged her chest’ (yep…I’m a Dr., let me massage your goddamn bollocks). He caused extensive bruising and she suffered breathing difficulties for weeks. Fortunately, an x-ray revealed no internal damage.

I confronted her about this touchy topic…

“So, you’re still seeing that nutjob chiropractor, Mom?” In her ashamed admission of betrayal, like a cheating spouse or a naughty boy found with porn under the bed, she nodded, and looked away, ”I didn’t want to tell you that I’m still seeing him.”

“I’d just assumed you still were,” I replied honestly.

“Well, I just see him for my general well-being, for colds, headaches. It helps with everything really.”

“But there’s no evidence that this works. In fact, there’s a substantial amount of evidence to the contrary!”

Then she became defensive with urgent appeals. I was attacking her intelligence, and her sincere hope that it works. “They don’t have the funding that big pharmaceutical companies have! There’s a lot we don’t understand, Karen. There’s got to be something to it. So many people use it! It helps relieve my shoulder pain. I have to try everything.”

“But you’re also seeing a doctor, a physiotherapist, and a masseuse. You use creams. With all that you wouldn’t know what’s actually working. In the end it doesn’t work because the pain’s still there!”

“He does it to his two toddlers too. He wouldn’t do it to them if he thought he could injure them. He treated his daughter when she was one day old.” Now this really pissed me off…

“Mom, you could’ve had your ribs cracked or your lungs punctured by that fucking ignorant prick!”

…silence…

Now I’d done it! I’d upset my tiny, gentle, sensitive, ever-smiling yet now teary-eyed mom. What a skepbitch I am.

I calmed down, put my arm around her, and said earnestly, “I need to make you aware of the risks. I don’t want you to be hurt. Because I love you.”

And now she’s gone home. And here I sit with reminders of her… a box of Zen Therapeutics Ki Immune Defence & Vitality Formula, a jar of Ascorbate C with lemon bioflavonoids, rosehips, and hesperidin, and a vial of homeopathic pills.

Because she loves me…

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ORIGINAL ENTRY AT “SKEPBITCH”

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