Thursday, January 12, 2012

Snake oil salesman?

When it comes to health and wellness, I'm in favor of an integrative approach. I take my dogs to a veterinarian who practices holistic/homeopathic medicine in addition to using traditional methods as needed. I like my vet because she doesn't just say, "Here are some pills" when one of my dogs has a physical problem. She looks at alternative approaches as well. For example, many behavioral issues can be lessened through the use of herbal tinctures (fear of thunderstorms is one example).

My daughter's right ear, as you know, is causing me much consternation. I just keep thinking that there's gotta be a better way - one that does not involve surgery. Now, my friend Cassi pointed out that there are some maladies that cannot be solved without surgery. This is true. When my gall bladder was full of stones a few years ago, I was in absolute agony and wanted that mofo out. When I sliced my finger open a few years ago, I didn't try to treat it through better nutrition. I had it sewn up, like any sensible person would. When it comes to my daughter's recurring ear problems, though, I just don't feel like traditional medicine has done enough for her.

I told my husband, "I'm taking her to a chiropractor."

The look he gave me in return made me wonder if I'd inadvertently said this instead: "I'm taking her over to the zoo to let the monkeys have a look at her."

I mean, I get it. A lot of people distrust chiropractors. They think the science behind it is flimsy at best. However, I don't see how taking her to a chiropractor can worsen the situation. My daughter is due back at her pediatrician's office in three months. If the right ear still has fluid behind the ear drum and she is still having trouble hearing those low-decibel beeps, I will schedule the surgery. I think it's worth trying to avoid it, though.

I took her to the chiropractor on Tuesday. I was referred to this particular doctor by a friend (who, by the way, no longer has to take allergy medications as a result of this type of treatment). Once we were in an exam room with the doctor, I was impressed with how much time she took to chat with me and to make sure she fully understood my daughter's health history. The first thing she recommended is that we try putting garlic oil or diluted tea tree oil in A's right ear. As we were talking, my daughter acted as though she'd never been out in public before, running laps around the exam table and then flinging herself over the top of the table in various positions.  The doctor asked me a few questions about the kid's diet. My daughter decided to chime in at that point. "My favorite dinner . . . " she started (and of course I was thinking that I couldn't wait to hear what it is because she seems to be able to live for days off a spoonful of black beans and virtually nothing else) " . . . is bread and butter!"

I laughed nervously. I swear to you I have never given my child bread and butter as a meal. We do sometimes have biscuits or rolls with dinner, but bread and butter alone? Oy. I was relieved when the chiropractor ended the questioning and examined A. She explained to my daughter that she was going to touch her and maybe make some adjustments. She explained to me that my daughter is not out of alignment - it's more a matter of stimulating the central nervous system. I watched with interest as she bent my daughter's limbs around and palpated her neck. Dr. M made two quick adjustments to her neck and one to her back. The kid giggled through the whole thing. She was nervous at first because she is fearful about new things (a topic for another day) but by the end, she was all smiles. 

We're going to go back for a few more sessions and then see how it goes. I guess you could say I am cautiously optimistic. When we left the chiropractor's office, we headed to a vitamin store to pick up some oil for the ear. A lady approached me as we were wandering around. She wore a crystal pendant around her neck and struck me as the "fit grandma" type. I told her about my daughter's ear-related issues. She looked down at Short Stuff. "Do you drink milk and eat ice cream?" Ah, I knew where she was going with this. Dairy. I explained that we switched to almond milk a few months ago but that we do still have some dairy products in our diet (the kid even asks for a hunk of cheddar cheese as a snack). The health store lady suggested backing off the dairy for a while to see if that helps. The consumption of dairy is often implicated in cases where ear infections recur.  I have to admit that she did seem knowledgeable and was pretty darned emphatic about her advice. I've been trying to reduce the amount of dairy in our diet anyway, so this is just another step in that direction.

When we got home, P asked the kid about her visit to the doctor, and shot me a few disapproving looks as he was listening to her. My response, in a nutshell, is "hey, why don't you tackle this issue then?"  I mean, I am the one doing research, I am the one hauling her all over town in search of answers, I am the one losing sleep over it. I am either an awesome mom or a borderline new age-y lunatic.

Speaking of being an awesome mom . . . the other night I was tucking my daughter into bed. Instead of kissing her on the lips like normal, I grabbed her face and gave her a high society left cheek-right cheek-left cheek kiss - three in quick succession.  "Oui oui! That's how the French do it!" I said. She laughed.  It was just a little bit of fun between the two us except that now . . . she has been asking people to French kiss her. So yeah, I'm awesome alright.

1 comment:

Jen said...

I think chiropractors get a bad wrap but I believe in them. Kudos to you for doing all of this!

Plus careful about french kissing, people might think she wants them to slip in the tongue! LOL!