In honor of Halloween, Dan returns to that perpetual source of gruesome stories – the therapy crypt. In part II, Dan tells us of his experiences with yet another therapist of questionable credentials, and the bizarre testing methods she used to help cure all his ills. Dan’s first and only visit was yet another one of his memorable adventures played out in the course of his disease. Put the kids to bed and get ready to be scared silly with this “spiritual” tale.
It being just after Halloween, I thought it was time to once again delve into the vault of Therapy horror stories. A book full of tales that will surely make you cringe and possibly lose your lunch. Those of you with a weak heart may want to stop reading now.
Last time, we heard the tale of George, the therapist who used force, sweat bands, and machismo to overcome Rheumatoid Arthritis. As you may remember, it did not work out quite the way old George thought it would. This time, I will regale you with the story of Keri the therapist. Make sure the children are out of the room, and leave the lights on.
As you may or may not know, I have suffered from Rheumatoid Arthritis for over 20 years. Because of this, I have been to many therapists, and while some are clearly better than others, there are a few that stand out as truly gruesome. It’s not necessarily their fault, they mean well. Unfortunately, just because you think you know how to help someone, it doesn’t mean you really do. Oh, silly therapists.
There’s something else to bear in mind, dear readers. Physical Therapists are not the only brand that therapists come in. There are many different types of therapists that claim to be able to help people such as myself, as you will see.
When I was at the awkward age of 15, I decided to try therapy once again. Well, “decided to” is not exactly the right word, more like “was commanded to by my parents.” It’s not their fault, though; they were just trying their best to keep me as healthy as possible. Since diet had always been said to affect Rheumatoid Arthritis, this time it was decided we would try a nutritional therapist. So off we went – hopped in the car and drove thirty minutes to see Keri. Not Dr. Keri or Mrs. Dr. Keri – just Keri.
We arrived at Keri’s “office” (I use the term lightly, as it was much more like Keri’s “garage next to her house,” but I digress), and entered the waiting room. It was at this point that I should have realized exactly what I was in for, as Keri had hung up at least three Indian Dream Catchers, and there were bowls of crystals set out on tables for anyone who wanted to “harmonize” before their session. It’s true, my faithful readers, I swear it. When Keri finally emerged from her “examination room,” I could smell the incense instantly. As I proceeded into a room that smelled curiously like my guitar teacher’s house, Keri began to explain her procedure.
Keri told me that she would perform several tests in order to determine which nutrients and grains my body was lacking, and which were in abundance. When she said this, I began to perk up, thinking that maybe this ex-hippie was not so far out there, after all. Keri then went on to explain how she would help me devise a nutritional program for all my meals. It started to sound even better.
At that point, she asked me to stand up, so I did. Keri then produced a small container of what looked like seeds. She told me to grab a handful and then hold my arm out in front of me. Keri then pressed down on my arm, and seeing as how I have RA, I was not able to hold my arm straight out against her downward pressure. She then produced another container of seeds, this time a different color, and told me to do the same with my other hand. I followed Keri’s directions, and grabbed the seeds in my other hand and held my arm out in front of me. She pressed down on my arm again, and this time, my arm was able to withstand her downward pressure. She had me drop the seeds, and made a note on her clipboard.
After I had done this about three times for each hand, the testing was over. She made even more notes on her clipboard, and I sat quietly. Being the patient of many doctors in my life up to that point, I assumed that these were run of the mill strength tests. When you have Rheumatoid Arthritis, any doctor you see for the first time usually tests your strength. He or she will hold their hands out and ask you to press against them while he pushes against you. Because I had done this many times in the past, I assumed that the tests Keri was performing were of the same type.
After about ten minutes of writing and referring to her books, Keri said she had the results of my nutrition tests. I thought this was odd, considering all I had performed so far were strength tests. No blood tests or cultures were taken, and Keri did not even prick my skin to perform a test for food allergies. Odd, I thought, but at that age, adults were still a bit intimidating, so I simply listened in silence. Keri told me how she thought I was lacking in both rice and wheat, but I was definitely eating too much barley. She went on to tell me about different grains and vitamins I was lacking in or had too much of, and devised a preliminary meal plan for me.
Curious lad that I was, after she was done talking I asked her how she knew all this from a simple strength test. My guess was that she had somehow obtained some of my previous blood tests and was using those as a guide. What she told me next was a truly spiritual experience, in every sense of the word.
According to Keri, she knew I needed to cut certain grains out of my diet because when I held those grains in my hand, she was able to move my arm by pressing against it. Still not quite understanding, I asked her to elaborate. Keri told me that since she was able to move my arm, those grains weakened my “aura”. I said “excuse me did you say aura?” and she said yes. At this point I was positive that someone was going to jump out with a camera and tell me I was on TV. Unfortunately, that did not happen, and I had to sit there and endure another 15 minutes of information about my aura, and how she had “sensed” the ways it affected my disease. Finally, I was able to make my way out, and I met my mother in the lobby. We said our thanks and left, never to return.
Now, I would never begin to impugn the validity of anyone’s beliefs, but to walk into an experience such as this unprepared, it can be a bit of a shock — to put it mildly. If you believe in ghosts and spirits and fairies, I’m all for it as long as it helps you get better. As you can see though, Keri took a simple difference in strength from one arm to the other as a means to a cure. Certainly, this was not the last of my questionable therapy experiences, but it’s another macabre tale from the vault of horrors I call the Therapy Crypt. Happy (belated) Halloween!