Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Necessity of a Precise Diagnosis

Tokyo, 2011

After years of attempting to manage the problem with vitamins and acupuncture, with exercise and affirmations, Randy decided to go to an actual medical doctor.  One doctor led to the next.  Tests found tests were needed.  In a stream of vague explanations, the drugs kept flowing, but Randy did not get better.

Finally Randy secured an appointment with a celebrated and accomplished doctor, an innovator, considered to be the top of his field.  This doctor was able at last to pinpoint the source of the problem, the very origin and essence of the thing.  He introduced a finely-tuned treatment program which made use of innovative medicines in quantities measured precisely according to Randy’s symptoms, weight, and age.  Even though the regimen was daunting, Randy was profoundly relieved to have located the source of so much suffering.  Here was a diagnosis, a treatment, a way forward.  Here, at long last.

It didn’t work.  Not in the least.  Actually he got somewhat worse.  The celebrated doctor said not to worry.  Instead, they would use the “classic” treatment, which worked for nearly everyone.

Didn’t work for Randy.  Certain of his symptoms got better.  Others got dramatically worse.  He felt like a congested urban area that finally solves its traffic problems -- only to discover that its pleasant picnicking volcano is not actually extinct.

The celebrated doctor, surprised by failure, suggested Randy had not followed the regimen faithfully.  Randy swore he had and located the celebrated doctor’s rival, a radical dissenter known for his out-sized ego and celebrity clientele.  This doctor found that, although the diagnosis itself was unassailable, the celebrated doctor’s treatment had been – lo and behold -- entirely wrong, quite dangerously so in fact, just totally backwards.

This renegade doctor placed Randy on an ingenious regimen that would make perfect sense to anyone whose reason was un-blinkered by convention and mistaken assumptions.

This treatment was likewise wholly unsuccessful.  The acute bad periods, which had been interspersed with periods when he was relatively all right, were replaced with a consistent and reliable blanket of grinding misery.  Randy felt like a loyal serf who knew he could trust in the absolute security of a thatched roof over his head, a stone floor under his ass, three meals of stale bread, and back-breaking labor each day of his life until death.  Stability and reliability is not enough, Randy discovered, when it is only pain you are counting on.

Lining up his medicines on his black kitchen table, Randy discovered he had every color of pill except turquoise.  The next doctor prescribed a turquoise pill.  The succession of doctors continued.  It seemed to Randy that they eyed him warily now.  He felt like a girl with a reputation for being impossible.  No treatment helped more than the one before.  In the pastel torture chamber of his problem, the machines just kept moving around.

Suicide, always attractive, now appeared downright ravishing.  After all, this was the only treatment which required no testing or referral and, while a prescription was certainly helpful, it was by no means required.  The treatment itself might be unpleasant, but it was bound to be conclusive if administered with care.

While he was planning his suicide, equivocating over gunshot versus drowning, a tree on the side of the highway versus a fatal plunge, he met a dotty silver-haired lady in the bulk foods aisle of his local health food market.  (In his quest for treatment, Randy had been told at one time or another to avoid meat, wheat, eggs, sugar, soy, nuts, raw and cooked foods.  The health food store had thus become a habit.)

Actually he’d met the dotty silver-haired lady once before.  Once when he’d been having a very bad day and had demanded, out loud, to be told, once and for all, just what the hell tamari was.  She saw him again.  She asked how he was doing.

Her name was Marti.  She was the kind of lady who asks her Tarot cards what to have for lunch.  That day she’d drawn “The Tower” and so she was making club sandwiches.

Marti didn’t wait for the full explanation.  “Why amplify the unfortunate?” Marti said.  “Why dwell on the negative?  Breathe out black smoke!”  She invited him for sandwiches with her friend Denis who just happened to be a Filipino spirit trance medium and conservative churchgoer.  She said Denis had fixed her up plenty of times.  She didn’t get her headaches anymore.  Even her fingernails were stronger.

Denis arrived for lunch with his own can of Spam, which he sliced, and added to each level of his organic vegetarian club sandwich, and didn’t offer to share with anyone.  After they’d finished their sandwiches, Denis told Randy to lay flat on the floor.  He lit candles to St. Rita, Hermes Trismegistus, and the Buddha.  He blanketed the area in rose water.  He called upon Melchizedek, who had vowed always to help the earnest aspirant.  He poured wax on Denis’ forehead, did a short dance with a feather duster, and told the evil spirits to get the fuck out already.

Afterwards, Randy lay on the floor for a long time without moving.  Marti and Denis were on their second cup of coffee before he even dared sit up.

He didn’t think he’d felt so well in the past twenty-five years.  He didn’t think he’d ever felt so well.  Marti and Denis didn’t seem particularly interested.  They were deep in a discussion about manifesting abundance.

For days thereafter, Randy remained very cautious.  He was careful to not lift anything heavy, or think about his childhood.

However, Randy’s symptoms, his pain and misery, his appalling suffering, did not return and have not returned to this day.  If he has even the slightest hint, suspects a little twinge, he doesn’t panic.  He places sixteen drops of a certified organic flower remedy under his tongue.

Randy has become a tremendous source of positivity and good faith to everyone around him.  He is confident that health and healing are possible for everyone, once a correct diagnosis has been made and the correct treatment embarked upon.  He speaks of his gratitude to anyone who’ll listen, of his good fortune, of the way he feels he has, at last, arrived in the real world.

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