Saturday, 8 January 2011

Dr. Quack Quack

I haven't been there so I don't know how I would act, or how far I would go. To be that ill, that desperate for a cure, a release from pain.  Would I have taken a chance for my children? I cannot say. But when a friend of my mother told her that Dr. N. could help her she begged me, us, to take her to see him.
At first I refused, I had no faith in unorthodox medical practices. I was afraid he could make things worse.

Mother had MS, walked unsteadily with a Zimmer frame, still had the use of her upper body and, with steely determination, still controlled   all bodily functions, but she  suffered excruciating pain when her limbs went into spasm. It was as if life was leaving her body from her toes upwards. Her speech never slurred, her eyes remained blue and as unclouded as  her mind; razor sharp, determined to find a way out of her prison before the door slammed shut on her.

Her friend, Betty, came round to see us in the little cottage we lived in at that time, a summer rental that sheltered our small family all year round. She said we owed it to Mother, that Dr. N. had cured her arthritis, relieved her pain. If I were any kind of loving daughter I could not refuse my mother the chance that he might help.

We wavered. We had little money,and I was not convinced, but I could not deny her.

Dr. N. lived in a picture perfect cottage, in a picturesque village about an hours drive away.  The journey there was broken by a number of stops [when mum had to go, she had to go] and we were late for our appointment. The long path to the rose covered front door sloped downwards between beds of summer flowers and with the birds singing and bees humming our spirits were lifted.
An elderly woman answered the door and showed us into a beamed living room with an obligatory Inglenook fireplace and ancient ceiling beams. Dr. N. came forward to greet us, taking mum's arm and leading her gently towards a chair set behind a table that was lined with various metal boxes, cotton wool and a Bunsen burner.

He was an elderly man [later we found out he was eighty eight] with thick white hair and moustache, tanned clear skin and a compact body. He asked mum a lot of questions but wrote nothing down, examined her feet and legs, her neck and shoulders and, holding her hands and looking intensely into her eyes, asked where the pain was centered.  Somewhere on her lower back, to the right, she replied.
He asked me to stand in front of her and hold up her clothes whilst he prodded and probed, finally happy that he had located the spot.

I looked at mum's face and she was smiling, no fear,  no doubt in her eyes.
I asked him what he was going to do but he didn't answer straight away. He lit the burner and held a small three sided knife to the flame.
'I will cut the nerve to relieve the pain' he said, quietly and calmly, as if that was an ordinary occurrence and nothing to fear. I know my face expressed my horror at that point, JP's face showed the same emotion.

'It is fine.' mum said. 'I trust the doctor.'

Dr. N. pressed the knife into mother's back to a depth of  two inches and drew it up and down and to both sides to make a cross. There was very little blood. He withdrew the knife and moved it higher and made to plunge it in again.

'No!' I shouted it out. 'No more, mum, this is not going to help.' I rearranged her clothes and helped her up. JP put some money on the table and we left. As we exited he said, 'Blame your daughter if you have no relief'.

She was  cross with me for a while and there was no relief, nor, I believe would there have been had I let the barbarism continue. She continued the creeping loss of all her faculties, for another twenty five years, but with brain, spirit, sight and speech intact.

Turns out that Dr. N. had some renown as a scientist, having discovered some chemical or other. But to me, saving my guilt, he was always, Dr. Quack quack.

49 comments:

  1. Wow. Now that is some story. I'd love to hear his real success stories!! Good Lord, one slip and who knows. You did the right thing!

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  2. What an incredible example of the lengths people will go to for the ones they love!

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  3. Seems like Dr. Quack Quack is riding on the desperation of patients. I'm sorry your mom suffered so intensely, but I think you did the right thing.

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  4. Oh now that's scary. I'm so glad you spoke up.

    Oh and your request is noted for Wednesday. Thanks, Moannie. :)

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  5. I've seen the "bleeding" method in historical films describing times like "The Tudors". It is surprising that it is still being practiced. Good story

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  6. Wow, this made my heart hurt. I can only imagine the lengths that people take to ease the disease and hurting of loved ones. It is almost equal to the lengths that people go to prey on those are willing to do anything for the relief of pain. I am glad you said something, I would have done the same

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  7. I suppose severe enough pain would drive me to try almost anything. Yet this does seem rather barbaric.

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  8. I'd be like your Mom, trusting anybody that would relieve me of pain. I hope my daughter steps up to the plate and guard me against such quackery should I fall prey to any.

    Great story, M.
    Wonderful to visit with you.

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  9. (Y) informative and nice narration

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  10. Oh Moannie this does resonate with me. You are right to say that as daughters we will be there for our mother if she is in pain and take here where she wants to go.....but struggle with our guilt and wonder if we are doing the right thing. When my mother was suffering with various ills and had been diagnosed as blind she asked me to drive her to see a couple who lived in the next town and somehow had a reputation for being healers of some description. This I did. My mother cried there and they moved their hands over her head and then asked for a 'donation' before they could carry on. To me, they were charlatans of the highest order. Her ills were not resolved and some time after she said that perhaps she had been silly to pay them a visit. The whole episode was sad and sorry and at least there was no physicality, as was the case for your mother...you did right to flee.

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  11. That must surely have added to her problems and its a wonder she didn't get infection. The man would be put away today! Flabbergasted!
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

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  12. My mother has M.S. as well and has my entire life so far of 24 years. We have done everything we can to support her but I too feel that I couldnt allow someone to do this to her. :0(

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  13. omg! that is a shocking story and would have totally freaked me out too!

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  14. What an intense story :( I feel I also would have done the same thing - pulled my mother out of there and fast. Have you yourself gone to any other alternative medicine healers? I'd be interested in trying acupuncture and reiki massage. These seem less quack like to me.

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  15. OHMYGOD, Moannie! HOly shit! And then I laugh, she only had another twenty five years! Ha!

    I do wonder what might have happened had he finished. Yikes.

    xo
    erin

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  16. A riveting, intense, and well-told experience. Unfortunately, things like that still occur when desperate people are seeking relief from pain.

    Thanks for sharing this story, Moannie.

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  17. I agree with the quack, quack part, but even quacks can bring relief when the patient believes the mumbo jumbo.

    Your poor mum.

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  18. Oh wow, you were right to take her away from that place before he did serious damage! He needs to be put in jail! Dr. Quack quack, your right to call him that~

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  19. At that moment you may have done the right thing ma'am BUT there are some people whodo cure patients even with a single touch on the body. It's not something crazy, but there are doctors who do so. In Sri Lanka the "Ayurvedic" doctors prove the power of ancient methods of treatment. Most of the herbs are extracted from trees,plants,flowers etc.
    I'm not sure whether illnesses like MS can be cured by those Ayurvedic treatments but lot of people here do follow Ayurvedic doctors. You may have taken the right decision... :)
    Anyway, your narration about the Dr.Quack quack's cottage and his appearance remind me of the farmer and his cottage described in "The English Teacher" written by R.K. Narayan. Have you read that novel??? If not, if you by any chance ge the chance to read it, turn to Chapter Five of the novel and read...Better if you read the whole book. It's really interesting. Note the "Objective" tone of the author.
    Your "View From This End" always evokes the 'Views from other Ends'. You earn the value of your narrations that cannot be measured...It's GREAT!!! :)

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  20. Wow, that's an amazing story, very emotional.

    MS is a horrible disease, although fortunately in the past couple of years the treatement has advanced considerably - a relative of mine has gone from being a complete invalid to being able to have a child and be the fulltime caregiver, just with the help of new medications and treatments. It makes me sad that there are quacks who prey on the desperate. It becomes hard to tell the difference between a quack and a genuiune alternative practitioner!

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  21. I have MS and am just coming out of a bout of muscle spasms from my neck down to my tail bone. I too was at a point where I would have done anything (maybe even gone to DR. Quack) just to relieve the pain. My heart is with you and your mother.

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  22. omg. how scary a moment...glad you spole up. i would have had a hard time holding my tongue...

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  23. This makes my heart ache, too. And my stomach turn. But what will/won't do for loved ones. Fortunately, you got her out of there in time.

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  24. I wouldn't want my mother to suffer either, nor could I watch anyone go through such pain without knowing if the treatment would even work out ^.^ you did the right thing and you have a splendid blog :D thanks for writing

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  25. Wow. What a story! There's a lot of doctors like that in third world countries, and one of them is my home country, the Philippines. We call them "Faith Healers." The desperation of all the patients can be seen through numerous all-walks-of-life people coming and going. Thanks for sharing your story.

    http://brownbugz.blogspot.com

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  26. http://ia331411.us.archive.org/3/items/TvQuran.com__1/TvQuran.com__020.mp3

    Allah, CREATED THE UNIVERSE FROM NOTHING

    http://allah-created-the-universe.blogspot.com/

    THE COLLAPSE OF THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION IN 20 QUESTIONS

    http://newaninvitationtothetruth.blogspot.com/

    ((( Acquainted With Islam )))

    http://aslam-ahmd.blogspot.com/

    http://acquaintedwithislam.maktoobblog.com/

    O Jesus, son of Mary! Is thy Lord able to send down for us a table spread with food from heaven?

    http://jesussonofmary1432.blogspot.com/

    http://www.islamhouse.com/

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  27. wow what a story!!! Love it!

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  28. There's a quote I love:
    "Do not put your faith in what statistics say until you have carefully considered what they do not say."-William W.Watt

    You listened to your intuition to bring her and to pull her away. Instinct is our best counsel.
    Nice write. :)
    Tanya

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  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  30. and p.s about my haiku...Not really sure I even wrote it correctly: Followed main rule: 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables. It was more tongue in cheek (to a particular person) than anything else. ;-)

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  31. I have no idea what I would have done if I was in your shoes. You were strong and made a decision and that is good - I am proud of you.

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  32. Hi,

    I've heard about something like this before, Its apparently supposed to work! The concept is that they take out the "bad blood" which is the blood which causes the problem. I think they make incisions at various points of the body and drain this blood. Its an ancient ritual that was only given up in the UK after the wars which i find quite amazing! You should have asked if he had and leeches for afterwards!!

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  33. Good for you, Quacks are everywhere these days. Your mom may have been cross with you, but I am sure she appreciates you protecting her and using your good judgement.

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  34. That story made me squirm in my seat! I'm so glad you spoke up! I get horrible migrans and the pain gets so horrible that I am wiped out for two days. If someone told me that putting a knife through my skull into my brain would stop the pain I would do it. Thankfully my husband is there to be the level headed one! You're a good daughter for being willing to take your mother to the Doc to try, but an even better one for taking her away!

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  35. What a story, Moannie. Pain will make even the most level-headed of us desperate. With my dental history, I've reached the point, in the past, where I've tried to use such things as a spoon to extract a tooth (really.) I can only imagine how far a person might be driven round the bend with something as crippling as MS. You did the right thing, in both ways - taking her there in the first place, just in case there was something good, and then whisking her out of there when there was nothing but quackery.

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  36. Wow! Oh Moannie, that would have been so hard to watch. You did right by speaking up and stopping. You did right too in honoring her request to try a different solution but you also had to be protective over her. I am so sorry that your mom had to endure MS in the first place. My sister in law also suffers from the same and I know it tortures more than she lets on.

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  37. Wow MS is an appalling condition to have and I do feel sorry for anyone that has it...I am glad that you got your mum out of there though I really don’t think that he was doing any good at all. I am truly sorry that your mum had to suffer through that dreadful illness. Also good on you for bringing to light the awful people out there!
    http://takinglife74.blogspot.com/

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  38. Hi Moannie, I am hogging your comment section again. But I wanted you to know I have linked your site up to a Stylish Blogger award on my site: texagermanadian.blogspot.com! I am sure you have been nominated for this award before, but I thought you needed to be shared with my readers. Thanks for all the beautiful stories you share :)

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  39. I loved your writing but cringed at the subject. So sorry for your mum's suffering.

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  40. Fabulous blog!! Congratulations on being a Blog Of Note!!
    Well deserved!

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  41. this story is absolutely touching. i love the writing. its a lovely blog. your mother is a beautiful person. thank you for sharing.

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  42. Hi Moannie - I have a little something on blog for you - please pop over and collect and we can have a glass of wine and discuss lots of things including our replacement hips LOL
    Happy New Year and hugs ~ Eddie

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  43. What a quack, and how dangerous!
    (I was going to write "deranged" - that was the first word that came to my mind.)

    I feel as if I have witnessed the horror, thank goodness you were there!

    Big, big hug,
    Merisi
    (in over her head in finals, to the point of not wanting to hear another word about photography, be it theory or technique, whatever!)

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  44. Found you on Blog of Note and I love it here alkready! I've got an award for you, I'm your newest follower.

    Pick it up here: http://penpaperandamouse.blogspot.com/2011/01/got-my-first-stylish-blogger-award.html

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  45. Goodness me - just as well you were strong enough to stop the quack.Quite a disturbing tale - wonder how many others there are like that around.

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  46. This is a very well written piece. My writing is on my blog at fantasyaction.blogspot.com and if you have any ideas or comments on it I would appreciate it from one writer to another.

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  47. Ok so does everyone like to ccomment on here...

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  48. Glad I popped over last night and returned to read this fascinating tale. It must have been terrifying for you to see this evn though your mother wanted to try it. Another example if one could live a life twice to see if had he completed the proceedure she might have been helped more. But I think I would have done what you did.
    Beautifully written

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  49. oh.my.god! i just cannot imagine.

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