Tales from the Practice of Medicine: Trust

Yu Lin

PureInsight | June 16, 2003

[PureInsight.org] Jack, an attorney, handled himself more like a judge than a patient on his first visit to my Chinese Herbal Medicine Clinic.

As soon as he saw me, he fired up a list of questions, "When did you start practicing Chinese medicine? What school did you graduate from? What degrees have you earned? What is your specialty?" There was distrust in his voice. I calmly and politely answered his questions one after another. An intern, observing on the side, couldn't help herself, murmuring under her breath, "This is preposterous! He forgot that he came here for medical treatment." She saw that I was still calm and was paying no attention to her, causing her face to redden. This whole time, she squeezed a cotton ball soaked with rubbing alcohol, while looking for a few thicker acupuncture needles to be use on him.

I asked Jack what his symptoms were, and he told me that the soles of his feet hurt. He hadn't been able to walk or do exercises for a long time. He said it was like there were thousands of needles pricking the bottoms of his feet when he was in the standing position. He had gone to many hospitals, and tried many different types of treatments. None of them had been effective, so he decided to try acupuncture. I gave him the routine regimen for foot pain. Upon leaving, he said to me politely, "If I feel no more pain, I'll mail you the check in a week."

I agreed with a nod. The intern couldn't help saying, "We are not a factory to let you try out our products here. You like it, take it. Don't like it, return it--This is not our policy."

He replied politely with aloofness, "For attorneys, the first consultation is free of charge." Thereafter, that was the last we heard from him about the soles of his feet.

A year and half later, Jack came back to my clinic to be treated for a type of diarrhea, that cannot be cured, but it is not life threatening. His diarrhea would come and go, but when it struck he could not delay for even a minute. Jack's return to my clinic was after being treated by a western gastroenterologist without results. Nevertheless, his attitude was entirely different from his first visit, and his distrustful and prejudiced way of talking had disappeared. This time he had medical insurance, so his visits were quite frequent. In the course of the treatment, I gradually began to understand him better.

One time, I asked him why he was so full of distrust toward everyone. This is what he told me about his childhood experiences:

"When my grandfather immigrated to the United States, he had nothing but a small rolled-up bundle of belongings. He went from nothing to owning several bakeries. He suffered hardships all through his life. Just like my grandfather my father also suffered from difficulties and hardships in his life. For this reason his hope for me was to make money. He taught me not to depend on or trust anybody. When I played soccer with him as a boy, he often deliberately tripped me to make me fall to the ground. The most severe fall I had while riding my bicycle was when I had to avoid colliding with my father by choosing to fall on the ground. After the collision, my father's remark to my bruised nose and swollen face was that I was more stupid than the pigs. Another unforgettable incident was when I had a hard time climbing up a ladder, and he purposely pushed the ladder down to the ground. When I asked him why he had done that to me, his reply was, 'My purpose is to train you not to trust anyone!' 'But, Dad, you aren't anyone!' I couldn't understand why he had said that to me then the answer came. 'Of course your Dad is included!' he replied"

Upon hearing his story, I became speechless.

It reminded me of his ailment, and the reason why he had a touch and go stomach and intestinal problems that are wouldn't be cured. It is believed in Chinese medicine that the cause of diarrhea is when one's energy becomes stagnant and starts to accumulate. The spleen's function is to digest and transport nutrients, so the accumulated energy would make the spleen weak and debilitated. In addition, he had been living in a state of nervousness since he could not trust anyone, and had experienced an up-and-down (low to high) emotional state. Thus, a long-term diarrhea developed.

In order to treat a sickness like this, one has to correct the root of the problems. How can Chinese medicine and acupuncture solve these problems? I kept asking myself, "How do I get to the root of his problems to change his state of mind?" "What is the truly effective treatment method for him?" I haven't found an answer yet.

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/articles/2003/4/11/21160.html

Add new comment