One, two, three … I count the seconds as I hold a single slice of lemon in my left palm. With each second I feel sillier.
Somehow, though, it’s supposed to help my health.
I think about how easily I’ve judged others who do strange things – it’s sobering when I realize how foolish I look at the present, with my seemingly useless, lone lemon. It’s a reminder to me that most people have a reason for what they do, as odd as it may appear to others. There’s method to this madness.
And the method behind my madness? This lemon-holding is just one part of my new health regime, assigned to me by what my family affectionately refers to as the “Voodoo Doctor.” The “Voodoo Doctor” is Connie Newcome, and she, in turn, thinks of herself as a medicine man.
In actuality she’s a woman with a degree in nutrition, not a doctorate. She operates a small business that sells herbs and self-education flyers and nutrition literature. On the side, she consults with patients and believes in an all-natural, whole-body approach to health.
Although her beliefs depart radically from a traditional perspective on medicine, I have more faith in Connie than in any doctor I’ve had.
It’s hard for a lot of people to accept alternative medicine. We are supposed to fear the unfamiliar, after all. But I consider it to be the lesser of two evils.
I’ve seen friends, teachers and relatives end up in the hospital, and it seemed like more often than not, they returned with more problems than they went in with. I still don’t think it’s unreasonable for me to worry that I could come home with a third leg or a shaved head after a hospital stay.
And then came Connie. She brought my uncle from the brink of death after his condition deteriorated in the care of his doctors. As odd as her methods were, I couldn’t criticize something that obviously worked. My mother resolved to bring me to her.
The best way to describe my first consultation with Connie: bizarre. I sat down, and she instructed me to write down a list of organs in the body, referred to as “number one, number five, number ten and so on.”
After that she proceeded to tell me the things affecting my health. They all sounded odd, but they were all eerily true.
“You had an insect sting a year ago,” she’d say. That was true.
“Your entire environment changed eighteen years ago.” That was when my family moved.
“You’ve had strep throat three times.” Also true.
After that, the things she listed got even weirder. (And also more private, so think what you want. I’m not telling.)
When Connie was finished listing all the strange things harming my health, she had me write down a regimen, from “Day 1: Hold a slice of lemon in your left palm for thirty seconds,” to “Day 30: make a foot bath from 3 bottles of Lobelia Essence.”
I wanted to laugh at the things she suggested, but she deserved respect after all the help she’d given my relatives. She proved that she knew what she was doing, and the least I could do was give it a try. That seemed like enough of an incentive.
Oh, and I paid 80 bucks to see her.
As I’m writing this column, I’m on “Day 20: Soak your foot in a Borax/water solution for twenty minutes.” Luckily the Borax wasn’t expensive (or the water, derp). And I found a laundry tub to mix the two in. And now it’s time to try it out.
I look down just in time to see my cat, Belle, lapping up Borax. She innocently looks up at me and meows something that sounds more like a yodel. Weird creature.
I could be mad, but, well, so be it. Her curiosity hasn’t killed her yet.
In a way, I admire her boldness in exploring and trying new things, although it’s more out of idiocy than anything. Still, I could learn something from her. I could be more open-minded and willing to try new things.
Fifty-eight, fifty-nine, sixty… And my twenty minutes are up. I lift my right foot (or was it my left I was supposed to soak?) out of the tub and dry it off. Looks like I’ve got ten more days to go. Ten more days, ten more peculiar remedies and ten more questions to answer from bemused roommates. But I think I just might be getting used to this.