Acts of kindness...
I have always found that when everything seems lost, someone or something always rises to the surface to make things better. A few weeks ago, before I had even received the shocking letter from my former Lyme doctor, I had (ironically) made an appointment with a physician located 4 hours from my home. I was not happy with the way my treatment plan had been going so I was looking for some alternative therapies. In sheer desperation, I had reached out to friends that I had met through a Lyme Support Group and one of the ladies had suggested this chiropractor who had significantly helped her daughter. With blind faith, I took her advice and made the appointment.
I tried to research the physician online but there was no information about him. This made me a little nervous but I trusted her judgment because her daughter had been really sick and if she said that he made a difference then what did I have to lose? My health has been steadily deteriorating for years now and I have tried everything else so I am willing to try just about anything at this point. I had no idea how I was going to endure the trip given that I can barely walk to the car with a rolling walker once a month to make it to my primary care doctor’s office two blocks from my house. The anxiety started to build as the appointment got closer and closer.
My friend owns a plant nursery so I will call her Rose for the sake of this blog post… Let me tell you about the “kindness of strangers”… I met Rose at the Lyme Support Group meeting in January of 2011 when I had just been diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease. She was there primarily because her daughter was very ill with the disease but she, too, suffered from the illness. Her symptoms were under good control by using a RIFE machine once a week and she managed to work and still take care of her family. We bonded right away and I looked forward to seeing her every month at the meetings.
When I became too sick to continue going to the monthly meetings, Rose would check up on me via Facebook, text messages or occasional phone calls. Sometimes we wouldn’t chat for months and then when we finally connected, it felt like we had just spoken the day before. Our conversations were often lengthy and I always felt encouraged after talking to her. When I called her in desperation, looking for advice about a new physician I thought that she would just give me some names or phone numbers. Nope, that’s not the kind of person that she is. Her response floored me.
Me: Hey, it’s me. I need your advice. I’ve gotta find a new doctor. I can’t take this anymore. I am dying here. I can’t even get out of bed. Any suggestions?Rose: Awww honey, that’s awful news! This year has been really rough on you. I am taking you to see my guy down in Melbourne Beach. That’s it. We’re going.Me: Whaddya mean Melbourne Beach? That’s freakin’ 4 hours away from here! I can’t do that.Rose: You’re gonna come to my house the night before, sleep over and then you will lie in the back seat of the car with your pillow and blanket all the way there. You will sleep while I drive and after the appointment, I will drive you back the same way. That’s it. I am doing this for you. No discussion. This guy helped my daughter and now he is gonna help save you.Me: Ummm, are you sure? Do you realize how sick I REALLY am here?Rose: Yup. And I am doing this for you. Got it?Me: Ummm, Ok. If you say so.
There were some slight adjustments to the plan, I didn’t sleep over the night before because I just didn’t feel strong enough to do that and the morning of the appointment my mother drove me the first 30 minutes from our house to a rendezvous point to meet up with Rose’s car but otherwise, it all went as scheduled. I rode in the back of her car all the way to Melbourne Beach but it was so nice to spend time with her that I didn’t get any sleep! We were too busy chatting and catching up.
The doctor’s appointment was incredible. He was a chiropractor that specialized in applied kinesiology using magnets and muscle testing. It was pretty impressive. I had brought samples of the bath products that I use at home, air and water samples from home, all of my medications and supplements and even a sample of the juice that I regularly drink and he was able to tell which items made my muscles weaken. I wouldn’t have believed it unless I was the one lying on the table experiencing it myself. I caught a glimpse of his diploma on the wall and it was from Columbia Institute of Chiropractic which happens to be the most prestigious college for chiropractors in the country so I was feeling pretty confidant that I was not in the hands of a quack.
After two hours on his table, I left there with four supplements and his advice that I could stop taking at least four of the other ones that I had been taking which were doing me no good. His fee was shockingly LOW and I found myself wishing that I lived in Melbourne Beach so I could see him every two weeks! He suggested that I return in six weeks and my beloved friend simply looked at me with a huge grin on her face, nodding her head as if to say that she had already cleared her schedule to bring me back again. I walked out of his little office with a lightness in my heart that I haven’t felt in years. As I walked through the gym where he has his room, I looked down at the cane in my hand and realized that my right hip didn’t hurt. It felt silly to even be carrying it.
We got in the car and started the drive home. Even though I hadn’t slept in 32 hours, I was totally energized and ran my mouth for the entire trip. I don’t know if it was the lack of pain, the joy of finally feeling like there was hope for my future or the simple pleasure of being in the presence of someone who loved me enough to sacrifice her entire day for my well-being but I experienced something that I haven’t felt in a long time….happiness. As I have traveled this road of Chronic Lyme Disease, it has always been the random acts of kindness that have gotten me through the darkest days. Just when I think that I cannot handle any more, someone or something always steps up to lighten my load. This time it was the love of a friend that pulled me through, my dear friend Rose.