One hypochondriac's venture into homeopathic healing

Sunday, September 27, 2015 - 7:17pm

There are few things I loathe more than my sinuses. As unpredictable as Michigan weather and as capricious as my spending habits, my nasal chambers are likewise among my tragic flaws — that along with being the offspring of a hypochondriac and a practicing physician (read: I’m a de facto over-informed nervous wreck when it comes to all things disease).

When the congestion struck last week, I shied away from my rote scanning of WebMD’s symptom checker and turned to the Daily Arts desk for medicinal advice — yeah, I was that desperate. Among the run-of-the-mill suggestions of my counterparts (“Get lots of rest! Drink fluids! Call your mom!”), a voice of homeopathic reason surfaced.

This ally of a Senior Arts Editor seemed under an uncharacteristically maternal trance as she spent a full eight minutes focused on my impending wellness trajectory.  She recommended I visit the People’s Food Co-op in Kerrytown — the alleged Ann Arbor health oasis. She jotted down her homeopathic musings and fully ignored my skepticism. She rattled off various herbal supplements, micro and macrobiotic rich foods, and teas she swore by. She rapidly questioned my health history and eating habits as I pondered her lack of a medical degree. She applauded my consumption of ginger and seaweed salads, but she shuddered at my gluten and dairy-laden diet with a rhetorical health ultimatum, only to inquire, “Do you want to get better?”

I let her talk and listen to herself for a hot second, but then, unsuspectingly, something about her outlook appealed to me. Though I often approach my illnesses with a routine pragmatism — doctor, prescription, repeat — I was tempted to abandon my trusted methods. In my head, my fleeting teenage status seemed sufficient rationale. And yet, the more I listened to her blasphemy, the more tokens of wisdom I vowed to cash out at the co-op. This alternative means of healing had its own brand of practicality. Turning to nature made sense, and though I had no intentions of acclimating to a full-on Emersonian lifestyle, an unrefined, non-commercial means of healing seemed a more feasible rebellion than getting tatted up. And besides, I trusted her strong jawline — a result of admirable discipline and devotion to facial yoga.

So to be spontaneous and carefree in the hopes of it radiating some allure, I did the characteristically uncharacteristic thing: I decided not to pick up my prescriptions and rather follow the advice of my temporary healer.

Toting my list of all things natural, I approached the co-op threshold with a slight hesitation, but then I kept hearing those words: “Do you want to get better? Do you want to get better? Do you want to get better, Caroline?”

Though I suspected the market to be a combination of hole-in-the-wall fruit stands and spice emporiums, I was pleasantly surprised by its normalcy — a standard grocery store layout and an above average produce selection with the enticing additions of a hot food bar and adjunct café. Sure, I was taken aback at the organic cat food, but the remaining selection was positively intriguing.

It was an easy feat as I perused the aisles, finding my editor-endorsed products in a matter of minutes. As I strolled home, still resonating with the voice of perpetual doubt in my head, I silently swore not to gauge my health progress for at least a week.

Within days, I saw the light, the one I assumed mentally obstructed my Editrix and others whom I’d assumed fell victim to that naturalistic shit … sorry, phooey. As I popped supplements of concentrated garlic, brewed green tea around the clock, simmered and sipped miso soup, munched on nori and irrigated my nasal passages as necessary, my sinuses cleared along with my mind. Less than a week into my homeopathic practices, I was left with nothing more than a lingering sniffle.

Though I won’t advise skipping a doctor’s appointment in times of serious somatic setbacks, for seasonal bouts of colds and coughs, I’ll continue to trust my off-beat Editrix and head to the People’s Food Co-op when I want to get better.