Cure from an unexpected source Although I hadn’t seen him in years, he stopped his truck when he spotted me leaving my mother’s house Sunday after Thanksgiving. Seeing him immediately brought memories of when his younger brother and I were on the wrestling and football teams during high school. Sadly, I reflected on the visit I’d made to his Mom’s house when his Dad had passed away. Like her, he and his younger brother, now a physical therapist, were stoic Presbyterians. Although I recall hearing them assure me that death had come at its appointed time, I was shaken, less supportive of their grief than they of mine.
“How’s your brother?” I asked.
“Fine,” he’d said, “he’s ready to shift to parttime work.”
“And you?” I asked.
“Mostly retired,” he answered. “I’m here visiting my kids. They’re in Mom’s house.”
I knew the house well, but didn’t know he’d inherited it. We talked about a range of things that included updates on my daughters and his, and the possibility of teaming up with him for duplicate bridge. As smart as I knew him to be, I figured he’d make a good partner. We exchanged e-mail addresses, promised to stay in touch.
Although I couldn’t imagine we’d erased a distance created by more than twenty years since seeing each other, I sensed we made much more progress when he appeared unexpectedly at my store the next day.
“I’m not supposed to be here,” he told me. His plans had been to meet a friend the day after. Not until he’d gotten to Danville, an hour after leaving home, did he realize his mistake. “So I thought I’d drop by,” he told me.
Customers came and went, momentarily interrupting our conversation each time. We talked for more than two hours, long enough for us to explore topics neither of us thought of approaching the day before. In detail, because of his ties to the medical profession, I explained my bout with colon cancer; his questions were ones a physician would know to ask. He inquired about the naturopath, Dr. Phenius P. Vincent Buyck, who had treated me almost eleven years ago.
“He passed away, “ I told him, “but I may have a book he wrote about his methodology.”
Unlike most who had heard more sketchy details, he wanted to know much more. “He may have something that’ll work for me,” he’d said.
He went on to describe an illness, renal failure, that had begun its progression toward being terminal. I rushed to hunt for the book.
Because of my recent move, I knew that finding it was unlikely. Although I needed to be downstairs in my store instead of up where Dr. Buyck’s book may have been hiding on one of my many bookshelves, I didn’t hesitate to pursue my search. Hadn’t I seen it a few days before? Where did I set it?
I couldn’t remember. That wouldn’t do, I told myself. His interest was genuine; he’d told me about a trusted physician who practiced naturopathy in Mexico, a man, he said, he trusted implicitly. That man, my friend told me, had been persecuted, forced into hiding, disappeared. What I sensed was that my friend needed the Mexican doctor as much as I had Dr. Buyck eleven years ago. What I hadn’t realized was that my friend may have been disguising his desperation.
Instead of finding my only copy of Nature to the Rescue, The Root Doctor Speaks (The Naturopathic Treatment Guide Series, Volume One, Part One), I found a copy of what had been a lifesaving text for me years before my colon cancer. That book, Good Health Through Special Diets by a world class herbalist, Hannah Kroeger, had been the text that had led me to being pro active regarding serious issues of personal health. Thanks to my brother, I had met the saintly Kroeger at her herb shop in Boulder years earlier. Like so many others, I had waited in line to see her, to talk with her.
Although I was cured completely thanks to her advice, my condition and my friend’s were different. Still, I thought her book would stimulate him. “Try this,” I said, “I’ll let you know when I find the other one.”
Eagerly he read through the book as I helped customers. Thirty minutes later, he handed it back to me. “I’ve found something I think will help,” he told me.
We shook hands, said goodbye. It wasn’t the same as the day before. There was an urgency I hadn’t expected to find. From then, until now, I couldn’t stop thinking of locating Dr. Buyck’s book. Adding to my dilemmawere Dr. Buyck’s final words as he lay dying. “Where I’m going,” he told me, “I’ll be able to help a lot more people and with a lot less trouble.” He’d been hounded by the AMA and by exorbitant increases in his malpractice insurance although there’d never been a claim filed against him.
All of that has followed me for the past thirty hours. Occasionally, I’d review my search. Strangely, I was less and less frenzied. Ten minutes ago, I discovered why.
On a crowded shelf between a few unrelated books, I found Nature to the Rescue!
B. Koplen 11/29/11
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