Insight From the Doctor as a Patient: Are we teaching students what they need to know?

Joseph Kellerstein, DC, ND

I am now in my 56th year of life. I consider myself intelligent, articulate and a rather astute observer. I can meditate. I have done rather well on many exams and intellectual trials. I have a very serious conclusion regarding myself: I am a wimp!

It was at least four years ago that my brother – the dentist (my older, authoritarian, anal-retentive brother who happens to be a superb dentist) – told me that I needed gum surgery and my wisdom teeth removed. I think he turned a rather brotherly screw when he also said it would hurt and, my goodness, would this cost.

True to form, I chewed on this and decided it was best stored at the back of my mind in the “someday” file. Whenever I had a checkup, he would of course slip in “what a shame, you haven’t fixed your gums. I cannot tell you the horrors that wait!”

As it so happens, I also am the proud partner of a dominatrix whose fondest wish is to quietly grieve, with my insurance policy as consolation. So, this year for my birthday celebration, my wife booked me with the periodontist. Now, this should speak volumes, but in the interest of fair play I will not speak to the obvious.

After hearing the rational arguments, I decided to go through with it. The doctor seemed competent … although the way he clicked his heels gave me pause.

I worked through my fears … at least, I worked through a lot of sweats.

It’s funny what happens to you when you see a smiling face headed towards your mouth with a pair of pliers and a scalpel. Something about your lizard brain kicks in. I was proud of myself – I kept smiling and instead managed to divert the stress to a massive contraction of my glutei.

Finally, it was over. I had won. The ND and his arnica had survived, and the day was mine … for about three hours, anyway.

Suddenly I was accosted with a massive ache in the side of my face. Like a true ND, I whined and begged for the ibuprofen. It was this little white bottle that became my savior every 3 hours during the day and about every 2 hours at night. At night I would wake in misery and chills until I could throw back another blessed pill.

Then came Monday. I thought the pain was going to be gone. It was not. The thought of a day full of patients was more than I could bear. Not only patients, but also a preceptor. Just put me out of my misery.

This preceptor has had a lot of experience with homeopathy both here and in the Ukraine as a medical doctor. Wait, that’s it! I’ll (gulp) ask for help in finding a good remedy.

As we talked and she asked me questions that were standard and salient, I realized I had a horrible sore throat. Swallowing was murder. Each time I swallowed, it felt like I was doing so over a flap of raw meat (meaning me). This was worse at night, and when feeling awful I was very chilled.

We checked one program and found the following (see Rubric 1).

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We consulted another program to see if perhaps there were some other remedies in the rubric ”foreign body, sensation – as if skin hanging loose” (see Chart 1).

Based on the severity of the pain and the aggravation in the middle of the night as opposed to early night, the prescription was Mercurius solubilis.

One hour after a few water doses of the 200 potency, my whole body and mind relaxed. No more OTC pain reliever, no more pain.

The moral of the story: I was crazy, first with fear and then with pain. Even as an experienced homeopath, I could not see the remedy clearly without considerable help. Thank goodness for a knowledgeable homeopathic doctor who could make a differential diagnosis.

Isn’t this what we need from our graduates? Isn’t this what we need for our colleagues and patients? Someone sufficiently schooled to research a remedy and prescribe. Is this what our schools are graduating?

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Kellerstein headshotJoe Kellerstein, DC, ND graduated as a chiropractor in 1980 and as an ND in 1984. He graduated with a specialty in homeopathy from the Canadian Academy for Homeopathy, and subsequently lectured there for two years. He also lectured in homeopathy for several years at CCNM; for eight years at the Toronto School of Homeopathic Medicine; and for two years at the British Institute for Homeopathy. Dr. Kellerstein’s mission is the exploration of natural medicine in a holistic context, especially homeopathy and facilitating the experience of healing in clients.

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