An Ignorant Layman is also A Quack
In my last post, I mentioned “quack”. Now, does it include a layman who medicates himself/herself? I would say it does, if not all the time, then many a time.
Years ago, I suffered from a left shoulder pain. It was caused, probably, by carrying my mum in my arms to and from clinics and hospitals for her medical appointments. After she departed us to meet her Creator (May the Almighty Bless her Soul!), I massaged myself. After a week of self-medication, the pain multiplied, and my arm was locked. The problem rendered me not able to look after my personal hygiene. It was later diagnosed in the hospital as a frozen shoulder. Many years later, in this foreign land, I was asked by my supervisor to machine-buff the floor of a store. After the 2 hours of work I knew I had pulled my lower back muscles. I massaged the painful area and the next morning I found myself not able to lift my right leg with pain running down my leg from my buttock. The whole leg was numb and for a moment I thought I was paralysed. How I went through those agonising months of pain and survived will be shared in my coming posts.
In the course of my work, I have come across several similar cases. There was this young man who came to see me for a stiff neck problem. He pulled his muscles on the right side in a gym and he massaged himself. The next day when he visited me it was already a bilateral problem – both sides were locked. Next was this man who came to me for a lower back problem. He had earlier thought it would go away by massaging himself. The problem instead spread to his buttock and he could neither walk nor sit without pain or difficulty. The third one visited me also for a back problem. He did not massage himself but had earlier on asked his toddler son to walk on his back to relieve his back pain. The problem aggravated. There were a few other cases where their wives or loved ones turned their problems into nightmares.
So, “Look Before You Leap.”
A Professional versus A Quack
In my earlier post, I talked about Holistic Therapy in which I touched on natural therapists among other things. Simple and easy as it sounds and appears, but do not be mistaken, for looks can be deceiving! It takes years of learning, practising, self-testing and sharing to become a professional who can help and dispense. Watching YouTube, without going through the mill, will only make one no more than a quack.
That brings me to today’s chat, “A Professional versus A Quack – In the Hand of a Professional, It Helps, but, In the Hand of a Quack, It Exacerbates”
One day, decades ago, while I was in Malaysia, I had an encounter with a quack in Rawang, a small town in Selangor. I twisted my right ankle while playing handball there. When the game ended, I consulted a school teacher there who said he could massage my sore ankle the traditional way. Half an hour after the treatment, my ankle doubled in size and turned purplish. I walked in to see him unaided but I could hardly walk out after that, let alone drive home. A herbalist attended to me later in Kuala Kubu Baru, another small town.
Years after that, I had another painful encounter with this quack ‘specialist therapist’ in Hulu Langat, a small village in Selangor. I injured my right ankle while working. Overall, I was alright except that dull pain in the ankle. I could perform my daily chores without problems. One day, through a friend, I consulted that “specialist” to heal me. I walked in to see him unaided but after 30 minutes of treatment, I came out with clutches. That quack massaged my foot like a bull with his foot and a piece of wood under my foot. An x-ray later revealed that the quack had fractured my bone. An orthopaedic surgeon from Kajang, Selangor, attended to me. I was ‘out of service’ for 3 months.
The question now is – Can we get a genuine professional?
The answer is – Yes, but a bit difficult. This is because, out there, almost every therapist says he/she is certified and qualified.
Even if we get one finally, many of us would not seek his/her service because by nature, we are “Penny Wise Pound Foolish.” “If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.”
Necessity is the Mother of Invention
I come from Malaysia, a country where traditional and spiritual medicines thrive and almost one and all accept them. They are passed on from generation to generation and were very popular decades ago due to the scarcity of modern hospitals and doctors, ignorance, lower cost and easy availability. Do they serve the populace? I think they did at one point of time.
I had a granddad from China, who too was a “sinseh”, or a traditional therapist. All in one, he was a dentist, a massage therapist and an herbalist. As a child, my siblings and I, would watch him brew his medicines in our backyard. But out of bound to pregnant ladies because it was a taboo. We would then follow him to attend to his patients or peddle his wares.
After he passed away, none of us had the skill or interest to continue his work. We ended up hardly able to help ourselves when the need arose. I regretted very much during a time when I could not help my own parents and other family members who were in pain. The turning point came when I landed in a foreign country.
I was a menial worker. The hard work gave rise to musculoskeletal problems which at times crippled me. Doctors I went to advised me to rest and to take painkillers. I could not help myself and my loved ones who too, due to stress, needed attention. Many a time, I too could not lend a helping hand to my colleagues who were down with work related pain. I felt so useless and regretted for not learning the rope from my granddad while he was alive. And that was the breaking point. I started the journey to where I am now, although I have still a lot to learn.
So, out of necessity, I plunged into complementary and alternative medicines to find or invent a cure. I studied holistic therapies in colleges in the UK. I furthered my studies by taking up other courses over time and I am continuing my quest for more knowledge in this field. Learning never ends. There is nothing more valuable than a smile from somebody you have helped.
I shall from now, over several instalments, come up with posts on my past bitter encounters with pains and how I managed them eventually. It will take me back in time decades ago until now. Pain comes and go as we live our lives. Nothing is more pleasurable than to see yourself able to help yourself and others.