He dyes his hair.
Yep. That was my first thought and first impression of the Alternative Medicine Guy. It's not the worst first impression of a doctor I have ever had. That would go to the tremoring 90-something-year-old guy in Dublin who Asked me what I did for a living, and when I told him I was at school he said "you shouldn't teach. It ages you" I was 15 at the time, so I left there feeling COMPLETELY paranoid about looking old, went straight to the Chemist and bought all the anti-aging products I could afford (which fortunately were very few. I was only 15 and permanently broke. I think I left there with some cold cream and a new soap).
It wasn't even the worst hair first impression of a doctor I have ever had. The first neurosurgeon I consulted with after they found the syrinx had a dog turd confection on his head, which would rival The Donald in all categories except brass balls. I tell you, although it was perfectly formed, it shook my faith in him as a surgeon, because I wondered if it would somehow unwind and dip into the incision during surgery. <shudder> Yes. I think of these things. Don't tell me you don't. You just don't admit to it.
I admit I was not open to forming a good first impression because I was a little cranky. It was a 12pm appointment and I had forgotten to eat lunch. Then I had been left waiting for almost two hours, listening to the guy next to me tell a women with pernicious halitosis his life story, what to eat and not to eat in a lilting southern drawl. I kept waiting for him to say "...and Mints. Lots of mints" but he didn't. So he either had remarkable restraint, an iron stomach or no sense of smell. My money was on the latter, so my faith in the Alternative Medicine Guy was somewhat shaken before I even laid eyes on him. I thought is my sense of smell going to be the tradeoff for treatment? Would treatment be worth it? And I thought if one of the side effects was halitosis like that, and I would be spending a lot of time in that waiting room with a lot of other reeking patients (and I had already figured out that several of them return for treatment multiple times per week), it would likely be obligatory. I would probably beg for it by the third session.
I had wanted to see this doctor because there were a few things on my medical "todo" list that needed crossing off, particularly heavy metals testing and a panel for the remaining vitamins and minerals which had not been tested. I also wanted someone to work with me on *why* I am not processing Vitamin C, rather than just tell me to take mega amounts of it. I had asked #25 about this stuff, and although he has stepped outside of his Board Certified Neurologist box a smidgen, there was no way he was going there with me. He is just too spotty a leopard. Fine. Onto #26: Alternative Medicine Guy.
Now you might think that the dyed hair would make #26 a Matinee idol, but no. Alternative Medicine Guy was warm. He shook my hand like he meant it, and he actually showed curiosity, interest and compassion. He spent time with me, which went a long way to explaining the two-hour wait. He took a detailed medical history, looked at some old test results and more recent bloodwork. He had heard of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Syringomyelia. In fact, he said he treats a lot of EDS patients because he does prolotherapy at the office. I filed that information away for future reference. I may never use it, but who knows? Never say never.
He asked about diseases which had been ruled out by other doctors, and then explained why some of them maybe shouldn't have been ruled out (like Lyme). He explained a lot of stuff very well. And most of all, he listened and he didn't poo-poo any of my concerns.
Then a really interesting thing happened, and I really don't know quite how I managed to time it so: Missing lunch is a pretty big seizure trigger for me. Well, by this time I was hours past breakfast with nothing but a little Emergen-C to sustain me. I had two fits right in front of the guy. Luckily they were very small ones and lasted less than a minute each, but it was kinda weird. The doc was fascinated and kind of horrified "This has been happening for how long?". He then asked a lot about my childhood and places I had lived and worked. He explained having seen a fit firsthand, he thinks my problem may be heavy metal poisoning. "That's what "N" said!" I wanted to exclaim, but I didn't, because he doesn't know her from a hole in the wall.
Instead, I chose the cynical route and the inner monologue: Hmmm. OK I thought ...chelation is probably his biggest money spinner, so he would say that. I offered him some hair to test (I still have some left, but won't after Saturday) and he said that he considered the hair test unreliable. He was going to test nutrition, diseases and other stuff first, have me see his partner who does metabolic and endo work (he was very interested in my hypoglycemia and the correlation between my fits and eating patterns) and then talk about chelation. OK that makes more sense.
I liked the guy, he seems passionate and committed. But then again he seems to have a very nice business going there. Enough to keep him in hair dye for a very long time. I'd be passionate and committed about an earner like that, although I would go for a lighter shade, myself. Even if I had his eyecolor... So I'm not completely sold on the guy. I do want to get all of the testing done, but I wonder what I will do when it all comes back? This place is not covered by insurance. Worst case scenario, I could be talked into trying a whole bunch of experimental and unproven treatments and end up broke but still having fits.
I guess I will just have to do what I do best, muddle on through and figure things out as I go. I have not given up on conventional medicine (honestly, Bill). I had a 24 hour ambulatory EEG a couple of weeks ago. I will be seeing Alternative Medicine Guy on a Tuesday to go over the bloodwork and the endo stuff, and then I will be seeing #6 on that Thursday for the EEG results. I guess I will be making decisions after that. I will probably make another appointment with #25 and talk it over with him, because although he is stuck in his box, maybe evidence will unstick him a little. And it never hurts to have another set of eyes on a problem.
In the meantime, I will be eating lunch on time.