Thursday, March 19, 2009
Just What the Doctor Ordered
My relationship with Tibetan medicine dates back to 1994, when, after getting very sick and unable to keep anything down for a couple of weeks, I was admitted into Sha Tin hospital in Hong Kong.
After a week of numerous tests, including a colonoscopy, they fail to identify what the problem is. With horrendous hospital food there is no way my condition is going to improve, and with a flight ticket already purchased to India for a summer vacation, to the amazement of the hospital staff, I discharge myself and head up to Leh, the capital of Ladakh province.
There, I am introduced to a local Tibetan shaman, who after examining my tongue and pulse, identifies the problem and within 10 minutes dispenses me with a weird bunch of twigs and leaves which I am to take in boiling water. Within the week all my symptoms have disappeared and I am well on the way to recovery. Who needs to have a camera stuck up the arse?
Despite my once rather decadent lifestyle I have enjoyed amazing health. Indeed despite working with young students for so many years, I have not taken a day off work through sickness for more than 10 years.
On my return from my sojourn in Nepal, and hiking up to 4500 metres in the middle of Winter, I returned to India with a stinking cold and a cough that could awake the dead. Normally I would take some hot lemon and honey and sweat it out, but here I trust the medical care.
I visit the Men Tsee Khang Tibetan medicine centre in McLeod Ganj where I am seen by Dr. Tsering Tsomo. After multiple pulse readings, she prescribes a series of herbal brown pills to be taken three times a day. She tells me to be patient and promises I will be better in a week. And as if by magic...
In Hong Kong you would be prescribed twenty different pills every colour of the rainbow, to no effect whatsoever.
With the Dalai Lama´s failing health - he has recently been to hospitals in Chandigarh, Delhi and Mumbai. I guess Tibetan medicine must be ineffectual for kidney stones and gall bladders.
K. has always had an interest in Tibetan medicine, and she has been taking individual classes with the eminent Dr. Professor Tsering Thakehoe Drungtso, author of several Tibetan medical books. Several of her classes have had to be cancelled as he is not only a leading light in political matters, but is regularly invited to lecture around the world. He lives just around the corner.