Anyone in their 40's who says that age is just a number is either (1) spending a small fortune on cosmetic surgery, or (2) dating a twenty-year-old.
I am currently forty-one and for the most part, I feel pretty good. However, I've got to admit that maintaining my health and physical appearance has NEVER been harder. If my body were a car, I'd say that it still runs decently but it sure as hell spends a lot of time in the shop these days.
I was recently telling a woman how my body has been banged up with all these little nicks and dents. I had a non-cancerous cyst on my forehead that needed to be removed. My sinuses have been a mess all winter. I sprained an ankle that has limited my mileage on the treadmill. I haven't been sleeping well. My appendix was removed several months ago. And last week, I was in the OR to have an abscess surgically excised. Also, for some reason, my body seems to have developed an insatiable craving for burgers and soup dumplings.
The woman turned to me and said, "Have you ever thought about alternative medicine or New Age treatments?"
Now, when it comes to my health, call me crazy but I'm generally a firm advocate of good old-fashioned, traditional, mainstream, science-based, corporate-funded, evil Western medicine.
Got a headache? Take two Advil.
Stomach feeling a little queasy? Throw down some Pepto.
Anything more serious and I'm in a taxi headed uptown to my Park Avenue diagnostician, a medical genius who has more degrees than a rectal thermometer. If I'm lucky, he'll dismiss me with a prescription for some Vicodin. But if it's anything that could be major, he's known me long enough to know that I'm going to need a team of guys in white lab coats with fancy degrees and even fancier beach houses. When it comes to my health, I'm going with the pros. In times of a serious health crisis, there is no need to be messing around with alternative medicine.
I know I'm not the only one who feels like that.
You ever see what happens when a medical epidemic hits India or Tibet? I don't know about you but it sure does seem like a lot of people are shoving grandma out of the way to get to one of those Red Cross tents.
Whether it's a medical emergency or not, I just don't see how having a patchouli-scented shaman instruct me to drink shark cartilage tea, snort palmetto, and chew deer penis beef jerky is going to have any impact on my overall health. Call me a product of my upbringing.
I don't know.
Maybe part of the reason that I'm not a proponent of alternative medicine is because I barely even understand the jargon.
To me, Ginkgo Biloba is the name of that city in Spain with the new art museum. Aromatherapy is when you fart in a bathtub. And a homeopathic is a male nurse who touches you in funny places.
Anyway...when I asked the woman what types of alternative medicine she would recommend for me, she immediately replied "Acupuncture and Colonics."
I think it was Dennis Miller who once said that acupuncture basically works on the principle of distraction. You're not going to feel the arthritis in your knee when someone is ramming a giant needle in the nape of your neck. It's the same reason your nose never itches when your ankle is caught in a steel bear trap.
As for colonics, the thought of having high-pressure water irrigated into my coin slot sounds about as appealing as running nude sprints with a catheter in my johnson.
But as wary and cynical as I am, I do always pride myself on having an open mind. Basically, I'll give anything a try once. I'm generally a big believer in the philosophy that life is too short to be afraid of trying new things.
So with that thinking in mind, I admit to all of you that I have started experimenting with alternative medicines. (I don't mean actually taking them myself, I mean pretending I've taken them with great success and then recommending them to my friends so they'll take them...and I can see whether they really do work.)
Actually, I can't find any friends gullible enough to believe me. Apparently I run with a pretty cynical crowd. Surprise!
So, next week, in the name of science, I am scheduled for a round of colonics, an acupuncture session, and a juice-cleansing herbal consultation. I'll keep you posted on all the details. Wish me luck.
While there's a part of me that hopes it works, there's also a bigger part of me that hopes it doesn't. Why? Because in the back of my mind, I'm fairly certain that colonics are a gateway drug to yoga. And as Vishnu is my witness, there is nothing more annoying than a person who does yoga. I'll get into that in another post.