My entire family desperately needed a vacation -- this included our four-legged family members as well. It had been many years since we'd gone on a vacation all together, and it was all my fault that we weren't enjoying sunny beaches more often. More specifically, it was my poor health and my fighting off chronic illnesses that led us to be wary of travel.
But, we found an amazing, secluded, very small town in Florida with dog-friendly beaches and were so excited for some relaxing beach vacation fun. My mother had also found out that there was a small Catholic hospital about 15 minutes from where we were staying -- just in case.
After a few days of enjoying the sun and the sand with our puppies, I started having a terrible reaction to a new medication my doctor had prescribed prior to the vacation. I felt like I was having a major panic attack and was out-of-my-skin uncomfortable. I tried to tough through it, but it became apparent that I needed to seek medical help.
After a blurry and drug-induced night in the E.R., I was admitted to the hospital to make sure I was no longer having symptoms. The staff at the hospital were amazing. They set up a bed for my mother to stay with me, they worried about the noise level because there was a baby down the hall (who I never heard), and did everything they could to make me comfortable. The head of the hospital even helped my dad carry my belongings out of the hospital. The staff there was the epitome of southern comfort.
Little did they know, the doctor who was supposed to be taking care of me was making me the most uncomfortable I had been in years.
Being that the hospital was in such a small town, my attending doctor came from his small family practice in the area. Upon meeting him, I wasn't sure whether he was actually interested in what had happened that had brought me to the emergency room the prior night. But after listening to my medical history, he believed he could cure my chronic illnesses I've had for years -- these include my chronic migraine and chronic pancreatitis. He insisted I could be cured in a few days, without surgery, medication, or any western medicine.
This doctor wanted me to undergo hypnotherapy to channel a past life or a repressed trauma I had as a child.
He was adamant about it. He told me that he had met a woman similar to myself and she was so ill because she was repressing a memory of being lost in a Kmart as a child. He told me he was only one of six "doctors" that do this in the country. How lucky was I to be in town for the next few days!
His insistence that he treat me began to escalate. He would wait until my family wasn’t in the room and tell me that maybe my parents were hiding a traumatic event from me. He would find me walking in the hallways -- i.v. pole in tow -- and tell me that I may have done something terrible in a past life and I was being punished in this life with my illnesses. He could help me find out what had happened and my migraines and scarred pancreas would all be healed. He was never clear about how finding out what supposedly happened to me could make me become instantly healthy.
Upon first meeting him, I didn't trust him. He had an incredibly creepy vibe which only increased as he tried to get me alone with him. I instantly knew that I didn't want this man to be screwing around in my subconscious.
I am by no means against alternative medicine. I have had Chinese acupuncture for years and it has helped me with my migraines and other health problems. I am fascinated to learn about alternative medicines that work for other people and how they could possibly benefit my own needs.
However, upon further research when I returned home from the hospital I found some very scary things about how some doctors are scamming patients into past-life regression, and using hypnotherapy to find out past traumas. Catholics relate past-life regression to the occult (I am not Catholic, but I was in a Catholic hospital at the time). I read upsetting stories about "doctors" making up traumas and placing them into their patients' subconscious. This terrified me. I wouldn't want a doctor making me suddenly distrust my family and friends because of a fabricated event that could feel very "real" to me.
But ultimately you should always follow your gut instinct in situations like these. Even if it seems like the doctor has authority over you, he doesn’t. In this case, the doctor saw a family on vacation and dollar signs written all over my body. I am glad I didn’t allow this doctor to bully me into doing something that just didn’t feel right to me. Now, my family and I can laugh about it. It’s always a good story to share with a new therapist to share how much my illnesses haven't always been taken seriously.