Sunday, October 21, 2012

Liver Wind

Back about 20 years ago, Anna went to see a Chinese herbalist. Why not? It was worth a shot.

She came home with a small, brown, paper bag full of what looked like twigs and pebbles and dried leaves and dirt.

The Chinese herbalist said she was suffering from “liver wind.” Too much wind in her liver. His prescription was a special tea. That’s what was in the bag.

So Anna boiled up a pot.  So I tried some, too, in solidarity, even though I didn’t have liver wind. Or maybe I did. Only a Chinese herbalist could tell me for sure.

The tea was as black as shoe polish. And it smelled like shoe polish as it boiled up. And it tasted like shoe polish—shoe polish infused with cigar ashes and dirt. It was unforgettably hideous. Not even dumping in large quantities of honey helped. All that did was make it taste like shoe polish infused with cigar ashes and dirt and large quantities of honey.

And the tea didn’t do any good either. Or at least it didn’t make either one of us jump up out of our wheelchairs and do a leaping Russian dance. We were just as crippled the next morning.

But what if the tea had worked? What if the reason I was crippled all these years really was just because I had too much liver wind and the instant, miracle cure was to drink three cups a day of that tea?
That would have sucked big time! Because then I would’ve faced this big dilemma. Was it really worth not being crippled anymore if it meant drinking another drop of that putrid tea? I don’t think I could’ve done it. That was a too heavy of a price to pay.

 I’ve never been a good “compliant” cripple. That’s what doctors and therapists call them. Compliant. Those are the cripples who spend eight hours a day in a physical therapy gym for years and years, hoping they’ll be cured. They get hooked up to a body harness that hangs from the ceiling above a treadmill. The harness hoists them up out of their wheelchair into a standing position and holds them upright as they lumber on the treadmill. After that they lift weights and play catch with a medicine ball.

And after all that they’re still crippled. But even if it did work, I still couldn’t do it. If I had to spend all day suspended above a treadmill in order to spend the rest of the day not being crippled, screw it. I’d rather be crippled all day.

The whole compliant cripple routine looks so damn tedious. No fun at all. The daily routine of a regular old cripple can be tedious enough as it is. Why would I want tedious free time?

And being a compliant cripple is expensive, too. How about Lourdes, huh?  People save up for years so they can travel to Lourdes and drink the water and come back just as crippled. If I had enough money to take a trip to Lourdes, I sure as hell wouldn’t spend it on a trip to Lourdes. I’d buy my own island or something.

Maybe I’m lazy. Maybe I’m too much into instant gratification. Whatever. I’m having fun.


  1. Thank you. Great article "compliantcripples? everyone gets paid Ot,PT all those f'ers have their hands out

  2. I used to sink $500 a month in co-pays in physical therapy, $60 on parking, and $60 in gas money. That's a lot of money and time. It did no good at improving my condition, and I can do exercises at home that keep me strong.

    So when my son's rheumatologist recommended a program of 40 hours a week of PT for 6 weeks that insurance would not pay a penny of (240 hours at $70+ an hour that we did not have), I said, no, we're going to join the local indoor pool for $300/yr--about 2 weeks of regular PT copays.

    Compliant patients can still work and still have transportation/can drive easily and who haven't used a lot of their insurance. Noncompliant patients are tired, out of money, and skeptical based on experience.

  3. That's $16,800--my multiplication has slowed down. We're still paying on $1200 in coinsurance for his labs (that was 20%!--they way overcharge) and $1500 for his sleep study.

  4. I get your point...I really do. My non-compliant crippled lover has taught me much. However...there is a place for therapy. My big cripple gal would've gone nowhere without it.

  5. My herbologist said I had a "slippery gall bladder". I did drink my "dirt tea" for a good while - like intense black licorice, the taste eventually becomes tolerable - but I became too impatient to stop what I'm doing and heat up water for tea three times a day. And then to have to drink hot tea during the Texas summertime (which lasts from March to November) just became the last straw.

  6. Having been fully abled, working, regular jackass only 3 years ago, the memory of normal is still kind of fresh in my mind. I miss it.

    If it took drinking a cup of liquified shit (sweetened with honey) and a kick in the junk three times a day to be the way I was again, I'd jump at it in a heartbeat.