Dying to Heal, a Novel: A Personal Note from a Co-Author June 22, 2011Posted by rwf1954 in Alan Fluger, alternative medicine, chiropractic, chiropractors, health care system, Richard Warren Field.
Tags: Alan Fluger, alternative medicine, chiropractic, chiropractors, health care system, Richard Warren Field
I have been blessed with great health. (Yes, I just knocked on wood at about five different places.) I have courted it—no doubt. I’ve exercised my entire life, and am conscious of what I eat, indulging in unhealthy guilty pleasures in moderation. But as I move through my 50s, and approach my 60s, health is becoming an issue. My right knee will not let me exercise the way I used to. The doctor has been telling me to drop about fifteen to twenty pounds that won’t come off, and that my cholesterol and blood pressure are borderline—out comes his prescription pad.
“Middle age” has arrived. Time for the drugs? I have spent most of my adult life resisting medications. In my 20s, when I broke my thumb playing softball, the orthopedist whipped out his prescription pad. “What’s that for?” I asked. “Pain.” I told him to put the pad away. There wasn’t near enough pain for heavy drugs. I don’t even drink. The last time I indulged in any sort of herbal stimulation was back in the mid-1980s, and that was only once or twice since the mid-1970s. I stopped taking even simple pain relievers about fifteen years ago. I wasn’t going on heavy drugs without a fight. I used diet and lifestyle changes to bring those dangerous numbers down (though they keep changing the “acceptable” numbers for cholesterol). I’m still not on those drugs, still fighting them off, still refusing to be one of those people with a seven compartment plastic pill dispenser, one for each day of the week.
Here I am, bucking medical advice, going on personal instincts. After all, blood pressure medicine is almost a family tradition. But there are times in life when the right person appears at the right time—years before would have been too soon to appreciate, and years later would have been too late. That person for me is Dr. Alan Fluger, Doctor of Chiropractic. Our association started off as a friendship. Rick and Carrie meeting with Alan and Marian for dinners, sharing stories about family and work—and about health. I popped off about my struggles to stay off the drugs. Little did I understand at the time that my friend Dr. Fluger heals people, and most importantly maintains their health, without drugs. That is his life’s work. Before knowing Dr. Fluger, I thought of chiropractors as people who took care of auto accident victims, doing hocus-pocus on their necks and backs, and billing insurance companies for it. But my anti-heavy prescription drug rants resonated with Alan, and he approached me to collaborate on a novel.
To write the novel that would become Dying to Heal, I had to learn about chiropractic. What I learned amazed me. Here is an approach to health that emphasizes maintaining health as opposed to attacking illnesses when they arrive. Yes, a healthy spine is the essence of the discipline. But chiropractic has expanded to include all sorts of non-intrusive natural health maintenance and remedies. I got treated myself—my whole family started going. My teenage children were never required to go—they wanted to go because they experienced the benefits.
So I learned about chiropractic, and Alan and I crafted a novel that took a key character on a journey from so-called “mainstream medicine” to so-called “alternative medicine.” As part of the effort, I researched the current health-care system—yes, the system that is now such a hot political issue. We melded information about chiropractic care with comments about the entire system. Preventative care is cheaper and healthier. If we can we engage the free market with health care, people will opt for the preventative care. The “alternative” will become the “mainstream.” (These ideas are offered in detail in an essay co-written by Dr. Fluger and me: “An Overlooked Answer to Our Healthcare Dilemma”). Dying to Heal offers the ideas with the entertainment of story.
This is a project I never would have chosen for myself. I used to comment that the health-care system was not an issue I felt much passion about. Now thanks to my own personal journey, and Dr. Fluger’s key place in that journey, I do feel passionate about it! Non-intrusive care first. Harmonize the system with that approach. That passion is reflected in Dying to Heal. There are armies of competent, dedicated chiropractors “dying to heal” the population (and to maintain their health). And when drugs and surgery are overused, patients are sometimes also “dying” when trying “to heal.”