It’s been a bit of a stressful week. Firstly, in a fortnight’s time I’m having a second op on my chest (yes, okay, boob), following a freak accident with a Dyson vacuum cleaner last November. Secondly, and by far the worst, my son is having brain surgery tomorrow morning after relapsing with Trigeminal Neuralgia. Hello hospital…again and again.
TN is an absolutely awful condition where the trigeminal nerve kicks off (reason unknown). The sufferer feels as though they are being stabbed in the face with a knife that’s plugged into the electric mains. Attacks can be random, intermittent, or back-to-back. In my son’s case, they’ve been back-to-back. Two years ago he went under the knife at The Wellington Hospital, in the care of the magnificent Ian Sabin. Apparently relapses aren’t unheard of; it’s more often a case of when rather than if. It’s a pretty daunting thing being just twenty-two years old and wondering if your life will be punctuated by brain surgery. Last week I decided that the definition of torture was watching your child in agony twenty-four-seven.
‘I’ve had enough of this,’ I cried. ‘We need to find something to bring you pain relief until the operation date comes around.’
‘I’m on every drug you can take,’ Rob mumbled. He couldn’t talk properly. Just moving his mouth to speak aggravated the attacks.
‘There has to be something else we can do. There has to be!’
I grabbed my son’s hand. ‘Meditation.’
‘Oh for goodness sake, Mum,’ my son clicked his tongue and promptly had another attack. ‘That might have worked for you, but it’s not my thing. And don’t suggest I talk to the Man in the Sky either. If there is such a being, why am I suffering?’
I get what he’s saying, but Rob doesn’t ‘get’ the reason as to why these things happen. Especially if he won’t meditate upon the question. I took a deep breath. Plan B. ‘What about seeing a hypnotherapist?’ Rob looked at me scathingly. ‘Neuro Lingual Programming,’ I added. Rob perked up. He likes things that sound scientific rather than hocus-pocus. He’s a dentist after all with a medical background.
‘Yes, I’m up for trying that.’
Unfortunately we couldn’t get an appointment until after the operation, which is a bit like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. So Plan C.
‘What about a healer?’ I suggested.
‘Are you mad?’ Rob rolled his eyes, and promptly had another attack. ‘Okay, don’t answer that question. I know the answer.’
‘Why don’t you just try it,’ I suggested.
At that point Rob had such a bad attack he fell over. ‘ARGH! Yes,’ he croaked, ‘yes, yes, yes. I’ll try anything.’
I won’t mention the healer’s name on this page, but if anybody reading this is in a desperate situation and wants to know, please do email me.
We walked into a packed waiting room filled with the smell of burning incense. The walls were lined with photographs of the healer at work. There was a strange makeshift altar with every figure of worship in the world depicted in either framed photographs or model form. The message was obvious. God is there for everyone, no matter what religion you put yourself in. People from all around the world were prostrating themselves on the floor in either meditation or worship. My son’s eyes were on stalks. When the healer walked into the waiting room, everybody immediately knew who he was. After all, it’s not every day you’re greeted by a towering man with flowing grey locks and dressed in a long frock with hairy toes sticking out of Jesus sandals. My son blinked a few times. It was obvious he thought his mother had totally lost the plot along with everybody else in the room. The healer smiled. Everybody’s eyes were upon this man. You could have heard a pin drop. The healer looked at every single person in the room…one by one…still smiling. It suddenly seemed very peaceful. The healer’s eyes stopped on Robbie.
‘Young man,’ he said. ‘I will see you when I manage to see you.’
‘That’s fine,’ Rob warbled. He looked a bit pink in the face.
‘But it wasn’t fine, was it?’ the healer persisted. ‘There is no contract of time with God.’
Rob later told me he’d been sitting there quietly thinking, ‘Hurry up, hurry up, I need to get out of here and back to my exam revision.’
Eventually it was Robbie’s turn. He was asked to lie down on a couch and relax.
‘What’s wrong with you, young man?’ asked the healer.
‘I’m suffering really bad Trigeminal Neuralgia.’
‘Ah. That’s to do with the face, yes? Then we must sort it out.’ And with that the healer pulled out Robbie’s shirt tails and pushed down on an area of the stomach just over the appendix. Robbie howled in pain. ‘That hurts, eh?’
‘Yes,’ Robbie gasped, ‘but that area is nothing to do with Trigeminal Neuralgia.’
The healer ignored Robbie. ‘We must operate.’ And then he began making movements over my son’s abdomen.
‘What the bloody hell are you doing?’ Rob screeched, his face contorted in agony.
‘There is nothing bloody,’ the healer calmly replied. ‘Lie back and relax. I’m nearly done.’
Despite not physically touching my son, Robbie later said he felt as though somebody had sliced open his abdomen, rummaged around in it, pulled something out, and swears he felt a needle going in and out as if being sutured. When he jumped down from the couch, he peered at his stomach and was surprised to see a scar, as if he’d had surgery. The healer didn’t hang around. He still had a packed waiting room.
‘I hope you feel better soon,’ he said. And then he was gone leaving us to sort ourselves out.
‘That was weird,’ Robbie said, peering at his stomach. ‘I don’t know what the heck he was doing but…I felt hands inside me…the whole thing was...is...just weird.’
There was no instant miracle, but by yesterday there was a distinct improvement with the back-to-back attacks reduced to intermittent and a fifty per-cent improvement on severity of pain. That said, Robbie is still having his MVD op tomorrow. But I like to think that by Monday evening, after my son’s op, the Trigeminal Neuralgia will have been put to rights by both conventional and unconventional methods. Which reminds me.
Two women were sitting in a doctor’s waiting room discussing their medical problems.
‘More than anything else in the world,’ said the first woman, ‘I want a baby. However, it looks like it’s not going to be possible.’
‘I used to feel the same way,’ said the second woman. ‘But then everything changed. That’s why I’m here. I’m having a baby in six months!’
The first woman looked astonished. ‘Please tell me what you did.’
‘I went to a faith healer,’ said the second woman.
The first woman looked disappointed. ‘We’ve tried that. My husband and I went to one almost every week, and it didn’t help at all.’
The second woman smiled and whispered, ‘Next time, try going alone…’