A Chiropractors Letter to His Nephew
I was thinking about being a doctor. My mom was telling me a little about chiropractic and I was wondering if you could write me and tell me how school was and then what you do in general. I am really interested and serious. I want to help people that don’t feel good. I also want to be a medical missionary. My mom told me that you don’t just work on any one area of the body but the physical, emotional and spiritual health. I want some details of what your life is like as a doctor and how you help people. Also, what made you decide to be a chiropractor and not a medical doctor?
Write me soon.
I used to think about being a doctor when I was young too. It seemed to me that relieving suffering in others was the best work I could think of. I got a notebook in those days, and decided I would write down all the information about biology and medicine so that when I went to medical school, I would have all the information at my fingertips. My project didn’t last too long because I figured out pretty quickly that there was a LOT of information out there! One notebook wasn’t going to do it.
I kind of lost the idea somewhere once I got to high school. Then I thought I would become an artist. I think it was because I began to realize that there is something deeper in a person than any of the parts that science had found. (True) artists work to communicate their discovery, their vision, of some part of the depths that exist within us all, and share their insight with others. Like all important work, being an artist is a calling and at that time it wasn’t strong enough within me for me to sustain. God had something else for me; I just didn’t know what it was.
I found myself in a hard time when I wasn’t sure what was really important anymore. A lot of young people feel lost for a while. Then I took a job as a clerk in the intensive care unit of a local hospital. I saw people who had become very ill. I watched the love and skills of the nurses take impossible situations and transform them with intelligence and compassion and technology. Within two years I had decided to go to nursing school so that I could make more of a difference in peoples lives too.
Working as a nurse in intensive care units and emergency departments gave me an education in many ways. I learned a lot about medicine but even more about people in tough times. It was a real spiritual education. The longer I worked in hospitals though, the more I began to have doubts about the best way to take care of people. As a nurse I had to follow doctors orders. In life and death situations, the consequences are enormous. Medicine seemed to believe that we are nothing more than the tissues and fluids of our bodies. My experience told me that we are more than our bodies. I had come to realize that the spirit of God is inside each one of us. I realized that we are whole and complete and that using drugs to turn parts of us off only diminished the expression of our spirits. I was gradually beginning to hear what God had in mind for my life.
Please understand that I am grateful to this science of drugs that can save lives in critical times. Medical doctors do so much good work. Drugs can be used to buy some time, allowing the Healer that is inside us to help us recover. But I saw people becoming dependent on drugs as an answer. I saw their lives and their expectations diminish. That didn’t seem like the best kind of health care to me. I started to look for another way to help people. I wanted to find a way to work with the Power of Life and not just shut off parts of people.
Your Aunt Bonnie was suffering at that time from terrible headaches. She went to an upper cervical chiropractor and his adjustment made her headaches go away. I was grateful, but what made me begin to look at chiropractic was talking to the chiropractor. He told me that his work was based on the idea of removing interference to the power of life. He said that when the bones in the top of the spine had become misaligned (out of place), it caused problems for the nervous system. The nervous system runs the body, so problems there can be very serious. Gentle and accurate replacement of the bones to their normal position in the top of the spine removed the interference. We don’t have to make the body run better, we just have to remove the interference and trust the power of life to restore us to health.
After I learned this, I went on to chiropractic school. School was very intense. It takes four years (after college) to get through chiropractic school. The first year or so is very similar to medical school because we are learning all about the body. Then we began to learn how to take care of people without drugs or surgery. After I finished school I went and worked with another chiropractor so he could teach me even more.
Now we have our own office. Bonnie and I work together to help the people who come to see us. Bonnie talks to everyone on the phone and takes care of all the paperwork. She also talks a lot with the people who come in. She helps to make the office a very special place and many people love her very much. I talk with new patients and tell them what I do. We talk about all the things that have happened to them and I take x-rays of their upper spine and head. They have all kinds of problems. Some problems are up near their heads and necks, like headaches and dizziness, but others are further away, like low back pain, digestive problems, and sciatica (pain that runs down the legs). The way I help them is called an adjustment. It is very gentle and sort of hard to do. That’s why I had to study so long to figure out how to do it! Most people get better pretty quickly. We teach them what they need to know to stay out of the office as much as possible! Doctors are supposed to teach people how to stay healthy. The word doctor comes from an old word (docere) that means teacher.
I think we have found a wonderful life. We have been able to help hundreds and hundreds of people. Like your mother said, we try to be of service not just to peoples bodies but also to their emotions and their spirits. Human beings are awesome miracles of God, and helping people to regain their wholeness (the word health comes from the same root as whole) feels like a real blessing everyday.
There are many paths of service to God, and if you meditate and pray, God will show you what he has for you to do. If you are like me, it might take a while, but don’t worry. Hell let you know at the exact right time. If you want to ask me some more questions, let me know. I love you and I’ve always got time for you.