We made it to McLeod just in time, for Austin was concerned that David was about to expire. His general malaise had persisted through most of the month of December despite his best efforts to rest and recover. Indeed, his dizziness and fatigue had left him with little interest in much else besides rest. But he’d been postponing a doctor’s visit until our return to McLeod where he’d be able to visit an amchi, or doctor of Tibetan medicine.After meeting our hosts and friends at Tendrel Travel again, a visit to the amchi was the very first thing on our to-do list. David hoped to be cured from his monthlong illness and, although Austin was feeling fine, she decided to do something about the persistent foot fungus she’d been toting around the globe.A consultation with the amchi in McLeod means going to the Men-Tsee-Khang Tibetan Medical and Astro Institute. There one can meet with a monk or nun trained in traditional Tibetan medicine. The particular amchi we visited was a MD as well. The clinic accepts walk-ins and charges no fee for the doctor’s visit. The visit always begins with the amchi reading the patient’s pulses in both wrists. The amchi sometimes also performs a tongue reading. Based on this information the doctor is able to make a diagnosis and decide on a course of treatment for the patient. This often involves dietary changes and a series of herbs, but may include cupping therapy, acupuncture, or other treatments.Before seeing the doctor for the first time, David enjoyed a breakfast of fried eggs and coffee. Upon taking his pulses and reading his tongue and with no further information offered by David, the amchi instructed David to avoid fried eggs and coffee. He was given a course of herbs and was told to return in seven days for a check-up. He began to improve within the first day or two of treatment and thankfully returned to his normal self quite quickly.
Upon entering the doctor’s office, Austin explained that she’d been having a skin problem on her foot and offered to show the doctor. The amchi inspected Austin’s foot without great interest and proceeded to take her pulses. She asked how long this had been a problem and when Austin reported with some embarrassment that it had been almost two years, the amchi shot her a frosty glare. This nun was clearly not impressed. After a couple weeks of taking the prescribed herbs Austin was pleased to see that her long-established fungus seemed to have completely cleared up.Shortly after arriving in McLeod, Fodenvensel Studios again became a party of three. Austin’s longtime friend, Sandi, joined us for a few weeks and even joined our volunteer efforts at [Tendrel Travel]. Sandi had arrived in McLeod with her own complaints of longterm ailments and decided to visit the amchi as much for a cultural experience as for a solution to her pains. An avid rock climber, Sandi had been living with persistent shoulder pain for many months, the result of training hard without proper recuperation. To some extent she had accepted the persevering pain as a part of her life and didn’t necessarily expect that the amchi would be able to do much for her. Sandi visited the same amchi that we had seen, the severe nun who doled out harsh caffeine restrictions and scowls with her prescriptions. Sandi’s visit included an acupuncture treatment, a first for her. Then she received a prescription for a course of herbs and was sent on her way. Shortly thereafter Sandi noted that she was feeling some very intense sensations in her back and shoulder. The sensations grew into pain, and the pain grew more and more intense until finally, a couple hours later, Sandi decided she had better consult the amchi again and find out exactly what that nun had done to her.
When Sandi told the nun about her new, more severe pain, the nun asked Sandi if she had taken her first dose of herbs. When Sandi admitted that she hadn’t yet, the nun took the opportunity to apply a liberal dose of reprimands for not following the treatment protocol. The nun then performed a cupping treatment on the back of Sandi’s neck. It didn’t alleviate the pain, which Sandi was told was a normal reaction to acupuncture, but did leave a beautifully colored, full moon shaped bruise which only seemed to make the abuse more visible. Over the next week, Sandi’s pain grew less intense every day as it moved its way north from her shoulder along her spine to her neck, until one day she woke up completely free from pain or tightness. Sandi has since coined a term to describe our amchi’s icy yet effective bedside manner:
verb To utterly perplex or disconcert another while executing a delightful outcome.
noun A perplexing scenario which ultimately leaves one feeling elated
While David and Sandi can happily report being cured of their respective maladies, Austin has recently found that she is still hosting a companion on the road. In fact, her fungus has decided to take up blogging to share its own unique perspective of our world travels together.