Adventures in Alternative Medicine… and some other stuff from Heidelberg

This story starts a long time ago. It was probably dark and stormy, too. It wasn’t at night, though. I was at school. For the purpose of your visualization, it was before I hit that awkward hair stage, and I was still cute (pig tails, all of my front teeth were visible, the lighting was… well, it was flourescent lighting, but use your imagination!). We had to line up and stand this way and that way, and then they (probably a nurse or something, but I don’t really remember that part) told you if you needed a follow-up with a doctor. That’s right, we were getting screened. Vision, hearing, and scoliosis. I could see perfectly (back then), but my hearing wasn’t worth a darn (really, I promise, I am not intending to ignore you, it’s just a happy side effect) and I had scoliosis.

I suspect I was a bit older at the time this story began than I am here (the short red-head, the story of my life), but I know I was just as cute on that fateful day… I probably smiled more, though. And my hair was longer. But anyway, you get the drift.

After determining that I shouldn’t have to go through being “that kid,” nothing more was really done about it (the scoliosis, I mean – treatment would have involved a back brace or surgery, which could have brought on the awkward hair phase a lot earlier – nobody wants that!; I continued going to see my ENT like he was my best friend, but I still can’t hear worth a darn). In any case, I turned out ok. In fact, I had completely forgotten that the whole screening thing ever happened! Until one fateful day…

Mid-January several years ago, and it was cold (the worst things always happen when it is cold; it was probably dark and stormy again)… and suddenly I couldn’t walk. My back was killing me. I thought it was literally killing me, but come to find out, it was a figurative murder. Blah blah blah, pain, pain pain, whoa! My spine is in line with my hip! That hurts! I found a chiropractor who just about saved my life (again, I thought I was being murdered). It took a while, but lo and behold, I even started running again. Yay for running! And yay for chiropractic!

After being here about a month, I decided that I needed to line up a chiropractor here, more as a preventative thing than anything else, but I was starting to feel that old familiar twinge. The relocation people gave me a name and number, and I called diligently for a week, in spite of feeling intimidated by their website (listing therapies including phlebotomy (for detoxification of the blood), colonic irrigation (needs no further explanation), and “brain scanner therapy”), but was only able to get an apparently pre-recorded message in German telling me who knows what. I called the relocation lady and explained the dilemma, and she agreed to call on my behalf and see what was up. Literally 3 minutes later, I had an appointment with another doctor in town (she learned that the original guy was going to be out of town for several more weeks). Yesterday was D-day.

Heilpraktiker=alternative practitioner; I’m not too sure about ozontherapie or neuraltherapie, but I was ONLY there for the chiropractic… I thought.

I found my way there (down an alley and through a door in the back), and after some initial confusion (the admin lady doesn’t speak English at all and had minimal patience for my limited German, which admittedly was sprinkled with English words when I got flustered), I was in the doctor’s office. Again, I stood this way and that, and he told me that my scoliosis wasn’t doing too badly – “your spinal bones are mostly straight”. Unfortunately, however, my right leg is 3cm shorter than my left leg! HOW ON EARTH have I lived this long without ever knowing that my legs were so different? How has no other doctor ever noticed this? After some encouragement to try an orthopedist for shoe inserts (which, he says, may not work at my age; I’m so old per the chiropractor in Germany), he fixed the spinal misalignments (oh, how I missed my Dr. D., my Russian chiropractor in Atlanta, with his fancy tables that make feeling better such a pleasure) using my own body as a tool to leverage against myself. And then… the real adventure began. He pointed out that my hip (the source of my current and most frequent discomfort) was swollen due to the differences betwixt my legs, and that he had a method for relieving said swelling. And then, just like that, I was introduced to the art (or science?) of cupping. Fire cupping for those of you in the know. He put some kind of oil all over my mid and lower back, lit a piece of gauze (saturated in alcohol) on FIRE, and stuck it on my back. He warned me, “you will have the blue marks. About a week. Feel better.” I showed Mike, and much to my concern, he started laughing WHILE grabbing the camera:

Welcome to the wild and wonderful world of cupping. Dude….. (and they still aren’t blue, fyi)

So… orthopedic shoe things and bruises all over my back. Dare I return?

Meanwhile, Mike lost interest in the abuse of my back when he found this in our back yard:

Fancy meeting you here…

All of that AND we started German language classes yesterday, too! Who said that Mondays were boring? The language class was interesting (we didn’t do very much past what I’ve learned through Rosetta Stone just yet, but we’ll get there)! Mike and I were 2 of the 4 Americans in the class, and I think we were outnumbered by the Iranians in the class. There were several Iranians, several Iraqis, an Ethiopian, a Bulgarian, a couple of guys from Poland, and several others that I either can’t remember or couldn’t read the name of their country (as in they wrote the name of their country in letters I didn’t recognize and couldn’t understand). Mike made a friend of one of the Americans – a guy from Michigan! (unfortunately, according to Mike, he is a Spartan; oh well… can’t win ’em all…)

Not to mention that we had a drastic improvement in the salsa department! Whoa! What a day… We took our abominable salsa (you remember, the one that is a nasty imitation of ketchup?), added a can of tomatoes, real tomato, real pepper, and spices… voila! Edible! Not excellent, but good. With homemade black bean and rice burritos. Not bad, friends, not bad. 🙂

In light of the strange and wonderful things (please note, I have yet to decide whether the things that are strange were also wonderful; these may be adjectives describing unique entities) that filled Monday, in spite of it’s dubious beginnings, I’ll leave you with these pictures from Heidelberg:

Made in Trollhätten? By trolls? I want one!

227000L of wine…

The clock tower at the castle in Heidelberg; very cool hands!

A view from the castle veranda.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. I don’t know how clearly you can see this, but the tower literally was cut in 1/2 and the other half is upside down in front of the upright half. It was pretty cool… apparently this happened during a little spat with the French. Or a lightening strike. Both did significant damage to the castle.

Looking back towards the castle from the garden. The Heidelberg castle comes with such an interesting history: Heidelberg was known to exist back in 1196, after Conrad was made Count of Palatine (by his 1/2 brother; nepotism alive and well), and lived where the castle is now. Several years later, in 1214, someone else was living there, and they got the castle from the French. A few years later, a guy named Rupert was made king, but the castle was too small for his posse, so he had to camp out at the monastery, but ordered the castle to be enlarged and fortified. In the 1500s, Martin Luther hung out there while in town to defend one of his theses, and he thought it was pretty cool. In the early 1600s, the Protestants and the Catholics weren’t getting along, and it was this castle, and its ownership, that triggered the 30 years war. Since then, it’s seen a bunch of wars and was in some serious need of remodeling, but since it was such a tourist place to go (everyone from Mark Twain to Victor Hugo), they decided that they would keep it. Well done, I say, well done in deed.

When your neighbor is one of the top tourist attractions in Germany, I guess there is a little keeping up with the Jones’s pressure…

Mike was aiming for an artsy shot here (and there is one version of this picture that really gets the whole moody light thing, but I wanted to show off how totally European my outfit was – all purchased in the US; I feel most European when I’m wearing those pants and my Cons).

The entrance to the old (pedestrian) bridge in town (they don’t do halfway here, people); several sections of the bridge were destroyed during WWII, but have since been rebuilt.

We had dinner at a café along the river Neckar, complete with cozy blankets to keep me warm and adorable chandeliers that look like they came right off of Pinterest. (I jest, at least a little bit)

Zwiebelkuchen und Neuer Wein (essentially an onion quiche and Beujoilais) are specialties of the region. Mike enjoyed it immensely… Myself, I enjoyed my stuffed Eggplant rather tremendously…

It isn’t just in the U.S., folks, Christmas comes early here, too!

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7 thoughts on “Adventures in Alternative Medicine… and some other stuff from Heidelberg

  1. Holy Smokes! I was looking at the picture of your back imagining that it was some sort of residue, like that brown stuff they wipe on you at doctor’s offices… hydrogen peroxide’s cousin or something. That these would WASH OFF. And then I clicked on the Wikipedia link to find that those are bruises from all the blood being sucked to those areas. WOAH. And I love the blue pants! And the picture of you Mike took while sitting is very fun, but the one of you in front of wine seems a bit blurry. (This is mostly me trying to give a little elbow jab to Mike. Just for fun.) And the Christmas coming early thing is totally blowing me away! I mean, I had always assumed that it was simply part of our American, buying-tons-of-stuff culture that brought it upon us before October has even begun, but seeing that it’s in Germany too has me in quite the thought complex. mmmmm…

    • I was completely stunned about the Christmas thing too. Did I tell you it’s at Ikea and a BUNCH of stores? It is… I guess they don’t have the Thanksgiving marker that I hold somewhat sacred (let there be no Christmas until Thanksgiving has had it’s due), but still… They can’t wait for Halloween?

      Just so you know… the marks are still there. A little less vivid than they were on Tuesday, but definitely still there. No washing these babies off! I don’t think I gave much air time to the sensation of all of the cups being on my back (even as I tried to imagine what THAT looked like, 8 cups stuck to my back, sucking a lump of skin/flesh up in them?), but it was the weirdest thing. WEIRD. Like it was pulling everything really tight, and I wondered if I was able to breath deeply, and at the same time, really relaxing. And a little pinch-y. Weird.

  2. I just love your posts. I’ve hear about the procedure that was done on your back. It’s essentially huge hickies!!

    • That is exactly what it looks like. Perfectly round hickies. I think that is what Mike thought was so funny! 🙂 It’s getting a little bit less bright, but it still looks like a mess back there…

  3. Hmm. That’s all I can say about the fire cup thing. I’ve heard of it before and am still undecided about how I feel about it.

    I love that shot of you in the blue pants. Not only the photo itself (good composition), but also the blue pants. I’m really feeling the bright colors lately!

    Yay for passable salsa, also! And blankets provided for outdoor seating. That’s really such a lovely idea.

    Slowly catching up on the posts!

    • I can’t believe that I’d never seen outdoor blankets for cafe seating. It’s so lovely and so practical, I just do not know why I haven’t thought of it or seen it before.

      I’ll pass along your photograph compliment to Mike, and thank you for the style endorsement! I got those pants 2 days before we left (for some reason, it seemed unfathomable to me that I should arrive in Europe without a bright pair of pants), and I ABSOLUTELY love them! I want more colors!!

  4. Pingback: The Story of How I Coughed My Way Out of a Ticket, and a Roma Preview | Mike and Anne Marie's Adventures

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