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I can't tell you how much money I have spent out-of-pocket on alternative health care. I can't tell you because I haven't tracked it. I mention this because I really want to be able to demonstrate in dollar signs and numbers just how stupid I feel right now.
I have not always felt stupid about alternative medicine. On the contrary, I only started feeling stupid when I read the blog post Let Us All Praise Medical Woo. That post made me realized that 15 years ago I got suck into a branch of the healthcare system that appealed to my unmet medical needs, talked a good game, but ultimately delivered little in the way of health, care or results.
I shouldn't feel stupid. Even the Federal government has allocated money to alternative medicine via the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Plus I am in good company. Turn out consumers spend $34 BILLION dollars out-of-pocket on things like acupuncture, therapeutic touch and nutritional supplements.
So earlier this year when I was still feeling like I wasn't getting sufficient treatment for my chronic pain and fatigue through traditional medicine, I turned to alternative healthcare again.
My search lead me to a chiropractor who said he could help my fibromyalgia. He certainly said all the right words and demonstrated a technique on me during the free consultation he offered that convinced me he knew what he was doing. Then we got to the nitty-gritty. He wanted me to pay him up front for 26 sessions up front, offering to bill my insurance so I could get reimbursed after each visit.
Convinced he could really help me, we started to figure out how to get the money together to pay him.
Then just before my first appointment, I badly twisted my ankle and wound up in a walking boot. I called to postpone my first appointment. Much to my surprise, he wouldn't let me cancel the appointment. He said to me, "Well you need to find someone to bring to you to your appointment. Call your family and friends." Taken aback, I told him I doubted I could find a ride but would call back if my situation changed.
After my phone call, he started calling me like he was a crazy person. Initially, he called me several times a day, hanging up, not leaving messages. After a few days, I left him a message letting him know I wouldn't be seeing him. Despite that message, it has been almost month now and he is still calling me several times a week.
His wholly unprofessional behavior gave me the impression that he had already spent the money I was going to give him, the money my husband and I painfully scraped together and really couldn't afford to give him in the first place.
Needless to say, I will never go back and see this doctor again. And in the process, I have decided that I am going to save myself the trouble of continuing to feeling stupid about alternative medicine. I'm giving up on alternative medicine and keeping my money in my pocket.