Editor's note: This blog post is part of a series that began here.
Having prepared myself for my first-ever visit with Dr. Charles Crist by reading everything I could find on the Web about him, his practice and his methodology, I still found myself petrified by the prospect of coming face to face with a doctor, specializing in Lyme disease, with the power to either confirm or deny my innermost, though wholly unfounded by orthodox medical standards, belief that what had commandeered my neurological system was not, in fact, just some name of a symptom, with an etiology of still-unknown origin. It was Lyme disease.
Of course I wanted to believe it to be true... I prayed and prayed and prayed that it would be, vowing to my higher power that, if I really had Lyme disease, I also understood that it meant lots and lots of other people probably had it, too, and could even be cured in their diseases’ final, progressive, stages.
As in, wheelchair-bound no more...
Arriving at Dr. Crist’s office, I was immediately put at ease by the extraordinarily efficient, clearly knowledgeable and compassionate nursing staff. Minutes later, we (Gage and I) were whisked away into an exam room. On the way, I noticed wall art with biblical passages--something I had never seen in a doctor’s office before.
Armed with a pen and notepad filled with not only a diary of my symptoms but also a lot of blank space, I believed myself to be ready for the barrage of information Dr. Crist was supposedly going to transmit. Instead, when he walked in, I... just started crying.
I had recounted my story so many times to so many (mostly only moderately competent) doctors my recent health history, I seriously didn’t know if I could do it again. And this time, of course, it was extremely important that I got chronology, etc., correct.
And then, as though bestowed from the divine the ability to once more describe the past several, horrifically frightening years of my life, it just all came gushing out.
His first words in response:
“I am nearly 100 percent sure you have Lyme disease. Let’s get you tested, ASAP.”
Wait. What? Is this guy for real? What if he just tells everyone this, sure to lure patients back to him over and again with his promise of healing and hope? It wouldn’t be the first time, after all.
And then: the onslaught of information. Dr. Crist power-packed more information into one 90-minute appointment than I had received in alllllll of my medical interactions up to this point, combined. At this point, one of many things became apparent: Dr. Crist was certainly no peddler of snake oil, no intentional misinformant of people in suffering.
Apparently, that category was already taken.
Alicia McGarry's journalistic endeavors began at The Chicago Tribune before her passion for all things Kansas City called her back to her roots. She has written for KC Magazine, The Kansas City Star and LakehomesKC and offers her unique perspective on holistic wellness each month for the readers of Good Health KC.