Talking about digestion is something old people do. So let me talk about my digestion now and get it over and done with because I really don't want to be having this conversation when I'm old.
I am currently reading a book, "Hidden power for human problems" by Frederick Bailes. I hadn't heard of Bailes until quite recently, when I was reading about Thomas Troward. (I wander with Google like other people backpack foreign countries.) So I ordered a book, and am enjoying it.
Bailes claims that there are some basic attitudes that give us trouble, that trip us up. He also claims that it doesn't take 50 years to undo a 50-year-old habit. One of his examples involves a man with an ulcer.
I have been to the doctor's today. I described my grab-bag of symptoms, stating that I've always had sluggish digestion, ever since childhood. The doctor told me to avoid milk products, gluten, potatoes and coffee, and prescribed ranitidine. I got tired of constantly being aware of my insides because something was always aching, twinging or even having sharp pains. I said to my doctor, "I've had bad digestion for 40 years. Ya think I can avoid having it for another 40?" He smiled like Mona Lisa (he always smiles like that) and non-committedly said anything was possible.
Well, anything is. An ulcer is possible. A change of mind - quite literally - and a willingness to stop identifying with a 40-year-old habit is possible. That last is also a far more desirable path.
Bailes has a whole chapter on the man with an ulcer. I will go back and re-read. It is hard to convince oneself that at the core of everything is perfection. I read somewhere that disease is something that layers itself on top of health. So, all you have to do is peel away the disease. I find that thought rather cheering.
Just to be sure, the doctor had me take a blood test, and will check my thyroid values, and he also wants some stool tests. The nurse handed me the test kit. "You take one test per day." I asked her how I was going to do one per day, if I didn't go more than once per week. Not a problem; the tests are sealed in such a way that they'll keep, she explained. (They think of everything.) I then complained about the poster on the wall. That it would be nice with a sleeker man to be distracted by than the pot-bellied one encouraging patients to lose weight. Especially since the blood test kind of hurt.
So what's next is to follow doctor's orders, and keep reading Bailes. Somewhere inside me there is a belief that is ruining my enjoyment of food. I'm not having that. I'm not going to spend the next 40 years like the last. Everything I read says that the natural state of a body, regardless of age, is health, and that attitude has a lot to say about how well one stays in this natural state. So many beliefs, including the ones of an entire society (consider the discussion about health care and how most folks feel it is necessary), influence what one expects out of health and aging and life in general. I do not want to become medicalized. I'd rather come to an understanding of this wonderful physical perfection that is my birthright and let it express itself fully.
This or something better is now manifesting in my life for me.
(Also posted in my spiritual blog.)