Saturday 17th July 2010
One year ago.
“Did you say that Western medicine has done fuck-all for you?”
I look across at Pete.
And I’m a bit pissed.
* * * * *
It’s a Saturday night. Suse and I don’t get out much anymore. And neither do our friends. We’re like a Harry Connick Junior remake of a once-great song.
And yet, we find ourselves, at this swanky French restaurant in Drummond Street, Carlton. Pete and Cath have got babysitters for the night. Elle has left Dave at home to look after their sick child, and Carrie is over from Tasmania for the weekend. They’re all friends from Uni. And they’re all doctors.
I look at Suse.
Here we go.
“Yeah, that’s what I said.” I say it with a bit too much animosity.
“I’m just clarifying,” he counters.
“I mean, I know it might sound hypocritical when we’re about to start IVF. But to this point Western medicine has done fuck-all for us.”
I look around at the table, this table of Western medical doctors that I trained with. Each face sits somewhere between offended and amused.
“So that’s why you bought the candles and the salt?” asks Carrie.
“Yep. I mean, on the day we moved into our new house, Suse started bleeding from her ectopic. And since that time we’ve had – I don’t know – maybe ten, fifteen things that have gone wrong with her health.”
“So you really believe that there was a curse put on your house?” She can’t stop herself from letting out a laugh.
“I don’t know. But, like I said, everything that we understand, everything that makes sense to us, everything that science has shown us, has not been able to help us out.” I hesitate for a moment. “I actually think we’ve lost some of our wisdom. In the last three hundred years, we’ve come to think that science has the ultimate answers. And like all people falling into any trap throughout time, we think we’ve got it all sussed. We think we understand it all. I actually think we know less now than we did two thousand years ago.”
I look around the room, at this table of highly-trained, highly-intelligent human beings. I don’t know how open they are to left-field shit like this, as I’ve never asked. But I’m on a roll.
Shit, I’m on a roll.
“So is that the same as religion?” Carrie continues. She’s the only one more pissed than me, and therefore the only one willing to walk into this conversation; the rest of the table sees the warning signs.
“No,” I say, again with more venom than I mean, “don’t get me started on religion. This is about spirituality. There are people in this world who think that ‘The Power of Now’ is the best book in the world, and there are people in this world who think it’s a crock of shit.” I look around, getting the distinct feeling that ‘shit’ is the group consensus. “I just think that there is a whole lot of stuff that we don’t understand, I think that the way we practice is different to the way we will in thirty years, and I think that in thirty years, we’ll look back on ourselves and say, ‘Fuck, why did we not think more about Eastern Philosophies? Why did we think we knew everything? Why did we work so strongly to the evidence-based doctrine? Why did we have to prove something to think that it was possible?’ ”
I look around the room. Everyone is silent.
“I was just clarifying what you said,” says Pete, slightly bemused.
“Yeah, well, maybe I misread it. I guess that this last year has really shaken everything we believe in. And I guess – given the fact that Western Medicine hasn’t given us the answers – that we’re more than happy to whip out and buy a three-buck candle and some salt and burn it, if it gets us pregnant. Shit, I’ll do it every day if it works.”
“So this is about faith?” Carrie asks, still wanting to understand. I can almost hear the held breath of the table, hoping my rant is done.
“Yeah, I guess it is,” I say. I smile. “So, not bad weather we’re having, is it?”
I hear the table exhale in unison.
I take a piece of bread. I take a bite, looking over at Suse.
She gives me a wink.
* * * * *