A few weeks ago, when we were up in the heavenliness of McLeod Ganj, I paid a little visit to an old Tibetan doctor: Dr. Yeshi Dhonden. This guy is FAMOUS!!! Seriously. So much so that if you want to see him...you gotta wake your ass up at 4:30 am so you can be one of the 60 patients a day that he sees... he is even the Dalai Lama's doctor... so you know he's gotta be good!
I first heard of Dhonden in my Lonely Planet book: "practitioner of amchi (traditional Tibetan medicine), which is a centuries-old healing practice and a popular treatment for all kinds of minor and persistent ailments. Many locals and expats swear by his treatments." Then more praise from one of the guys staying at Swami's...who said that Dhonden was: "amazing!!!" and that "the medicine has really helped me with some digestion issues I've been battling"...
For those of you who know me really well...you know that I am TOTALLY into (and excited by) any form of alternative healing...so I said "sign me up"... even if that meant waking up at 4:30 am...
So one morning I headed down the hill to McLeod Ganj with a new Israeli friend, Dror. (Brandon opted to sleep through this one...) We made it to Yeshi's clinic before the sun had even come up!!! (at 5:09) and there were already 6 people waiting in a make-shift line in front of us. But the thing is, Dr. D's assistant doesn't come check people in until 7:00...oy! So after two hours of trying to stay awake, we got our name put on the doctor's "to do list" for the day...but wait, it gets better: we then found out that the doc don't clock until 9:00! Let's just say that Dror & I became really good friends during that four hour wait!
FINALLY, at 9:10 am, it was my turn to see the docta...(I guess in India they make you wait forever before your appointment time instead of how doctors in the States make you wait forever after your appointment time)...Anyway, Yeshi is the cutest, little old Tibetan man, with a blad head, thick black glasses, and was dressed in full maroon and gold Tibetan monk-like robes. You could sense his wisdom and guru-type nature from the way he presented himself and by the patient's reactions to him...in fact, I met a German woman who has hep c. She said that she makes annual trips to Dr. Dhonden because his treatments are the only thing that has helped her condition...I'm impresed.
When it was my turn, his assistant asked me where my urine sample was....uhh...I had read in my Lonely Plantet book that he would want to check my sample...but my American assumption thought that meant going into the clinic's bathroom with a pee-cup and writing my name on it with the sharpies provided...apparently, not. Then I take a look around and see that every single person has brought their own urine samples with them: in water bottles, small plastic cups, mugs, and even a jack daniels bottle...whoops! I didn't know that it had to be your first pee of the day!! But the reason for the first pee: it's free of any food/beverages that you've had for a good 8 hours...and "pure" for Yeshi to analyze. His urine assessment consists of a once-over-look and then pour into the sink while briskly whisking...here he's checking for any type of infection, how bad it is, and where it is located.
So, skip that part for me...and I went straight into the doctor's office where I sat in a school desk with my arms out so he could check my pulses. He grumbled a bit to his assistant & translator, to which the translator asked me my symptoms. I proceeded to tell him about my chronic congestion, sinus pressure headaches, and throat and ear blockages. (Yes, I've talked to my general doctor about it. Yes, I've seen an ENT at home. Yes, I've been allergy tested. They all say that I'm fine...so when in Tibetan exile? Try a Tibetan doctor.) More grumbling between Dhonden and the translator...and wham, bam, thank you ma'am...I leave 5 minutes later with a prescription for Tibetan pills--that I fill at the pharmacy on-site.
I was given a month's supply of small, brown balls made of herbs. What's in them? Who knows...probably tree bark, roots, and flower pedals? I'm supposed to take two before breakfast, two after lunch, and four after dinner...with warm water. All of that cost me $10.
So, if you checked-out in my latest pictures, you might have seen a couple of me & Dror with the biggest look of digust you've ever seen in your life? Yea, that was post-Tibetan pill taking...god, they taste bad. Like a tiny pile of dirt mixed with fresh tree bark all coasted in a hard shell of earth.
But, they seem to be working...so I'm sticking to it...I'll keep you posted.