Last week I came down with an ear infection. Fixing it took me to India and to Ukraine. But first, I had to go to a specialist in Santa Monica.
He used a microscope to have a look. Then he inserted a vacuum hose and hit the switch. If you can't deal with medical details, go watch Access Hollywood for a while. This will be over in another four hundred and something words.
What did that vacuum cleaner pull out of my ear? A hockey puck. A donkey. A kitchen sink. That's what it felt like, anyway. The ear is a great environment for bacteria, fungus and other friends. Unluckily, a few set up shop in mine. Luckily, some anti-fungal powder evicted them.
Too much information? Let's move on.
Last year in India, my wife Tabby came down with a stomach bug and got weaker and weaker. We traveled up mountain roads to the foothills of the Himalayas, where we located the man who could help us. His name is Dr. Sreenarayanan Cheruvally. We called him Dr. Sree.
A practitioner of the Ayurvedic method, Dr. Sree asked questions about Tabby's eating and sleeping habits, her emotional states and personal history. Then he brought on the antibiotics. I liked his combination of East and West: recognizing the healing power of energy, but not messing around.
Dr. Sree visited Tabby two or three times a day. When Tabby was dehydrated he had the kitchen prepare a drink to restore electrolytes. He arranged for a hotel room on a higher floor so that Tabby had more light and an optimism-inducing view of the Himalayas. I was amazed at his gentle, caring attitude.
Since this week I was dealing with my own malady, it seemed appropriate to videoconference with Dr. Sree. He's in Ukraine now, where he has a year-long contract to treat cancer patients at the Lissod Hospital using Ayurveda and also Reiki.
He told me he looks at the doshas, the basic qualities of a person, and tries to bring them into balance. "We consider water quality, air quality. In winter, for example, we recommend you only drink warm water. We recommend higher food consumption in winter, and more consumption of oil. Each climate, each season affects these doshas," said Dr. Sree.
Why did he ask how often Tabby dreamed and what time of day she took meals? "We have to find out which of the body components are dominant," he said. "It is connected to the physical, mental and emotional status of a person. So we have to ask some questions connected with that concept. The higher level is that of pulsation."
Pulsulation, he explained, is part of the traditional practice of Ayurveda. "It's a born practice, we cannot study it in a book," he said. "We are counting the frequencies and the moments of the pulse. And the vibration -- internally it's like a vibration. If you are experienced, if you touch the hand automatically that feeling will come."
To become an Ayurvedic doctor takes a minimum of five years of study and then the student must work with eminent practitioners who do pulsation therapy. "Only then it is possible to become a healing doctor," Dr. Sree told me.
Any advice for stressed out Americans? "People go to sleep late and wake late. That's the opposite of the Ayurvedic principal. And of course, the timing of the food. We take a meal three times a day. A light dinner, heavy lunch is better. But normally, people do the opposite."
Dr. Sree practices with a combination of East and West. It worked for us -- and still does. A medical intuitive like Louise Hay or Dr. Mona Lisa Schulz might suggest that my ear gave me trouble because I didn't want to listen to things that were being said to me. I'm willing to consider that, but I am grateful for that vacuum cleaner. Without it, I don't think I would have gotten rid of that donkey kicking my eardrum.