I was in my early 20’s, camping at a music festival. We were the last band to play, and didn’t get to sleep until very late. I woke up the next morning, in a cold tent, and felt terrible. My back was super sore, and I felt like I’d just been hit by a Mack truck. I chalked it up to sleeping in a tent, and climbed into the car wrapped in blankets.
Once I got home I slept through the whole day. Woke up just in time to play another show across town. I still wasn’t feeling great, so I downed a big glass of water and kept trudging on. Halfway through the first set, I laid my bass down (in the middle of a song!) and ran to the bathroom to vomit. Somehow I made it back to the stage and finished the show.
A few days passed and the back pain and exhaustion were just getting worse. I got a massage – it aggravated my condition. I went to bed early – nothing helped. After almost a week I broke down and went to the doctor. He diagnosed me with a kidney infection and gave me some antibiotics.
I took the pills; the sickness went away. But then, five years later, I woke up with a deep low backache. When it didn’t get better a few hours after waking, I figured it was probably another one of those kidney infections. So again, I went to see the doctor, was again prescribed the antibiotics, and a few days later I was back to my old self.
If you can believe it – this same thing happened yet AGAIN! Same story, 5 years later.
And then it happened yet again. The fourth time. Something had to change. I was in acupuncture school at the time, and decided to treat the infection totally naturally without drugs.
So I got an acupuncture treatment and started taking some herbs. I laid in bed all week allowing my body to work and heal itself. The first few days I had a severe dehydration headache, but I kept downing fluids and urinating like it was my job – just to flush the infection from my kidneys. Once the headache subsided, I spiked a fever. I stayed in bed, kept drinking fluids, took my herbs, and waited. One night I had a vivid dream of streams of light moving through all the tubes in my kidneys. I was guided to move to one side of my body, then the other, pull my legs up to my chest, lay them down again, turn on my stomach. When I woke up the next morning, the fever had broken and I was finally able to go back to work and school.
Instead of fighting with my body, I worked with it, let it do its job, and kicked those recurring infections to the curb.
Now, I know not everyone has the time or the inclination to stay home from work for a week to let a sickness run its course. And of course antibiotics are lifesavers when we really need them. I believe everyone should trust themselves when making the decision about how to take care of their bodies, and do what is most comfortable to them. So I use this story as an illustration of what can happen when we decide to stray from conventional medicine, and not as an example of what you should do. As always, use good judgement, and don’t go it alone. When you get sick, work with a health professional and get their guidance.
And by the way, the kidney infection has not returned!
Elizabeth Allen is an acupuncturist in Greenville, South Carolina, specializing in pain management, women’s health, and psycho-emotional issues. She’s passionate about helping people feel their best and sharing her wealth of knowledge with the community. Elizabeth is the owner of AcuMed Spa, on Wade Hampton Boulevard. Appointments can be made by calling 864-451-4313, or scheduled online here.