“You won’t like the taste!” warned the old woman. There was compassion and a hint of laughter in her eyes as her lips formed a wry smile remembering the remedy.
Am I crazy and is she a quack? I thought. Desperate people do desperate things, I mused philosophically.
The chronic pain had become unbearable. Every joy in life had dissolved in that pain. I’d finally seen a Surgeon. Gallbladder removal. A common procedure. Surgery in a few weeks. The office would call with the date and time. I thanked the Doctor, shook his hand and placed my hand over the pain and prayed. God help me!
“Okay” I said to this obviously amused woman offering me a simple solution to the pain. “It’s harmless,” she said quietly. Then her expression swiftly changed.
As she began giving me the instructions, I started to wonder if she had a military background. Do this. Do this. Do this. Did I have to poop on command too? I wondered.
“Okay. Okay. I’m listening,” I said reluctantly.
“This is how you purge gallstones without surgery,” she began again. “Make sure you choose two days with nothing else on the agenda, so get what you’ll need beforehand.”
“You’ll find a pint jar with a lid- as well as a jar big enough to hold three cups of water and four tablespoons of Epsom Salts. Don’t get the Epsom Bath Salts! You’ll have to find the Epsom Salts for internal use. Remember that!”
“You’ll need a bottle of extra light virgin Olive Oil. The good stuff. Don’t be cheap. You’ll also buy two fresh pink Grapefruit. Only fresh will do.”
“Oh yes,” she said with a funny smile, “you’ll probably want either a few slices of lemon or a sweet lollipop to treat your tastebuds.” My mouth soured and I swallowed the thought.
“So, are you willing to give it a go?” she asked in her military voice. The pain replied “Yes!”
“Well then. You start your first day with a no fat breakfast and lunch. No fat!” she commanded.
“Do not eat or drink after 2 p.m. Don’t cheat. This is important!” she stressed.
“Get the Epsom Salts drink ready. Mix four tablespoons with three cups of water in a well cleaned jar. This makes four measured servings of three-quarters of a cup each. Put the jar in the fridge to get cold.”
Well at least she’s talking in measurements and hours I can easily understand! I said in private conversation with myself.
“At precisely 6 p.m. drink one serving of the water and Epsom Salts. You may want to lick that lollipop or lemon slice then,” she said with a chuckle.
Pointing her right index finger to an invisible chalkboard, she read, “the Olive Oil and Grapefruit should be sitting out on the counter for later.”
“At 7 and 8 p.m. quickly drink another three-quarter cup serving. Timing is critical for success, so don’t be more than 10 minutes early or late!” she ordered.
I looked at the invisible chalkboard where this strategic plan was clearly outlined in crisp white chalk. I can do this! I told myself.
“At 9:45 p.m. you’ll pour a measured half-cup of the Olive Oil into the clean pint jar. You’ll squeeze the pink Grapefruit by hand into the measuring cup. Remove the pulp with a fork. You should have at least a half-cup to three-quarters cup of juice. Add this to the Olive Oil. Close the jar lid tightly and shake hard until it all becomes watery. Only fresh Grapefruit juice will do this,” she noted.
Yuck! I said to myself, feeling a little nauseous. Why was surgery suddenly looking more desirable?!
“Visit the bathroom, but don’t be more than 15 minutes late for the 10 p.m. drink she commanded again.
“At 10 p.m. drink the Olive Oil and Grapefruit mixture you’ve just made. You must be standing up to do this. Don’t laugh! Drink it down within 5 minutes. Then lie down immediately. You might fail to get the gallstones out if you don’t. The sooner you lie down, the more stones you’ll purge, so be ready for bed ahead of time. Try to keep perfectly still for at least 20 minutes. Go to sleep,” she commanded yet again. I almost shouted, “Yes Sir!” as my body stiffened.
She pushed on. “Upon awakening the next morning, you’ll take your last dose of the Epsom Salts drink. You may go back to bed. After two more hours you may eat. Start with fruit juice. Half an hour later, eat fruit. One hour later, you may eat regular food but keep it light. By supper you should be fully recovered,” she said light-heartedly. I sighed in relief.
“Expect diarrhea in the morning. Don’t be shy! Have a look. Gallstones are green and float because of the cholesterol in them or form as calcified stones in shades of brown. Sometimes the bile ducts are also full of cholesterol crystals, tan coloured. They look like floating ‘chaff’. Cleansing this ‘chaff’ is just as important as purging the gallstones. You’re also cleansing the liver at the same time, by the way. No surgeries. Minor discomfort. Congratulations!” she said triumphantly.
“Okay…” I said slowly and decisively. What’s to lose…I thought…a body part or a few hours of taste-bud torture. “Okay.”
So now I am “Okay”. It worked!! And maybe next year…
Short story by
May your Spirit shine brightly, Shelley