To Tell or Not To Tell…

Holistic Treatment for KidsBefore I started studying dermatology, I wasn’t really aware of just how many people out there suffer from skin conditions. I guess it was something I just didn’t notice.

Now, I seem to see people with skin conditions almost everywhere I go. The most obvious, of course, is acne. But I can’t tell you how often I see people in day to day life with other conditions like psoriasis, eczema, or lichen planus. Often, I’m in a situation where I am interacting one-on-one with them. For example – a couple of weeks ago I was served by a waiter with psoriasis lesion on his legs. Days later I dealt with a bank teller who had eczema on her neck.

Whenever this happens, I start thinking about what herbs I would include in their formula if they were my patient. It’s a good challenge for me — knowing nothing at all about them, and solely based on the appearance of the skin, what would I include in a formula?

The thing about this mental exercise is – it is completely private. These are thoughts that I keep to myself. I never say anything to the other person, and I never talk about what I do for a living. Can you imagine what it would be like if I said – “Hey! I notice you have psoriasis! I could really help you out with that…”. In my opinion that would be totally inappropriate.

So here was the problem I was faced with just the other day. When I picked up my 6-year-old daughter from summer camp, I couldn’t help noticing the little boy she was working on an art project with. This cute little artist had a bad case of eczema – as in really severe eczema with crusting and oozing all over his hands and up his arms. It didn’t appear on his face, but there were lesions on his neck and legs, too. He was scratching at his hands as he and my daughter painted together.

In my work, I’ve helped so many kids with eczema – it’s quite a common condition I treat in my practice. But the thing with families I see is that they want herbal medicine. They were searching for holistic solutions for their child’s eczema — that’s how they found me. They chose this path of healing for their kids. And as much as it tugged on my heart strings to see this little boy, I didn’t know the first thing about his family or what sort of health choices they made.

But I did wonder to myself – what if I met the little boys parents? Would I say something?

So then – needless to say – the inevitable happened. The little boy’s dad arrived to pick him up. What was I going to do? As I mentioned before, I have this policy — I never point out anyone’s skin condition and explain what I do for a living. But this time it was just so hard for me to not say anything… The rules seem different when dealing with a child.

I said hello, then I got completely tongue-tied, and then… I left. I didn’t say anything.

I never saw the boy or the dad after that day. But since then, the whole situation has sort of bugged me. After seeing so many kids get so much better with herbs, it was painful for me not to say anything. Should I have broken my own rule?

I still don’t really know…

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