When I was young and had a stomachache or a headache or my leg hurt, my father had a healing technique. He would clap his hands together Mr. Miyagi style, rub them together to create a magical heat and apply it deliberately to my affected area, closing his eyes. While he did it, he demanded silence and I had to believe it was working. I tried hard to close my eyes and channel his mysterious healing power and be receptive to it. I can’t remember if it ever worked, but I believed in it.
When I met my husband, he told me how he had similar powers. Imagine my luck; I’d be forever healthy, surrounded by two strong men who had these mystical medicinal skills. (A potentially great benefit for a hypochondriac.)
My husband had collected several incidents he recited as proof of his abilities.
First, there was a friend who had a hard time conceiving a child. She had gone through several unsuccessful rounds of IVF and miscarriages and he had come to see her on the day she had her latest sonogram and they told her they didn’t find a heartbeat. My husband wasn’t so sure. He asked her if he can feel her stomach and how he describes it, he “gave her the magic,” held it there for several minutes, letting his heat penetrate her uterus and wouldn’t you know it, turns out her pregnancy stuck and she had a healthy baby eight months later.
My husband’s mother had just come out of breast cancer surgery and her blood pressure had dropped suddenly, she was losing blood and everyone, including her doctor son-in-law, was creating a worrisome ruckus around her. My husband demanded everyone calm down and immediately began to rub his mother’s feet and talk to her slowly, quietly, calmly. He persisted in this manner for several minutes until her blood pressure rose and her vitals stabilized. Everyone in the family refers to this moment as “him bringing her back.”
It doesn’t end.
Our daughter’s due date was June 1st and my husband’s lifelong best friend’s baby was due exactly two weeks later, only our baby came a week late and theirs came two weeks early in an emergency C-section. (Ours would be too.) On June 1st when my baby was still comfortably growing and making me throw up, their tiny baby ended up in our apartment. They had just brought their baby home, the best friend’s wife was recovering from Preeclampsia, struggling to find the right balance of blood pressure medicine, only it wasn’t working and she got very sick, very quickly. In another twist of fate, their hospital was two blocks from our house (even though they lived in New Jersey and we lived in lower Manhattan) so while the best friend was dropping off the tiniest baby I had ever seen (4 pounds 8 ounces and we nicknamed her ‘puppy kitten’) with over pregnant me, my husband went to make sure his wife stayed alive in the ER of the hospital down the street.
When my husband arrived, he said he thought the postpartum woman was going to flatline in front of him. She was going in and out of consciousness as her blood pressure was off the charts – high or low I’m not sure – but it was beyond any kind of normal pressure which would stabilize a human to at least remain conscious. Here was another chance for an encore performance of the soft talking, calming down blood pressure affecting mojo. Apparently, it worked. He stayed with her for about 45 minutes until her husband arrived. He thanked him for keeping her alive.
I married a professional clown and an artist, but most importantly, I married a healer. Of course, when I was in my ninth month of pregnancy with my daughter, puking for what felt like the 400th day in a row, my husband couldn’t take the nausea away. But each night he would put his hands on my belly and promise he was making sure our baby would be born healthy. And she was.