78 Notes to Self: A Tarot Journal

We are all wanderers on this earth. Our hearts are full of wonder, and our souls are deep with dreams.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Doctor Google & Tarot
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Image by MaricorMaricar Studio.......

I've been really out of sorts for a few months.  This blog and many other things have taken a back seat to some sudden onset health issues I've been dealing with.  It has been stressful but I'm finally taking action and I'm finally starting to feel more like myself again.

It started in June, more or less.  I'd had a pinched nerve in my upper back a few years ago and it went away on its own.  It took six weeks but when it was gone, it was gone. Until a few months ago. This time it didn't go away.  Instead, after four weeks it changed.  It became much sharper and sent more than a dull ache down my right arm.  Shocks of nerve pain were constantly traveling up into my neck, down my arm and to my fingers.  Walking hurt. Working hurt. Cooking hurt. Cleaning hurt. Driving hurt. I lived on anti-inflammatory meds and rest.

I delayed going to the doctor because insurance. I have it, but it's not affordable. High Deductible Plan with only $500 in my Health Savings Account.  I know that nerves cannot be seen on lower cost x-rays and that I would need a pricey MRI.  I didn't know what kinds of medications I would need to pay for out of pocket.  I also have to pay for non-preventive doctor visits out of pocket and I also have another pressing health issue I must see a doctor for which will likely lead to more imaging tests and lab work that, again, I must pay for out of pocket.  My pocket is not that deep.  My rent is being raised $50 a month starting next month and I still don't know how that will be adjusted for in my no-wiggle-room budget.  In addition to the pain and ongoing symptoms and concern for my health, I was also very concerned about my finances.

And then of course, there's Doctor Google.  I was pretty sure I was dying of cancer by the time I had researched my symptoms.  Possibly three or four types of cancer.  And maybe a rare genetic disorder, I'm not sure.

Driven by pain and worry I scheduled my appointments and said fuck it to the finances.  About a week before my appointment, the pain subsided a lot.  The nerve shocks still occur when triggered, but the unrelenting pain is gone.  Sweet relief! The doctor prescribed predisone which gave me heart attacks indigestion, and x-rays that ruled out fractures and tumors and referred me to a neurosurgeon. The neurosurgeon said I don't need an MRI  yet because the treatment for nerve compression is focused on pain management and I seem to be progressing.  I have another appointment with another kind of doctor in a week for something entirely unrelated, so I'm still concerned about Doctor Google's diagnosis about that, but at least my overall hypochondria health worries have been reduced.

The Thinker in the Dark - A5 by
Hartwig HKD Creative Commons License

This is why I don't read tarot for health issues: Anxiety.  I may have pulled a few cards for my situation over the last few months but the swords cards always made me think I was going to have surgery and the pentacles cards made me think I would have to pay a lot of money.  I pulled one before my visit to the neurosurgeon and it was the King of Swords, which cracked me up because that's a surgeon card if there ever was one.  It was like tarot saying, "Just go see the doctor."  Which is probably what I'll tell you if you ask me for a health reading.

Pamela A. tarot

I will read about how you can make the most productive use of your time while you are dealing with health issues.  I will ask tarot for advice how you can focus on self-care.  But the advice will be general to your health issue and specific to you.  I will not attempt to, nor should I, diagnose your issue.  We may discover, for example, that stress is contributing to your issue, but stress will not be the issue.  If the Death card appears, I will tell you that something will end, hopefully your health issue, and you will need to adjust to something new in the way of living life after that -- and we'll draw a card to see how to navigate that.  I will not tell you that Death means death in a health related tarot reading.  I will not give you a prognosis because how foolish and irresponsible would that be?  The last thing anyone needs is a reading that echoes Doctor Google.  I will interpret the cards in light of what you can do today, tomorrow, in your present and immediate future to aid in your recovery and wholeness and this is often how tarot readings work anyway.  It approaches your situation from a holistic view.

There really are very, very few things I won't read tarot about.  Sometimes I will tell a client that the proposed reading is a waste of their time and money and allow them to reconsider, but I will usually read on whatever my clients ask. They know their pressing questions far better than I.  Health issues, both physical and mental, are different because they usually need the attention of a professional trained in that discipline.  I am a tarot professional not a health professional and that is where the line is drawn.  Besides, more often than not when health issues have played a part in the reading the cards recommend seeing a physician or mental health professional.  I often see Kings, Queens, Hierophants, and Hermits in those readings.  Kings and Queens often represent professionals, Hierophants often symbolize established institutions such as traditional medicine, and Hermits can be counselors and therapists.  So if you ask me about a worrisome health issue I will tell you to see a doctor and we'll read about how to cope in the meantime. 

As for me, I'm firing Doctor Google and seeing real ones.