6/26/2006 Vitamin Doctor





My parents insisted that I see a vitamin doctor.  They didn’t like what the medications did to me.  They blamed my entire condition on the meds.


The truth was, the meds were keeping me alive.


They asked my shrink, who said, “Can’t hurt.”  Yeah, sure.


It was 1985 or ’86.  My parents had read a book by a Dr. Pfeiffer, called Mental and Elemental Nutrients.  Something like that.  He founded the Brain Bio Center<ST1 in New Jersey.


My parents picked me up where I lived in North Bennington, Vermont, and drove me to Princeton, New Jersey.  All those hours in the car with them was unbearable, but we brought my dog, Hoofy, with me, which consoled me somewhat.


For the umpteenth time, they thought they were going to save me.


I was taking Lithium and Thorazine.  Lithium made my face break out in pimples, and gave me hand tremors.  I had a slight “shuffle,” that is, I marched in place involuntarily, a condition called akethesia, from the Thorazine.  I drank copious amounts of water because Lithium, being a salt, made me extremely thirsty.  To make things worse, I was a heavy smoker at the time.


I am no longer a smoker, I don’t march in place, my skin has cleared, and my hands don’t shake.  I do like my water, though.  And I am still on Thorazine.


I don’t recall what the <ST1Brain Bio Center looked like, but I do remember Hoofy keeping me amused with his antics during the long ride down there.


Dr. Pfeiffer was a fiftyish gentleman with broad shoulders and white hair.  He met with my parents alone, first, which annoyed me because I was 27 years old and was perfectly capable of speaking for myself.  I didn’t need Mommy and Daddy’s opinions to cloud up the evaluation.


Then I met with Dr. Pfeiffer.  He asked me a few questions (obviously he believed my parents over me), and looked at my hands, then asked me about my feet, which I refused to show him.


“I have cute toes,” I said. 


“Cute toes!  Cute toes!  Ha ha ha!”  He chuckled for what seemed like a long time.  “Cute toes!”


Then he invited my parents back in.  He cleared his throat, and said, “Julie, I want you to eat a carrot every day, an egg every day, a three-egg omelet once a week, and canned fish three times a week.”


My parents nodded to each other approvingly.  “And she needs vitamins,” said my mother.


“No, just the carrots, eggs, and fish will suffice.”


I asked, “What about cholesterol?”


“Er, never mind about that.  By the way,” he turned to my parents.  “She has cute toes, ha ha ha.”  I was wishing he would shut up about my toes.


On the ride home, my mother danced around the car: “An egg a day, a carrot a day, so simple!” 


I wasn’t exactly excited about this new diet.  I had just been to nursing school, or rather, I had just been kicked out of nursing school (topic for another blog entry), and I knew that one shouldn’t eat more than two eggs a week, if that.


In the end, I dismissed Dr. Pfeiffer as a quack.  I abandoned the diet, especially the eggs and canned fish.


I never found out how much my parents paid for the appointment.  I had some kind of follow-up meeting, but I canceled it.


If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Vitamin theories haven’t held up very well in the psychiatric field, and although it’s very important to eat well, drink plenty of fluids, and exercise, there are no magic foods.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.


For more information on vitamin farces, see www.schizophrenia.com.  And have a nice day.