I heard about his death before actually reading his column, so when I opened his email I was nervous with anticipation about the topic. Ironically and appropriately it was about the unhealthy state of health care in America today. He wrote about how medicine is driven by profit rather than a desire to help people and how pills are pushed on patients not for their own benefit but to benefit the manufacturers who make money off them.
I don’t know how Hipp died, other than “in his sleep,” as I read in several reports. I do know that he was an avid and public self-healer, preferring to smoke the “medicine” that most people risk arrest to acquire. I also know he was ill about a month ago and couldn’t turn in a column one week. For a guy like Hipp, that’s pretty sick.
This story isn’t verified, but its accuracy would not surprise me: I was told that just before he died, Hipp declined to be taken for medical treatment and instead wanted to be home with his dogs. I know I’d want to be with my beloved beasties if the end was near, but I also wonder if Hipp preferred to ask his four-legged friends to take him to their doctor.
A few months ago, my girlfriend’s 12-year-old Saint Bernard needed to get her regular vaccinations. Problem is the dog weighs 140 pounds and has a bad back leg so she can’t get in the car. Luckily, we convinced our good-hearted veterinarian to come to the house to administer the shots. You won’t see that kind of compassion from many human doctors.
I interviewed a chiropractor recently who told me no doctor has the ability to make a person “well.” He told me, “Wellness cannot be distributed or created by someone else.” To achieve “wellness,” a person must be more than free of disease, he said. Making one’s body work at optimum performance levels — as it is naturally wont to do — is based on individual choices about exercise and diet. Unfortunately, most people’s choices about consumption (whether it is food, drink or chemical) and physical exertion (or lack thereof) make them not well. Eating an apple instead of those French fries or walking around the block instead of smoking that cigarette are two such examples of these little choices that add up over time. It isn’t necessary to pay a doctor, make the choices to be well.
Don’t take this to mean I am “well” personally. Sure, I have always been relatively free of disease or malady, but I am pretty far out of shape and don’t eat the kinds of food I should. I know that if I were to make an appointment with a physician, I would bore him or her with my lack of something to cure. The only thing my doctor would be able to do to collect a fee would be to prescribe a pill I don’t need. Maybe that’s why I don’t ever go to the doctor, but I probably should take some time to be “well,” which I can do myself.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to see if my girlfriend’s Saint Bernard has any “wellness” tips for me.
Nathan Orme is the editor of the Sparks Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.