Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sana, Sana, Colita de Rana…

After 7 some years together, I’ve learned to never question my husband when it comes to healing methods, medicine or the likes. Nor should I question his friends or friends of friends or mother or cousin or his uncle’s neighbor’s plumber’s priest’s father. They know what’s up, and I, my friends, am just a silly American who has no faith.

My first brush with Mexican medicine came several years ago, when a family member called us in the US to inform us that my husband had a severe lung condition and was on the brink of death. Of course it was true, a psychic told them so. In order to be cured, he spent countless hours on the phone writing down a prayer (or chant or whatever you call it) as it was dictated to him word for word. (If you’ve ever heard my husband trying to give a wire transfer confirmation number over the phone, you’d understand that this was a tedious process.) He then sent me on a hunt for mason jars that had to be a specific size and a certain type of cotton swab. I protested, of course, but eventually gave in and hit up about 5 different Goodwill stores in the Phoenix area before I found what he was looking for.

He carefully labeled one of the jars “Sobar” and the other “Tomar.” They were each filled with purified water which was blessed over the phone by the psychic or witch-doctor or whoever. I then had to soak the special cotton things in the Sobar water and rub it all over my husband’s back (remember, we’re curing lung disease here people,) while he drank from the Tomar jar and chanted his little diddy. He was, of course, miraculously cured and the family rejoiced. I think you all know I’m not much of introvert and I wear my heart, and common sense, on my sleeve. I voiced my opinions from the get go and was told stories about cancer being cured and crippled people walking again. I was forced to listen to countless horror stories of what can happen when you don’t believe.

I’ve since learned to bite my tongue.

So when we went on our little treasure hunt for that alcohol de caña, I didn’t say a word in protest. I know he’s tried my whole Western medicine route for the last couple of months and is still in pain, so what can I really say? He’s getting desperate. When a friend at the maquila told him about this magic potion, he just couldn’t resist. This man was apparently bed-ridden for God knows how long before he had a couple of drops of this stuff and POOF, good as new! Again, it’s alcohol de caña, red onion, lime and garlic that is left to ferment for 15 days. The fermentation process is coming to a close and I’m really trying to keep my thoughts to myself but would you just look at this shit:

My poor husband is going to drink that. And he thinks it’s going to help him. In fact, he believes it so much that I think it just might work. You see, although I don’t think putting a feverish baby in a bath full of lettuce does diddly squat, I do believe in the power of positive thinking and the power that one’s faith can give them. There are countless little health tricks (que?) of Mexico that make absolutely no sense to me but I’m no medicine man. Putting Vick’s Vapor Rub between your toes when you have the flu? Wearing sandals in the shower to prevent getting sick? Rubbing an egg on your belly when you have a stomach ache and then cracking it and if the yolk’s black the sickness is gone? Seriously, has anyone ever seen this result in a black yolk?

At the end of the day, all I can do is smile, hope we don’t end up getting his stomach pumped in IMSS Urgencias, and thank God that my husband believes that tequila and lime cures the common cold. Salud.


  1. You're a born storyteller and I look forward to your posts. One reason, is I lived in Juárez back in 1998 while we were adopting our sons. Having been raised on the Arizona/Sonora border in Nogales, I'd naively thought it would be similar. I loved the people, the food, the colors, but nothing prepared me for the unfathomable violence, despair, and fear that permeates the city. I'm amazed at how you keep, one foot in front of the other, with so much humor and insight along the way. Well done!

    When you get a moment, please check out Thanks, Liz

  2. oh my goodness, I laughed SOO hard when I read this blog. This was so my BF when we first met 3 years ago. He's since gotten a little better. Right before I read this post I saw his ridiculous walnut type nuts sitting on the counter that he always comes home with after his doctors appointments. I chucked them in the cupboard shaking my head.
    So many fun things that come with being with a Mexican <3

  3. I loved this!!!!! You made me laugh so hard.

  4. What an awesome blog entry! I really enjoyed reading it. Keep them coming!

  5. OH God..right before we found out that little Miguelito had Leukemia my hubby called a Bruja to come and rub an egg and alcohol over him, then made him drink a teaspoon of olive oil mixed with herbs. They thought he had "mal ojo" and everything else you could think of and this would cure him. He was only 18 months and I really fought them, but eventually hubby was so obsessed with the idea it would cure him I shut up and let them do it. 2 months later he talked to yet ANOTHER bruja on the phone who told him not to use any more Mexican medicine on Miguel, let the doctors come and cure him as he had something beyond the Mexican Medicine..a day later we found out it was Leukemia. He still does stuff, like day before yesterday Miguel had "angenas" and he rubbed his little wrists with baby oil and swore they went away. He's not as bad as he used to be since we are almost always in the hospital with Miguel's cancer, but sometimes he does a "Purga" and loves his fermented pina for kidney problems..I just look the other way like you do..what else can you do? Never know what may be working..

  6. Oh. My. God. That is so sad... You are so strong girl and such an inspiration to me and everyone who has been blessed enough to know you. May your struggle become your strength. <3

    1. Emily, I admire YOU for following your heart, and plunging into ice water without a life jacket! I think your experience and mine with cancer and death of another child before him have a lot in common. We both have been thrown into experiences that are normally bad, miserable, heartbreaking, crazy and unbearable..but we have decided to look the other way and let our hopes and dreams take over rather than having the "devil light our path". I don't know why I am (or you are) in the situation we are in, but I know it is making us stronger, wiser and more open to the struggles and conflicts that happen in other peoples lives. That being said I'm not going to admit I'm a bitch sometimes, we all have our moments..but I think that I hold my tongue more now and tend to look at the big picture first before going off on a rant like I did before cancer entered our lives. I have more compassion and empathy and feel like I give more of myself. I think you as well do just because you see how lucky we all are to have whatever we have here in the will never compare to the way some are growing up in Mexico. Sometimes you have to see the simpler side of life to really enjoy what it has to offer. Love you much, and hope we can get together when we get our "official" visit in Nov/Dec hopefully. And I'm so happy on your success of an obviously wonderful blog!

    2. Ugh, I so needed to read this right now. Thank you. So much. We will get together! The weather is gorgeous here (to me lol) in the winter so you'll be coming at the perfect time. Thank you so much for your comments. Means so much to me. :hug: