If anyone has aged eloquently and gracefully with purpose and continues to infuse the community and world with life-giving healing medicine, it’s Dr. Gladys T. McGarey, known to most as the revered mother of holistic medicine.
This weekend, Gladys is hosting her second “Gathering of Eagles” Medical Conference to respond to President Barack Obama’s health care reform initiative.
Gladys and her daughter Dr. Helene Wechsler received a letter from President Obama in February 2009 asking how the broken health care system could be fixed. Gladys reached out to 100 alternative practitioners across the country, requesting they convene in Phoenix to discuss a remedy for the decades-old health care conundrum. In May 2009 Gladys organized a meeting with 35 physicians in the first “Gathering of Eagles” symposium to create the basic structural framework that will lead to a paradigm shift in medicine.
Gladys and her colleagues will spend this weekend building on that framework to develop strategies that will provide the administration with a plan on how to address our nation’s broken health care system.
“It’s going to take a paradigm shift to change it,” says Gladys. “All aspects of the medical community think that what we’re working with are diseases and in the process, we’ve completely forgotten the people.” Gladys believes health care has become a war machine and we need to stop killing diseases. “We kill everything,” she says. “We kill bacteria; we kill diabetes; we eliminate AIDS. Our language is anti-life itself: its antibiotics and anticonvulsants. And the one that really gets me,” says Gladys, “is anti-aging. I mean what are we supposed to do? And women are supposed to fight osteoporosis. You’re supposed to fight your own bones? It’s all against life itself.
“Until we get away with the idea of what medicine is all about — killing diseases and getting rid of diseases — we’re not going to get anyplace,” says Gladys. “We need to find out what the disease is saying. It’s not that you ignore the disease; it’s how you deal with it. Your purpose is not necessarily getting rid of it. Some of the most whole people have diseases they’ll never get rid of.” McGarey uses former President Franklin Roosevelt as an example, who lived with polio his entire life. “He had a problem that he never did get rid of and that’s OK. He learned to work with it. His focus wasn’t his disease. His focus was his life.”
Gladys believes the physician’s role is to work with people as coaches and support them as they deal with their disease processes and sometimes it’s helping them die. “Sometimes it’s helping them cope with the disease and helping them cope to get over it. But everybody has something wrong with them. We all have corns or constipation. None of us are pure. But if we focus on the disease, we don’t get anyplace,” offers Gladys.
Gladys uses a simple nursery rhyme to make her point:
There was this old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do.
She gives them all milk and no bread and puts them all soundly to bed.
“That’s conventional medicine. That’s the way it is right now,” explains Gladys. “It’s stuck in one shoe. It’s old. It’s tired. It really knows it’s a woman but it’s too tired to do anything about it. And so what does it do? It has so many diseases and so many issues, it doesn’t know what to do! So it gives them milk without any bread, which means that don’t get any sustenance. And puts them soundly to bed, which means if you shut everything out and make them quiet, you’ve cured the disease. Well it doesn’t work because you can’t walk anywhere with one shoe, so you’re stuck there.”
And Mary had a little lamb whose fleece was white as snow and everywhere that Mary went the lamb was sure to go. Followed her to school one day, which was against the rule. Made the children laugh and play.
“Now," says Gladys, “you have a person and she has a name. And that name has its own magic. Mary has a little lamb whose fleece was white as snow. That’s the physician in each of us. So everywhere that Mary goes that lamb is sure to go, but not everybody wants to see it, so it’s against the rule and she takes it to school — the school of life and not everyone wants to see it. However, Mary’s been pretty smart because she gets around the rules. She gets the lamb to school.
And it makes the children laugh and play to see a lamb at school. So you get that healing life force, which is young and vigorous and full of life, full of love and joy and that’s the feminine face of medicine.
Article written by Jodi Powers; cover graphics: Terry Duffy and Becky Ankeny, Glyphics Design; photo credits: cover photo by Keith Pitts; other photography by Lynne Ericksson; website: Geoffrey Foster; production management: Tarja Stoeckl and Lisa Roberts
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Join us in honoring Gladys McGarey, world renowned icon of holistic medicine this Thursday, July 1st
2345 East University Dr.
Phoenix, AZ 85034
$10.00 entry cost at the door
More information - click here.
Renowed artists, musicians, vocal talent, wine and hors' devours.
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Celebrate with us on July 30th from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. at our salon of artists, authors and angels that we fondly call "Homecoming Happy Hour"
Despins Printing and Graphics
15770 North Greenway-Hayden Loop, Suite 101
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Complimentary food and beverages.
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Gladys was one of the first female doctors at Good Samaritan. But no one could convince the doctors' parking lot guard that she and her fellow female docs were indeed doctors.
It's 1957 and Gladys sets the scene: "Good Samaritan Hospital had a parking lot for the doctors and they had a guard standing there at the gate and he wouldn't let us park there. He just didn't get it that there were women doctors. And he was huge, I mean he was one of these giants. And he would stand there and we’d come in and try swinging our stethoscopes. We'd swing our purses and hang our stethoscopes out for him to see them but he wouldn’t let us through.
"Finally Betty Kilpatrick, who was a family doc and about five-feet tall and came up to his umbilicus, had it with him!
"The guard says, 'You can't park here.'
And she says 'Yes, I can.'
And he says 'No, you can't.'
"So she began pounding her stethoscope on his belly and he can't see what's going on down there and she said there are 15 female doctors in Phoenix.
“He never stopped us from parking in the doctors' parking lot after that.”