"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next."
- - Ezra Taft Benson
August 18, 2014
A Magnetic Personality
by Kathryn H. Kidd

Fluffy and I are home teachers to a crazy woman whose name, for the purposes of this column, shall be “Pam.” Pam is a former Baha’i, but she wasn’t just any Baha’i — she went to the local Baha’i congregation for Spanish people.

Never mind that Pam is a six-foot, fair-skinned redhead from Cleveland. This is the kind of quirky person Pam is. She is a former Baha’i who is now a temple worker. Go figure.

Somebody with the pseudonym of “Pam” might look something like this.

Pam is a single lady who likes to eat out, so we always meet her in a restaurant where Fluffy and I sit back and eat while Pam entertains us with stories that get wilder and crazier by the minute.

You see, Pam is an extravert. This means that Fluffy and I, who are both introverts, do not have to say a word. We just sit there, grazing like cows, while Pam does the work of performing. In fact, we have been known to ask Pam before we even meet her at the restaurant: “What is your topic of conversation tonight?” She usually has it already planned for us ahead of time, which is downright considerate of her.

This is why it’s so much fun to home teach extraverts. You put a nickel in them, and then sit back and let them entertain you. You don’t have to say a word. You just have to remember to blink so your eyes don’t dry up and pop out, leaving you without a way to see to drive home.

Topics of conversation we have had with Pam include:

  • The condo o’ the month that she has found for sale in Fort Lauderdale or Cleveland or some other faraway place, and that she is about to purchase for $12,000 or so. She always has pictures on her cell phone o’ the month, which prove to us that this condo is a palace rather than the dump that a $12,000 purchase price must surely buy.

  • The most recent financial windfall that God has given her, usually for the exact amount that she is going to waste on a condo she does not need. When I stop and think that God is giving Pam money to throw away but not giving me money that would get me out of debt, sometimes it makes me so ill that it’s hard to eat my dinner. But that’s the thing about God’s ways not being our ways — they aren’t.

  • Her theory that if you think the right way, you will never stop at a red traffic light. Well, maybe I phrased that wrong. Traffic lights are never red for Pam. This is important because she is in her car all day long. The gift of not ever having a red light would be a big, big deal. She told us how, and I tried it, and I remember that it works. But then I forgot how she did it so don’t ask me.

  • The ghost that inhabits an outbuilding at George Washington’s Mount Vernon home. The outbuilding happens to be a gift shop, and when Pam bought a souvenir there, she unwittingly brought a piece o’ ghost home with her that still does tricks in her dining room.

  • The spirit of rock singer Freddie Mercury, who started haunting her dreams and would not stop until she Googled him to find out who he was and continued to do research until she learned that his father had died exactly one year previously.

    After she arranged to have Freddie Mercury’s father’s temple work done by the same family who had done Freddie Mercury’s work (after also being haunted in dreams by Freddie Mercury to do so), Pam’s dreams immediately ceased.

    Fluffy had a hand in this, because Pam had him take Freddy Mercury’s father’s name to the Washington D.C. Temple and work with the recorder’s office to get the name ready. This was before the rule changes that mean only close family members can submit temple names. When Freddy’s mother dies, the new rules mean that he is on his own and will have to harass a family member instead of the hapless Pam.

Pam doesn’t just have interesting things to say. She also happens to be the best storyteller on the planet. If she had been born in Africa she would have been a griot. When she tells a story about ghosts, you expect a ghost to tap you on the shoulder, and you almost jump out your skin when a server appears to tell you that your bloomin’ onion is going to be out in a minute. She is absolutely amazing.

Needless to say, we enjoy visiting with her every month, even if she does want to order appetizers and desserts and all sorts of food items that nobody on a writer’s budget can ever afford, and that people my size should never be eating. It is not the food that attracts us to our dinners with Pam, or even our responsibility as home teachers. It is the monthly entertainment of Pam herself.

When we went out with Pam at the end of July, she told Fluffy ahead of time that the subject was going to be medical magnets. Fluffy told her that we knew all about magnets, and that indeed I have a drawer full of them that I have been using for years. Pam said, “Ah, but you don’t know about these magnets.” That’s the way Pam is. One does not quibble with Pam, so we prepared ourselves to be entertained.

Sure enough, Pam is being trained by the master of all the magical medical magneteers. This guy has clinics in the U.S. and in Mexico and in Equador (where magnets are apparently the strongest because of the proximity to the equator), and he, himself, is apparently training Pam and a friend.

Pam and her friend are going to be magneteers too (not the same as Mouseketeers or Musketeers, mind you), but they can’t charge for their services until they have a thousand hours of practice under their belts, so they wanted to practice on me and other willing victims. They wanted me to lie down on a bed and diagnose me, whereupon they were going to slap their magnets on me and cure me.

Kathy the Cynic took over here. It is pretty easy to diagnose me. After all, I am in a wheelchair. Pam has known me through a little more than my eighteen months of not having feet. That, I think, should count for something!

Also, even though Pam does all the talking, she knew me through about seven years of congestive heart failure. If she was paying attention (and I doubt she was, because, well, she’s an extravert who does not do a whole lot of listening), she also knew me through seven years of pulmonary hypertension. She did not know the name of the illness, but she knew me when I breathed using an oxygen machine at home.

So I figured if this was a lot of mumbo-jumbo, what they would “diagnose” me with would be heart issues, a lung issue that causes people to have to breathe with oxygen machines, and, of course, the tiny little issue of having mostly dead nerves from my knees down to my feet in both legs.

Other than that, I’m as healthy as the proverbial horse.

So Pam and her friend showed up. Pam’s friend was named Nubia, which conjured up images of a tall, black African, but in reality she was a tiny, extremely white South American who did not speak English. The entire session was conducted in Spanish, a language I do not speak.

They situated me on a bed with my feet sticking off into the air. One or the other of them took my feet and clicked the heels together three times. Nubia did it gently, so that I felt like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.

The whole time she was clapping my heels together, I kept thinking, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” After they had left, I told Fluffy this, and he said he had heard me say this from across the house. Oops. I always have been a loud thinker.

Sometimes Pam took over. When she clicked my heels together, it was though she was slapping two dead mackerels against one another. I had a different thing to think when Pam did it. It was one word, and that word was, “Yow!” I was always glad when Nubia took over again.

As they clicked my heels together three times, they said the name of an organ, in Spanish: “Estómago, estómago, estómago; páncreas, páncreas, páncreas; hígado, hígado, hígado.” It was soothing, or it would have been if they had not stopped after every organ and slapped magnets at the corresponding spot on my person.

Pam assured me that my organs would respond when called upon, even though as far as I knew, the organs of my body had never taken a Spanish class.

As they continued the session, Pam kept remarking how there was something wrong everywhere, and how they were going to run out of magnets before they ran out of organs. Then, true to her word, they had to stop and get more magnets. Apparently, I was a real mess. And all along, I had thought I was going to be pretty much without ailments of any kind.

Little did I know! After about an hour of ankle tapping and magnet slapping, the session finally came to an end and Pam read a litany of things that were wrong with me. I waited to hear that — surprise! — I had issues with my heart and my lungs and the nerves between my knees and my feet. But no, Pam and Nubia were not interested in talking about such pedestrian things as those.

Here is a short list of the things they said I had, lurking in my body, and that the magnets had uncovered and were trying to address:

I was exposed to polio as a child. What the magneteers did not know, but the magnets did, was that my sister Sandee had polio, and that I was definitely exposed to it because I lived with her the whole time she was sick. Score one for the magnets.

I have chronic bronchitis. Pam had never seen me have coughing fits, but I have indeed had chronic bronchitis for decades. Oh, can I cough when I put my mind to it! Magnets 2, Kathy the Cynic 0.

I have a rare strain of bacteria resident in my lungs. I obviously can’t prove or disprove that one. I did almost die of fungal pneumonia, but fungal pneumonia is caused by fungus, not bacteria. Fungal infections are rare here but more common in Ohio, where Pam is from.

I was exposed to a rabbit disease as a child and still carry remnants of that disease in me. (Pam named the disease, but I can’t remember it.) Obviously, this is another one that can’t be proved or disproved. However, I admitted to Pam under duress that we did have a pet rabbit when I was a child.

Apparently my pancreas is so bad that it died several years ago and was replaced by a box of Cap'n Crunch cereal. This one can’t be currently proved or disproved, but I was temporarily diabetic when I was in the hospital (I was told this often happens when people are acutely ill). So I’m giving Pam the benefit of the doubt on this one.

When I told Pam that I had a physical just a couple of months ago and my sugar levels were normal, she said airily, “Oh, that doesn’t make any difference.” Magnets 3, Kathy 0, Unprovable 2.

I have sciatic nerve issues. That one is a definite yes. Magnets 4, Kathy 0, Unprovable 2.

I have a scarred Urethra Franklin due to long-term catheter use. That is a big, fat yes. Pam did not know it, but the first six weeks or so that I was hospitalized for my fungal pneumonia there was a catheter and a bonzo infection, and the scarring does not surprise me. Magnets 5, Kathy 0, Unprovable 2.

I have a disease that, if I told a doctor the symptoms, I would be tested for AIDS, but it isn’t AIDS. One of the symptoms is a distended abdomen. You readers do not need to know the other symptom, but it is definitely not something Pam would have casually observed. Fluffy and I thought it was something related to being old.

The abdomen issue has been driving me crazy. Even though I have lost weight everywhere else, my abdomen looks like it has been blown up with a bicycle pump. The casual observer would think it’s just fat. It is only Fluffy and I (and the magnets) who have seen it as it really is. I look like the starving children in Biafra. It is absolutely bizarre. Magnets 6, Kathy 0, Unprovable 2.

So Pam and her pal Nubia packed up their magnets, promising to come back again and again until all the bad stuff, including the box of Cap'n Crunch cereal, is out of my system, and I am well again. They said my system is going to be detoxing for the next few days, and I am going to feel horrible. I must throw out all my toothbrushes and drink a lot of water.

I have followed their advice. Out went the toothbrushes, and I bought a giant Coke this afternoon to help flush the toxins out of my system. It was my first Coke in weeks and weeks, but one has to do what one has to do. Nevertheless, she was right about the detox. The toxins are rushing out of my cooperative little body, and I am as sick as a dawg.

I have to admit I was pretty impressed with my first treatment. Pam and her sidekick told me eight things. None of them were the obvious three things I expected, and that would have made me suspicious. They didn’t mention my heart or my breathing challenges or my paralyzed feet.

And I had to admit that the stark accusation that I had once had a pet rabbit was pretty impressive. Not many people have parents who let them have pet bunnies. And Sandee was the only kid I knew in our school who had polio. Those were two solid hits.

I’m waiting to see what comes out in the next treatment. Meanwhile, this application of magnets, which is radically different from the way I have used magnets in the past, is impressive. I have always been intrigued with the different ways people around the world have learned to heal their bodies.

People in rainforests have taken advantage of the wonderful herbs they have — herbs that are better than anything that pharmaceutical companies can give us today. Acupuncturists have given the Chinese a form of medicine that I have used, and that I can testify is just as good for many ailments as the medicine we use in Western countries.

The Aboriginals in Australia have their own system of medicine that relies on the mind. Most people don’t know about that because the Aboriginals are such a self-contained society that not many outsiders are allowed to observe them, but I have read they can heal broken bones in a matter of minutes.

In Acts 10:34, the Apostle Peter said: “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.” I find that to be true with medicine. God doesn’t love people who live in America any more than He loves other people, and you don’t have to live in New York City and have access to a good insurance policy to find the means to get well when you’re sick.

Whether it’s a medical doctor or herbs or needles or even magnets, things have been provided in cultures all over the world to help you through illnesses. Of course, sometimes those “things” are compassionate doctors and friends like Pam who swoop in and provide their services without charge.

God uses helping hands wherever He can get them. Sometimes those helping hands are yours and mine, and I hope we are always willing and able to use them when the opportunity presents itself.

Bookmark and Share    
About Kathryn H. Kidd

Kathryn H. Kidd has been writing fiction, nonfiction, and "anything for money" longer than most of her readers have even been alive. She has something to say on every topic, and the possibility that her opinions may be dead wrong has never stopped her from expressing them at every opportunity.

A native of New Orleans, Kathy grew up in Mandeville, Louisiana. She attended Brigham Young University as a generic Protestant, having left the Episcopal Church when she was eight because that church didn't believe what she did. She joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a BYU junior, finally overcoming her natural stubbornness because she wanted a patriarchal blessing and couldn't get one unless she was a member of the Church. She was baptized on a Saturday and received her patriarchal blessing two days later.

She married Clark L. Kidd, who appears in her columns as "Fluffy," more than thirty-five years ago. They are the authors of numerous LDS-related books, the most popular of which is A Convert's Guide to Mormon Life.

A former managing editor for Meridian Magazine, Kathy moderated a weekly column ("Circle of Sisters") for Meridian until she was derailed by illness in December of 2012. However, her biggest claim to fame is that she co-authored Lovelock with Orson Scott Card. Lovelock has been translated into Spanish and Polish, which would be a little more gratifying than it actually is if Kathy had been referred to by her real name and not "Kathryn Kerr" on the cover of the Polish version.

Kathy has her own website, www.planetkathy.com, where she hopes to get back to writing a weekday blog once she recovers from being dysfunctional. Her entries recount her adventures and misadventures with Fluffy, who heroically allows himself to be used as fodder for her columns at every possible opportunity.

Kathy spent seven years as a teacher of the Young Women in her ward, until she was recently released. She has not yet gotten used to interacting with the adults, and suspects it may take another seven years. A long-time home teacher with her husband, Clark, they have home taught the same family since 1988. The two of them have been temple workers since 1995, serving in the Washington D.C. Temple.

Copyright © Hatrack River Enterprise Inc. All Rights Reserved. Web Site Hosted and Designed by WebBoulevard.com