... and choosing the right tool for the job


(This article was originally published in Homeopathy Today: Autumn 2015)

I have a particular fondness for my compost bucket. It’s really more of a pail—shiny silver with a sturdy handle and a domed, fitted lid. A few years back on a sunny fall day, as I tossed my scraps onto the backyard pile, the handle came loose; one of the screws holding it in place had fallen out and I could not find it. I looked in the cellar, having not long before organized our screw and nail collection, but as might be predicted, the screw of the width and length I needed was nowhere to be found.

In the aisles of my local hardware store, I came close to finding what I needed, but alas, nothing seemed quite right. When a kind gentleman came to assist me, he went directly to a wall chart that I hadn’t noticed. Those of you who are more familiar with hardware stores and building supplies will know what I mean, but I had never seen anything like it. The chart had little holes in it so you could actually test your screw to be sure it was exactly the right match for the job.

It has dawned on me that healthcare in general and homeopathy in particular can be quite similar to my experience in the hardware store. As either a patient or a practitioner, we have to be aware of all the different tools available to us. Even though a particular kind of treatment - such as homeopathy - can work wonders, it may sometimes be the wrong match for the patient at hand, like a perfectly functional screw that does not fit the hole you have.

The fact that a solution to a problem that should be obvious sometimes proves tricky to see is reflected in the common expression: “When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses, not zebras.”

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