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Observations placeholder

Macmillan cures a dislocated cartilege



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

The Reluctant healer – William J Macmillan

I decided to take a two day climbing trip.  Not being an experienced mountaineer, I took a guide with me. As we were crossing a fairly large glacier we saw several people standing grouped around a seated figure. It looked as though there had been an accident of some kind. We increased our pace and soon came up to the group. It turned out to be a party of English people.

There were two middle-aged women, a young girl and her brother, together with a guide. They had come up to the glacier from a hotel only five miles away, but from their standpoint it might have been a hundred. The seated figure was the young girl. The cartilage in her left knee had slipped out of place. 

She was in very considerable pain and not able to manage the rough surface of the glacier. When we arrived upon the scene a council of war was being held to decide how to extricate themselves from this awkward predicament.

Though I didn't have the remotest idea what one did for a slipped cartilage, I felt I must make some gesture of assistance.

The thought did not escape me that I might do much more harm than good. I explained a bit about myself and asked if they would like me to try to see what I could do. The two guides and the ladies very sensibly thought it was better to leave the knee alone until competent medical attention could be reached.

I agreed with considerable relief to this decision. It was then decided that the two guides with myself as an alternative relief would make a chair of our hands and so retrace our steps. With the hotel in full view, though looking rather like a toy miles below, the plan seemed feasible. But we had not counted on the muscular solidarity of our twenty-year-old passenger. Nor had we realized how much pain the jolting would cause her. After an hour of sweating work, forced as we were to move at a funeral pace, we had made small progress. It did not look as though we could possibly reach the hotel before nightfall. The knee was swelling rapidly and it seemed useless to send a guide down for assistance as it would be inevitably a matter of several hours before a litter could return to us. It was then that Sheila took the matter into her own hands. She would be treated then and there by me. She would take full responsibility for any damage I might unwittingly do. Her determination was such and her pain so obvious it was decided to have me treat. We made her as comfortable as possible and I began the rubbing.

In a few minutes the swelling subsided. Also much of the pain was rapidly disappearing. Quite suddenly while I was rubbing there was a click and the cartilage went back into normal position. By the time the treatment was completed Sheila was able to walk without assistance. None of us could have been more astonished. Sheila could only be described as smug. The parties separated and my guide and I continued our journey – I was relieved that the guide's English was too limited for conversation.

On my return the next day I stopped off at the hotel to see how my patient was progressing. Except for natural fatigue, Sheila appeared to be normal. The knee was slightly swollen.

The source of the experience

Macmillan, William J

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps