Disclaimers: Although the author and publisher have made every effort to ensure that the information in this book was correct at press time, the author and publisher do not assume and hereby disclaim any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause. This book is not intended to provide any medical advice. The reader should consult a physician in matters relating to health and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.
Copyright 2019 Mary Bauer
All rights reserved.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
I lay sideways on the floor in the back of the gold-colored Pontiac, my face pressed under the front seat. The August sun penetrated every window. To escape the light, I tucked my knees up to my chest, wrapped my ankle-length skirt over my feet, and pulled the sleeves of my fleece jacket past my hands. I couldn’t figure out how to fit my left hip over the driveshaft, and the lump running under my spine was killing me.
“All set?” Carrie’s son asked. A pleasant, sandy-haired young man, he was my driver to the Huggins Clinic.
“Ready,” I answered. He put the car in gear and started out. Since the clinic itself provided only outpatient services for people needing their silver-mercury fillings removed, his mother ran a group home for people like me who arrived alone and needed supervised care between treatments.
I should have felt ridiculous, lying there like that. Carrie’s son was one of the initiated. He understood that normal rules do not apply to people afflicted with heavy metal poisoning. The devastation it created was a world still new to me. But I was learning. I had no choice. The tiniest shaft of light, a ray grazing my skin, was scalding oil poured onto my flesh.
Twenty minutes later, the car stopped. I sat up from my huddled state and glanced around. The neat white letters on the door told me I had arrived. It was an unremarkable office in a small complex of offices on the outskirts of town. The one-story brick building could have belonged to any dentist. Better get to it, I thought.
Head down, I hurried through the sliding glass doors into the foyer. Windows brought sunshine into every corner. I scanned the waiting area and flinched. My knees began to buckle.
“Is there anyplace away from this light?” I asked the receptionist. I was directed to a dim, interior room where I sat on a small chair and waited for a technician to find me.
“Follow me, please. And don’t worry; the lab is safe.” I took a shallow breath and walked after her. She drew my blood and took a urine specimen. I had mailed the clinic a sample of my hair two weeks earlier.
Then I was led into a dark room where a young man set me up for a video interview. Perched on a stool, facing the direction where I imagined a camera to be, I was filmed without lighting. I described the course of my illness, my current symptoms, and what I hoped to gain from treatment at Huggins. I never saw the tape, but I assumed that, at best, a viewer would see a faint silhouette and hear my voice.
Lunch was turkey chili, served in the clinic break room. Afterwards, new arrivals like me were transported to a nearby lab to have X-rays taken. There was another foray into sunlight, another car ride where I cowered in pain, and a mercifully quick procedure. Back at the clinic, I flew to the safety of my windowless sanctuary.
The final step was the intake meeting, where Dr. Hal Huggins would explain my treatment. My survival depended on what this man I had traveled a thousand miles to see would say to me in the next twenty minutes. But as I waited, all I could think was, How am I going to handle the light?
The room had been darkened. I could make out the barest outlines of Dr. Huggins’s neatly trimmed hair and dark suit. An older man, he resembled my childhood dentist. A gentleman. He smiled softly and held out his hand. I grasped it and felt my shoulders relax for the first time that day.
A small desk lamp had been turned on to allow Dr. Huggins to see my patient information. He looked at my face and turned off the lamp. I sat in my chair and he moved his own so that he could hold my file in front of the small strip of illumination that seeped under the door from the hallway, and read my results aloud.
My case was unexceptional by the standards of the clinic. My first silver filling was placed when I was five years old. Every year, I had had several more. What I understood now that I had not known before was that every one of those silver fillings was 45-52 percent mercury, one of the deadliest elements on earth. More dangerous than lead, it was second only to radioactive materials like plutonium in its toxicity.
My blood sugar was high and my cholesterol had risen thirty-nine points in four months. Dr. Huggins told me that the combination of those two numbers showed that my liver, the primary organ of detoxification, was in distress.
For the past year, my body had been storing the mercury flowing off my teeth in tissue and bone, preferring heavy metal homeostasis to the cost to my bladder and kidneys of releasing it. It had tolerated the mercury for a while. As a result, there was little evidence of it in my hair analysis.
No more. The urine test showed mercury, damaging as it enters the body and even more damaging as it exits, beginning to pour out of me.
Dr. Huggins explained that his staff would remove all my fillings and crowns. They would place me on an IV drip that would scavenge the mercury that was released into my bloodstream, while submerging my mouth in water to trap the released vapor. The air in the treatment room would be filtered. The fillings and crowns would be replaced with composite resin. In addition, my teeth would be tested for their individual electrical charges.
He said that standard dental materials contain not only mercury but also copper, tin, silver, and zinc. When dissimilar metals are bathed in saliva, a current is generated. Dr. Huggins called them “batteries in the bicuspids.” It appeared that a crown placed by my dentist back home a year earlier had created a charge high enough to cause a type of reverse electroplating. Mercury flowed off my fillings and into my blood and tissue at an unsustainable rate.
I was in a critical state.
The actual work would be done one quadrant at a time over four “dental days” during my ten-day stay at the clinic. The quadrant with the highest negative reading would be treated first. Dr. Huggins also told me that one of my teeth would need to be extracted because it contained a root canal. Since root canals are dead teeth, the body reads them as “not self” and sets up an autoimmune response to them, a source of illness that compounds the illnesses caused by the mercury itself.
They could temporarily fill the hole to create a better cosmetic effect. “But, make no mistake," he said. "That tooth will be gone.”
There was one more caveat. The clinic could not place permanent crowns on my teeth during my time there. They would provide me with necessary information to carry out the restoration of my mouth when I got home.
Dr. Huggins asked me if I wanted to proceed.
“Yes,” I answered, my voice barely more than a whisper.
“Yes,” I said firmly. I was there on a provisional basis until I committed to treatment.
“Thank you,” I added.
The late afternoon sun fell across the clinic’s entrance. I pressed my body into the shadow of the doorway. When the familiar gold car drove up, I climbed in and arranged myself over the hump in the back. As Carrie’s son pulled away, he asked, “How did your first day go?”
Without a trace of irony, I responded, “Great.”