By: Dr. L. Joe Stucky
It all started with an ear infection!
The year was 1936 (the year of my birth), and our country was in the throes of the Great Depression. It was one of the hottest summers on record in our hometown; Pine Island, Minnesota (15 miles from Rochester, home of the famous Mayo Clinic). My older sister, Gyla, was experiencing a serious and painful ear infection. The medical treatment she was receiving consisted mainly of lancing the eardrum once or twice a week to relieve pressure and enhance drainage. She was crying incessantly and no one was getting sleep at night.
As the infection lingered, my grandfather (who had a 4th grade education but was a very clever, astute business man) suggested to my father, Leo (a tough minded small town banker) that his granddaughter would not be able to hear by the time she started school (she was five at the time) if the malady continued. He further suggested that my father take Gyla to a chiropractor in Rochester. To my father this was preposterous. He thought, “What can a ‘bone cracker’ do for a child with ear infection?” Grandfather further stated he and his wife (Dad’s stepmother) had benefited substantially from chiropractic adjustments and that they had seen many children in the office as well. Parents were extolling the virtues of adjustments for their children’s health.
At whit’s end, my father took Gyla to see Dr. Roland Villett, whose office was on the second floor of the Stoppel Building, two blocks east of the Mayo Clinic. A canopy over the sidewalk entrance was surrounded by a red neon sign that said, “Chiropractic gets sick people well.” How prophetic this was!
While waiting with my sister, a man in doctor’s garb came out and invited them into his treatment/adjusting room. The man looked a little strange with his thick glasses which Dad said looked like the bottom of a Coke bottle. The doctor was legally blind but his marvelous hands and touch were unaffected.
After examining Gyla he told my father that her problem was in her neck. This puzzled Dad, but Dr. Villett went on to explain that the top vertebra in her neck (the Atlas) was out of alignment and putting pressure on the spinal cord. This was causing nerve interference which disturbs bodily function and prevents the body from healing itself.
With the examination complete and somewhat hesitant and doubting approval from my father, Dr. Villett placed Gyla on her side on his adjusting table with her resting on a special headpiece. Before adjusting, however, he practiced briefly on his “speeder,” a learning device for the chiropractic student. He wanted to be certain that his adjustment was light, fast, and razor sharp for the critical delicate maneuver he was about to perform.
With a light, fast move with his experienced hands (he graduated from the Palmer School of Chiropractic, Davenport, Iowa, in 1923, where he studied under the famous B.J. Palmer, DC, Ph.C.) he moved the Atlas in Gyla’s neck. She promptly fell asleep on the table totally exhausted from the ear infection and slept 14 continuous hours. My parents became alarmed thinking something was amiss. Upon awakening, she was already much improved. With four more specific adjustments her problem was resolved. No pills, powders, shots or prescriptions, just spinal adjustments that released the body’s ability to heal itself the way the Creator intended. It was as simple as that – but yet profound.
Such was the beginning of our life (the Stucky family) in chiropractic. It started not with a bad back as some are inclined to think but with a child’s infection. The results were dramatic to say the least. From that day on our family depended solely on chiropractic for health care. Our family of six children had one of the finest attendance records at our school. We were a hardworking, “outdoorsy” type of family, all of us doing odd jobs and pedaling newspapers. Periodically Dad would load us all into the car and take us for chiropractic tune-ups. If an illness cropped up (which was rare) we were adjusted for that also. The results were always dramatic and impressive. We used medical doctors for crisis therapy only- fractures, lacerations, etc. Good health was a given at our house. Credit must also go to Mom for great nutrition, one of the five basic ingredients of good health (proper diet, rest, exercise, a good mental attitude, and a body free of nerve interference). She had beautiful gardens (2), canned often and served us top grade meat from one of Grandpa’s farms.
One adjustment given at the right time, in the right place, in the right direction, provided the impetus for a total embrace of chiropractic.
To quote B.J. Palmer:
We never know what little thing we may think, say or do today will affect the lives of millions tomorrow. It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness. Get the ‘idea,’ all else follows.