... conventional and alternative medicine?
Dr. Bacchus, medical doctor in Governors Harbour is also an acupuncturist and does hypnotherapy, sound therapy, aroma therapy and last but not least a special pain therapy.
He and his wife, a dentist, have lived in Eleuthera for many years. In the early seventies the good doctor serviced the whole island from Rock Sound to North Eleuthera carrying all the medication in the trunk of his car.
In May of 2005 I did an interview with him. Please meet...
Dr. Bacchus, medical doctor
in Governors Harbour
Interviewer: Dr. Bacchus, you are the local doctor known to practically every foreign Winter resident in and around Governor's Harbour. Your office is on top of the Governor's Harbour hill near the Cigatoo restaurant.
Every one has seen the blue on white sign in front of your house that says "General Practitioner".
For how long have you been practicing here?
Dr. B.: I came in 1974 which would make it about 31 years that I've been the medical doctor in Governor's Harbour.
Q: Did you start right here on top of the hill?
Dr. B.: No, I was in the settlement where the Haynes library is. That was my residence for 15 years. Laughs.
Q: Please tell me how the medical care in Eleuthera is organized and how many medical doctors are practicing on the island permanently.
Dr. B.: On a permanent basis there are three doctors. These are the three private practitioners. One is in Spanish Wells in the north. He is an American. I am here in Central Eleuthera and then there's one in Rock Sound in the South.
There are also the district medical officers. These are the Government doctors. They are not here permanently. They come for some weeks or one to three years.
All the clinics we have on the island are Government operated.
The private medical services are utilized mainly by Winter residents and tourists. Why? They know it is better care and better medication.
The only handy cap here is that because of constraints, we as well as the Government clinics, do not have real emergency facilities, no emergency rooms. But the Government clinics handle emergencies, meaning that they take charge of evacuations. I used to do that in cooperation with the government when I was running all the clinics on the island which I did for 28 years.
Q: Winter residents make up the majority of your clients as you said. What symptoms are you mainly treating in them?
Dr. B.: Let's start with the tourists and look at the most typical things. Sand fly bites! They all get bitten by the so-called no-see-ums, the sand flies you can hardly see. You will find these insects all over the Caribbean islands. Sand flies come out particularly at sun rise and sun set.
The Winter residents come in with the same things everybody else has, meaning diabetes, hypertension, pulmonary diseases from heavy smoking, heart problems and so forth. They simply bring their medical conditions with them when they come to live on Eleuthera.
One warning to Winter residents (from the medical doctor in Governor's Harbour!)...
Don't start to drink alcohol out of boredom!
Chronic alcohol abuse has been a problem with winter residents who did not find an activity that is meaningful to them. There's nothing wrong with having a little fun at the parties, but don't make drinking alcohol a daily habit.
Q: As you said, you are not handling emergencies or accidents any longer. Who then should be contacted when an emergency occurs?
Dr. B.: We have an ambulance service. I think the first thing that anyone should do in case of an emergency, is to...
... contact Chris Goslin, an Englishman living between Governor's Harbour and North Palmetto Point. Chris is driving a brand new ambulance.
To request his ambulance service, phone 332-3178. Or call him on his cell phone 557-7006.
Chris will take you to the Government clinics because I don't do emergency medicine anymore.
Q: Dr. Bacchus, what would your medical advice to foreign residents be, who intend to stay here during Winters or even longer?
Dr. B.: Well, you have to get accustomed to two thing. One, the heat and two the sand flies.
When you stay here for the first time over an extended period of time, don't get into the sun too often. Take it gradually because of the fact that there is skin cancer to worry about and that sort of things. That's number one.
Number two: The sand flies. They will attack new blood - people new to the islands - anytime. Remember that they come out between 5 & 7 in the morning and 5 & 7 in the evening. So, avoid being on the beaches during those hours and if you have to, then wear slacks.
The good side of it is that we get accustomed to them and they don't bother us anymore.
Do I recommend any specific treatment? No! Because a lot of the repellents that people use are poisonous to the system and are not highly recommended. Citronella oil is not quite as effective but it is safer than all the repellents people rub into their skin.
But apart from the above two points, sun and sand flies...
... all things bright and beautiful... well, they are right here on Eleuthera. Big smile.
Q: Dr. Bacchus, you are the medical doctor in Governor's Harbour. You completed a formal training in school medicine. I know you are trained in alternative medicine, too. Would you please tell me what methods you are using and in what particular instances?
Dr. B.: First of all let me tell you that I have an Moscow M.D., 1971. That's where I studied medicine. So I had to learn the Russian language first. And the main reason why I mention that is not to let you know that I studied there...
... but apart from general medicine there were a lot of believes in several alternative methods. Herbal remedies etc. It had nothing to do with my medical training but it was available there. And hence my interest in alternative medicine.
Furthermore back in my home country Guyana, in South America, there was a lot of bush medicine.
After I got interested in alternative medicine I took up courses in herbal medicine in western countries. What really started it was the doctorate course I did in metaphysical science at the University of Metaphysics in San Jose, California. The teaching was on a lot of things that are natural. It also encompassed hypnotherapy which is therapy with hypnosis another alternative approach.
Then there was my training in sound therapy which is good for people who suffer from states of confusion. Or patients who have ear problems, virtigo, or who cannot stand crowds because they get confused from all the different noises. Sound therapy actually started with a writer from Gregory Town in Eleuthera.
Aroma therapy is another alternative. It is mainly used for relaxation. I also use it in hypnosis to induce a particular imagery. Basically aroma therapy is a stimulation of the cortical cells of the brain.
Now here I must add a word of caution to professional doctors and in particular to medical doctors...
... Don't be gods! We as medical doctors don't know it all. We don't have all the answers. That was one of the reasons I got into alternative medicine where I found answers I could not have found in general medicine.
Q: You are the medical doctor in Governor's Harbour and your wife is a dentist. Is she active in her profession?
Dr. B.: She practices in the Government clinics in Governor's Harbour, North Eleuthera and Harbour Island which is just off the coast of north-western Eleuthera.
Q: From your Web site www.DoctorBacchus.com I know that you also do Anti-Aging Acupuncture and Non-Surgical Face Lifts. What exactly is that and how much does it cost?
Dr. B.: I tell you how much it costs first because that's what people are interested in. It's $ 165 per session and it lasts for an hour and a half, sometimes for two hours. You are supposed to have it twice weekly for a period of six weeks.
Now, why is this acupuncture treatment anti-aging?
Because unlike most of the chemicals used for anti-aging and surgical face lifting, this method non-surgical face lift utilizes the entire body.
In other words I do what is called a rejuvenation of the whole body, a tonification program which involves acupuncture needles that you can hardly feel. They are placed on different parts of the body which is anti-aging all by itself.
Then I work on the face using acupuncture, a subject I studied as an M.D. for a full year in Toronto, Canada.
Let's say for example you have puffy eyes. That's a sign that your kidneys are not functioning properly. You may not have a major kidney problem. But by stimulating certain points on the body which are acupuncture points, I can have your kidneys reconditioned in order to get rid of this puffiness.
Q: Please tell me about you and your wife and why you wanted to be the medical doctor of Governor's Harbour in Central Eleuthera?
Dr. B.: I was born in 1942 in Guyana, the only English-speaking country in South America which is next to Venezuela.
I left there in 1965 and went to Moscow for my medical studies. It was a big move and my mother fainted at the airport because she thought I would never come back from behind the Iron Curtain as Russia was called then.
And there's a rule in Guyana... If you go abroad to learn something, you must come back as somebody. If you don't pass the test you cannot go back to your home town or village. They won't look at you.
I met my wife in Moscow where she was raised and our daughter was born there, too.
After completion of my M.D. we went back to South America, worked there a little bit and then decided to come to the Bahamas because of economic problems in Guyana.
But I wasn't really coming here because when I looked at the map of The Bahamas, I saw a few dots. No way I'm going to go there because I'll only see water. But someone said "You know, if you go to the Bahamas, you can go shopping in Miami every day if you want". And, boy, they have lots of casinos, too. So it looked very exciting.
But I was not really planning on coming to Eleuthera. I was called by the Chief Medical Officer in Nassau. So my wife and I left Guyana in 1974 within two weeks and the guy in Nassau showing me a map of the Bahamas said...
"Where do you want to go in The Bahamas? You want to go here, there or there?" And I replied "I don't know. Wherever you say". So he said "Go to Eleuthera. There are lots of chickens there. Chicken farms and a dairy farm". So I visualized arriving at the airport having to be chasing chicken along the way and hearing the "Moohh" of cows because that's what I like...
... because I love a relaxed atmosphere. I'd never like to work in a big city. And I thought Eleuthera might be the best place for me. But...
... when I arrived, it was all bushes. These people must think I'm a vet or something. Well, first the airport. I thought it was a chicken coop because it was so small then. And along the road there were no houses. So I thought, I'll leave the next day.
As I came to the library building that was to be my home, I noticed a cemetery behind the house and a church and beyond that another cemetery. And I thought "Oh, no way, I'm leaving the next day".
However there was a very nice nurse here, a Jamaican nurse, who encouraged us to stay and the people encouraged us and we found it to be so very friendly that we thought of extending our stay, signing a contract actually, going for a year, then two years then three years and it went on and on until now, 31 years later.
Interviewer: Thank you very much for this most interesting interview, Dr. Bacchus. You have given all of us a completely new picture of our medical doctor in Governor's Harbour. What a great story!