Monday, February 21, 2005

Acupuncture Session 3

Continuing my 5 part insider's look at the world of Acupuncture. Briefly, I got pains and problems too numerous to mention. Decided to give Acupuncture a shot, ha ha. Get it. I paid for 5 treatments at a local Acupuncture school, after that I get an exam of the results. This bloggy diary of my five sessions hopes to give you everything I see and feel. See previous parts of this story to get the total jist.

Pains of the week. I still get stiff in the neck when I lay on it. My left leg flared up on Wednesday, means it hurts when I walk on it. And my right shoulder hurts when I put weight on it (sleeping on my side).

I make it to this week's appointment, sit in the waiting room and worry if I'll get another hard handed newbie or gentle touch intern like I had the first time. It turns out the Supervising Acupuncturist Teacher takes me in for the exam. She does the vitals: tongue and pulse. I ask about the dampness in my tongue and she says, "It is getting better, There is less coating on the tongue". For whatever reason she doesn't do my blood pressure. I always felt that was a Western medicine thing anyway.

We go to the therapy room and she wants to have me lie on my side to make it easy for me because she feels I am always dizzy during treatments. I correct her and say I only got dizzy last time but that was only when I had the pressure points in my hand injected. I told her I ate more this time (treatments burn the body's energy). She says she will not do my hands again because they are sensitive. She leaves. I get naked, meaning take off outer wear. I lay on my side on the treatment table with a towel, face to the wall. The Sup Doc is back and I see in the glass reflection of the pressure points chart,a short man hurriedly come in too. She describes to the guy what is going on in Chinese and kinda shows him the points with her fingers. He gets the needles together and this all happens in seconds. I brace myself and get pricked in the back along my spine. The Sup Doc tells me she will put a needle in my head to allieviate my neck pain and says it will be sensitive. Once again, no time to react. She (Doc) is applying alchohol swab to the top of my head (direct middle, center). It basically feels like my hair is getting all the alcohol but I'm sure the swab touches my skin a bit. I tense up my muscles and she pokes my head gently. It is not bad but maybe I am distracted because at the same time, the intern guy is finishing his pokes with 6 needles in my back. He is not gentle either! I try to relax. The doc comes back around to my legs and does my knees. My first knee is painlessly pricked. The second knee is sandwiched between the table and my other knee so a hard position to get to. I will gladly move it out a bit for her but nah, before I can ask, she tries at that angle anyway and it hurt a bit. Not as much as the intern dude. When I say hurt, I mean pinch. Pain is gone once needle is in correctly. Sometimes the needles go in too deep. I think I teared during one of the intern's hits and I actually cried out an ouch. Overall I was feeling okay when they were done. Heat lamp went on at the lowest setting because I was burning up the last time. The doctors leave me. I calm myself down as I lay, breathed in and breathed out. Intern guy checks on me a few times, I can't understand the dude very well. I lay and rest as I rewrite this blog in my head trying not to forget the details. The Sup doc comes back and gives me a massage threw a warm towel. Basically she gives me a quick cycle of shaking my shoulders and back area around. She gives that area hard pats too with the palm of her hand I think. The Sup doc then uses 2 fingers and goes up and down the sides of my spine a few times hitting accupressure points, pretty fast. I hope her aim is good. She totally pinches her finger in my left hip too. My guess is it is for my left hip pain. Shes says that she is done and that I can get dressed.

I leave the medical clinic feeling refreshed whether that is psychological or because I am relieved it is over? I even feel that I am walking with a straighter posture. Feeling positive and full of energy, I start to pick up the pace and want to run to my car. Then I feel my shoulder pound and ache as I run about three steps and I think, nope, maybe I don't feel so good. I look at my watch and I was probably in treatment for like an hour and a half laying on my right shoulder. All my body weight pressing down on it. Ouch. I anticipate what after effects I should expect today. Will I be sore as hell or no effect? I don't even feel dizzy like my second treatment. I even go a little shopping before I head home. When I get home, I babysit and supervise the kids naptime. It's there that it hits me. I am really tired. I don't think I am normally tired like this during the day. The kids wake up as Nich gets back from the grocery but I want to nap too. Nich doesn't want me to sleep. And I didn't mean to, but I fall asleep sitting in the recliner and am out cold for like 30 minutes. I don't even hear the kids playing around me. I can conclude that the Acupuncture treatment put out my body but I also thought maybe my body was tired from going to San Francisco (see my WonderCon blog) and walking around.

I should mention that I have dry, patchy skin on my knees and elbows that the first intern told me was due to stress. And since that condition started a year ago, I'd believe I've been down with a lot of stress within the last year. The reason I don't mention this condition in the blogs earlier is because my goal with the Acupuncture is to relieve my joint pains. The skin thing is a bonus if they can cure it. Normally I have dry scabs that stay and grow bigger if I try to peel them myself. Anyways I notice that the dry patches are peeling off on their own which means they may heal up. I know this because Western medicine prescribed me this steroid cream that I had to use daily giving me those results. The peeling / healing results are not fast as the cream, but maybe my body is slowly healing itself.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

WonderCon 2005 SF

In case you don't know... WonderCon is the big Comic Book, Toy, Anime, SciFi, Costuming Geek Event of Northern California. I know, I've been going for years. My friends invited me this year and last. I've been off and on with mainstream comics since the mid 90's but have always tried to keep up with what's new, at least in the indie comic scene. And a big part in keeping up with comics is going to comic book conventions.

So we take a BART train from Fremont to the event at Moscone Convention Center in downtown San Francisco. It is a rainy day as we emerge from the escalator out of the train station on Powell Street. A brisk walk for a few blocks takes us to the Moscone Center. It is about 11am so the big entrance lines have already went in and we casually hop in the registration line to get our entrance badges. WIth badges firmly pinned, we make it down the stairs and into the main lecture room. The plan is to stake out some good seats and hold them all dayl. It is pretty empty with programmming to begin in about an hour and a half. We get to like the third row of the middle section. We sprawl all our bags and jackets along the seats to look like we live here and stake our claim. We all agree to take shifts on the holding seats. So the non-seat holders can peruse the dealer's room or take a bathroom break. Why? Because in reality, you may have a Star Wars event where this room will be jam packed. You never know. Between exchanging shifts, I am off and on between the dealer's room and the lecture hall. And between that I grab a quick bite to eat at Mel's Dinner which is a block down the street. I get a big ol' cheeseburger. Yum! I skip the Joss Whedon 1:00 lecture for the dealers room. Yes, the almighty dealer's room. Stuff upon stuff. Same stuff as all conventions: bootleg DVD of rare tv or movies, Hong Kong DVDs, Anime Toys, Superhero toys, Vintage comics, comics people are trying to get rid of, original art, etc. I like looking at the stuff but not necessarily interested in buying. I can appreciate the craft in a tiny futuristic motorcycle DragonBall toy from Japan. There is a autograph alley in the dealer's room where you could've met celebs like Richard Hatch or Margot Kidder. Front center of the dealer's room was the industry big wig tables which I couldn't get near because of all the people, so I can't tell you who was there. I did see the demos of City of Heroes video game. There is an artist alley where you can meet the big wig industry artists to the self publishing creators. And within Artists Alley is Adult Models Avenue (that's the name I gave it). Who's to say they are not artists? I skip by this area, nothing to do with the models, it's the creepy hairy drooling men in this aisle that scare me.

The first lecture I catch is 2:00pm with Kevin Smith of Clerks, Mallrats fame. Lines were so long to even get through the door. I had to sneak in through a side door and convince the volunteer guard I already had a seat waiting. Kevin Smith gets onstage. He is full of personality and cusses a lot but the crowd seems to love it. I guess he is the ultimate hero fanboy for all geeks. The guy is a comic collector and Star Wars fan. Makes a few independent films, gets famous and then gets to write comic books and write superhero screenplays. Smith answers audience questions right away, interacts well with the fans and seemingly can make up the weirdest stories on the spot. He talked about writing the screenplay for Superman and the Green Hornet. Most questions wanted inside info like about the Superman movie and next Star Wars movie, but Kevin didn't give anything up. His movie bro, Jason Mewes makes a surprise appearance too.

330-430pm.The next speaker was Julian McMahon promoting the Fantastic Four movie. He plays on FX's Nip and Tuck, but will play Dr. Doom in the FF movie. I downloaded a pic of the crew from the web a while ago and I didn't think they looked believable. BUt seeing the trailer, I am all over that movie. It looks awesome! Even though they changed the origin of the Fantastic Four completely, I understand they have to dum down or make it more acceptable to a mainstream audience. McMahon was funny and charmed the crowd. I'm not sure he really read the Fantastic Four books like he said, but I'm sure all the actors tell us they've read the comics.

430-500pm. Next presentation had superproducer, Joel Silver and ex-24 star, Elisa Cuthbert presenting a preview for new horror flick, House of Wax. Paris Hilton was a no show for this event. I would've loved to see her, though my friends didn't care for her celebutante status. Well the movie preview showed Paris isn't much of an actress, but I thought the movie looked pretty good. During audience questions, Cuthbert admitted that she was asked to participate in future episodes of 24 but didn't reveal anything else. Another guy in the audience even admited he was a fan of hers since she was in Canada with her Nico the Unicorn movie. What? What? You know Elisa got on her celly to call security for that stalker. No, him not me.

500-530pm. The star of Batman Begins, Christian Bale takes the stage. He is the same actor who dropped his weight to like 97 lbs. for a movie role. A six minute Batman preview is shown. Security guards with binoculars watch the audience for video recording because of the absolute exclusivity of the footage. Bale admits to a much darker movie closer to the feel of the Miller Batman, I guess. In other words, more of a vengeful vigilante. Interestingly, he took to Batman as the character's real personality and Bruce Wayne was like the mask he used in public.

My friends sit and stay for the Star Wars presentation along with probably 90% of the WonderCon attendees. I, on the otherhand, use this to my advantage to take over the dealer's room. Nah, I just want to check out all the junk for sale within the last hour of the Con. So I pace up and down the aisles to whatever catches my eye. Hmmm. 5 books for $20 or everything $1. Good prices but lousy books. Everything has been cherry picked, I'm sure. I end up getting a copy of Super7 magazine with Godzilla on the cover. Inside has some good art. Then I get 3 back issues of DRAW! Magazine. This is one my favorite mags. It offers tips on shading, coloring, perspective, etc. Always a different focus and guest artist for each issue. Well, it is getting late and people are being kicked out of the dealer's room. Goodbye, Wondercon. Hello train ride home.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Tips on Shoplifting 2

Nich had the kids with her at play group so I had nothing to do on a late morning Friday. I go to Tower (Records). As I was about to walk into the store, I see an older guy, graying beard with a heavy type ski jacket go in ahead of me. Nothing particularly special about the guy. I got a lot of time to kill so I figure I will hang out and look at EVERYTHNG+ books, magazines, toys, etc. As I was looking at the dumb stuff in the clearance box. I noticed the bearded guy had a 2 way radio go off and he talked to someone in Spanish. Nothing weird about that, I figure the guy works down the street and someone is looking for him. Work is a common usage I know with 2way radios. I look at all the action figures along the toy racks along the store's walls. I see the bearded guy walk by. He has a pack of blank CDs. There are really not a lot of people in the store. I go over to the listening areas to hear some new music CDs. I see beard guy carrying no items now. Weird. Stands out to me because: A) 2 way radio B) Carrying items, then not carrying items. I think the guy is security. 2way radios were common security use when I was working at an amusement park. I remember this undercover security guy used to hold his radio in a small plastic store bag. This bearded guy just keeps it in the pocket of his heavy jacket. Also I know Tower has undercover security, one time I saw a guy that appeared to be shopping and a Tower employee was talking to him like he knew him, plus that guy had a radio too. Dead giveaway dude. So I am at a listening station and bearded guy is like 2 racks away from me standing reading a magazine. Reading a magazine in the middle of CD aisles. Pretty random spot to read a magazine. The guy never looks at me though. I listen to 3 CDs. It takes a long time to find the hit song and hear the chorus and figure out if the album is good, but that guy is still there at the same rack reading and never looking at me. I wonder if I am a target because my back is facing the employees at the register and my body is against the listening booth. Guess I can unwrap a CD and put in my pants this way. I mean, I don't know, why else is that beard guy sweating me. Well I am bored with listening to CDs. I figure I'll look at magazines next. But then I think I should go somewhere else to see if the guy follows me. I said whatever and went to magazines anyways. I am a magazine design nut so I like to look at every magazine at every section. I start at the beginning on the left side then lo and behold bearded guy is at the magazines, middle of the racks. Of course now he is holding a music CD. I notice employees walk by him and not say anything so I figure these Tower employees are smart, not reacting to the guy. Eventually I get to the middle of the magazine racks about the same time more people are looking at magazines. As I walk past the supposed guard, he looks at me as I pass by. I was into some music magazine and finished when I look up and noticed all the other shoppers were gone. Even the guard dude. So I put the mag away and get ready to leave and notice an Asian dude was kinda standing behind me reading a magazine, wearing a thick ski type jacket. I am out of there!

Lee's Sandwiches, Vietnamese Sandwiches

They have about 50 Lee's Sandwiches shops around the United States. They have all seemed to spring up within the last year. Like one grand opening a month. The difference with this chain than like Subway is Lee's serves Vietnamese sandwiches. My friend Erik and I used to get this type of sandwich downtown decades ago for like .75 cents to a dollar each. Sometimes buy one get one free too. Thing was the meat was a mystery. Sometimes it was white loaf or super fatty unidentified ham type. Especially since you don't ask, they just gave you whatever. But every sandwich would have fresh baked french bread, fresh vegetables and pate. Very unique. And most of all very cheap eats. This Lee's chain has gotten smart since those days. All the meats are pretty much identified catering to non vietnamese and this chain caters even more so with typical turkey & cheese american type sandwiches on the menu also. Sure you can still get an avocado shake here too so don't get me wrong, it is a American friendly Vietnamese eating. Since finding out they built a shop by my house. I go like every week. Gone is the pate on the grilled chicken sandwich ($2) and the bread is not toasted warm and crispy before each order like I was used to. But otherwise a great, inexpensive sandwich. They have eggrolls and fried bananas in the heated glass case too. And I've noticed if you go to a different location they may have other totally different fried things. This last time I went, I thought I'd be adventurous and get the Combination sandwich ($2.50) which looks like the classic I used to get years ago. Surprisingly it had pate. Wasn't flavorful though. The meat was a red fatty, rubbery slice with pepper corns in it. The meat not was generous, just enough to taste in each bite. But why was it .50 cents more than the chicken? Maybe pate boosts the price. Not too disgusting but I was hoping for combination of different meats. Yeah, maybe it was. Overall Lee's is a great tasting adventure to me.

Acupuncture Session 2

Continuing my 5 part expose on the Acupuncture industry. Briefly I have ailments and I paid for 5 treatments at a local Acupuncture school. Let's see the results through this bloggy diary of my five sessions. See previous parts of this story to get the total jist.

My second visit begins with a new intern doctor to my surprise. I'm like, what happened to the other guy? No biggie I figure, he just reads my chart and continues the pin poking. But we go to the examination room and and asks why I am here. I briefly explain my shoulder, back and neck ailments and ask him politely to look at the chart. Because I feel like I just went through all that medical life history stuff already. Intern doc looks at the chart and I get this "oh, okay" response. He then takes my vital signs like from my first visit: blood pressure, pulse and tongue check. I ask how my blood pressure compared to last week and it is way better. I was borderline high level before. I think it is because I am always nervous with medical appointments and I felt better this second time. Doc takes my pulse and if you read part 1, I am still curious about my dampness condition and I ask about the dampness and how it is detected. He says he can tell by the pressure he applies and the strength of the pulse I give that shows normalness, below normalness or dampness.

I am then taken to a therapy room, different room, probably a little smaller than last time. I let the intern know that I can't lay flat comfortably in my condition so I let him know I'll use the room's chair. He sets it up next to the massage table and it leaves no room to walk around the chair. So if you were to come in the room, the chair pretty much blocks you from getting into the rest of the room. He says to take off my clothes, I know the routine, and he leaves the room. I do it and sit in the chair. I notice a new poster on the wall and it is a closeup of an ear diagram detailing points of the ear that respond to seemingly every health condition: like congested nose and headache. I don't have enough time to study it but there were at least 50 points in the ear for every ailment. The diagram was so crowded with names, points and lines that I thought I was looking at war map surrounding the Yangtze River. Anyways the intern doctor comes in and squeezes past me around the chair to get the needles and get started. He like swabs my whole back at one time instead of swabbing each area before each puncture. Right then and there I hit fear with comparing the first intern I had. That guy was great, nice and gentle. Not to mention there was no supervising doctor this time around. I kinda thought it'd be rude to ask why. Maybe, I wondered if this intern was good enough to be doing it by himself. He was fast and got down to it. He didn't have to feel around for the pressure point too much. It seemed he found it then pricked me. This guy's touch actually hurt more and I winced and said ouch to myself alot. While the first intern guy I had did a fast flick of the needle, I can feel the new guy like hammering it in me. Like tap, tap, tap, in. So it wasn't as quick, nice and easy as I liked. Intern doc even pushed the needles in too far and you can feel him pull the needle back out a little when it happened. So he does my neck, back and shoulders. The knees, the intern tells me, increases blood circulation. He finishes my knees and I can't believe I survived. Then Intern Doc says he is gonna apply to a sensitive area, I wince. And he says he will apply needles to the side of my hands (sensitive because the skin is thinner there), to ease the pain in my back. I have no time to react and he positions my hand into a fist, knuckles up, on my knee and shoots the needle in. Actually was quick and painless. Then he hurriedly squeezes, because of the tight chair position, past my legs to the other knee, all needles bob and weave on me. Doc positions my hand and shoots. Oh man, the needle goes in deep. It was like I felt the needle puncture through artery, muscle and bone. I was like "ahhhhh, ahhhh, ahhhh". And the doc quickly pulled the needle back a little. Weird ass feeling but I calmed down and it was okay. I've kinda seen how it is done now. I was too scared to look my first time. The tiny hair thin needle (not really hair thin looking as I've seen it described) actually comes in a clear plastic tube a little shorter than the needle. Next to the needle in the tube is like a long green colored stopper, maybe made of fabric. The tube is placed on top of the pressure point, then the doctor pulls the green fabric stopper out of the tube. The needle is then loose inside the tube. With the top of the handle top needle exposed at the top of the clear plastic tube, the doctor flicks the needle into the skin. Pretty ingenious, huh. I originally thought the doctor held the needle with 2 fingers and smacked them in like a short distance game of darts.

So all the needles are in and the doctor spins the neck of the heat lamp to my back, turns it on, and leaves the room. All of a sudden I can actually feel a upward flushing of like heat rise up from my fists through my arms and into my head. Aw man, I don't know what I am feeling. Light headedness, headache, dizzy, I don't know how to describe it all. The heat is cooking me. I feel like throwing up but not being able to throw up. I'm like how long can I last like this, should I pull the needles out, call out for help. I was kinda scared. I instantly felt I was gonna crap in my pants. I held it in. In the back of all this pain, I'm like, this acupuncture stuff really works. I mean there is no doubt. How can the guy needle my hand and I instantly feel a flushing heat take over my body. Was this psychological I thought? Maybe I was worrying and causing myself to panic more. SO I tryed to breathe in and out slowly like "Tai Chi" and calm down but I could not. I bent forward away from the heat lamp. I was like burning up and I wanted to go to the bathroom. My body was outta control. I knew there was no way I could last the normal 30 minute treatment sitting there. It was probably 2 minutes total that elapsed, but felt like an eternity when The intern and the supervising doctor come in. They ask how it was going. I was like "I'm dizzy, lightheaded, headachey". The intern took the hand needles out and massaged my hand and said "how's that?" "The same", I said, and the intern took out all the needles. Same feeling. The super said I took to the treatment really well and asked if I ate breakfast and I said " a little". She said I should be on a full stomach because my body needs to draw a lot of energy from the body. Oh, now she tells me. Last visit she told me I shoulda ate breakfast, but I was too nervous and not hungry. The Sup tells the intern to give me a back rub and she surprisingly remembered I can lie on my side okay and instructed me to do that until I felt better. Intern doc does a quick shoulder & back rub through a warm towel. Typically I'm all down for a massage to my aches but I am in no mood to appreciate it. I just want to lay down and when they leave the room, I did. I just dropped myself on the bed, arm hanging off the side, most of my boxers peeking out under the towel. Man, I didn't care. I was slowly feeling better as I laid there still in disbelief of the effects of Acupuncture. My arm kept falling off the table so I know I was dozing off a little. The intern checked on me and I said I was getting better. The next time he checked in I said I was good and was gonna dress up, but layed there for a minute more. I just felt kinda weird laying there on a massage table, half sleeping with no clothes on. So I got dressed and left. My head still having a slight spin that continued through the afternoon. I remember the Supervising Doctor saying the treatment would still work since the needles were in for a short amount of time. I kept thinking I didn't get my moneys worth but I couldn't handle the full session. I was hoping maybe I'd get the aches and the sweats through the day like last treatment. But as I write this I feel no lingering effects of the therapy. My conclusion is the longer the better on the therapy. I don't know if I can handle the same thing happening next week. Maybe I'll try to last a little longer, knowing now I won't die. I will definitely eat something more. Maybe bring a bottled juice too.

Tips on Shoplifting Part 1

Nich, me and the kids went to the mall. Ate in the food court then went to a store that shall remain nameless. We get 2 shopping carts, one for each kid to sit in, the guard smiles at us as we go by. I'm always suspicious of security guards. I put the kid's diaper bag in my cart along with the styrofoam carton of mall food leftovers. We proceed to do our shopping, roving around for face cleanser. "Uh, do you need another toothbrush?""Can I get cookies?" "Hey, I need shades to replace the ones I broke". I want shades too. I lost my shades in Vegas when I went down in September. Probably left 'em in the rent a car or my dad kept them and lied to me. The styles suck in this store unless you wanna pay like $20 or $15. That may be cheap to some people, but I go through shades like nobody's business. Lenses crack, pop, frames break, bullet holes or yeah, they get lost. So I don't like to spend a lot on shades. I find a decent pair and throw it in my cart. We get to the cash register and throw everything on the conveyor belt. The kids are nuts as usual for candy or something. I pay for the items. Nich tries to get the bags. I zoom ahead to keep my kid distracted. I look at the receipt briefly to see how much I am charged for my shades. I've learned the hard way to always check the receipt before you leave the store or you'll be hating yourself if you have to drive back for a mispriced item. Anyways I can't find my shades on the receipt and I think to myself I don't remember putting it on the conveyor belt. My eyes dart down to the bottom of the cart for a brief second. Then my brain registers, I know what happened. The diaper bag fell on top of the shades, I didn't see them in the cart and they weren't scanned. We cart up to the guard at the store door and I figure I'd show him my receipt where he can catch the shades in the cart and we can inoccently say "oh, we forgot to put it in the scanner". No harm done. I'm sure it happens all the time, that's why he's there. I cart up the the guard, raise the recipt up to him with my hand, but he doesn't want to see my receipt and says I can go. I'm like alright free shades! Then we come up to the exit door and the shoplift detectors. I'm like, "oh crap, is it gonna beep?" We are in the no excuses range. We are dead meat! Really no time to think. Nich doesn't know whats going on and goes through. Sensors beep as the tip of my cart hits the sensor. I stop and turn around confused because I am. The guard runs over and says "was it your cart?" I say yeah, "Do you want to check the bag?", and I start to open it up and he goes no since my cart only has a diaper bag, he says it is probably a cell phone or something we are carrying. He sees the store bags are in Nich's cart that didn't beep and the guard lets us go through. As we leave the store we talk about where we parked the car and I whisper to Nich that my shades weren't on the receipt then I say they were under the diaper bag. "Let's get the car quick!" Sure I found a price discrepancy on the face cleanser compared to the price on the shelf but I'm not saying it justifies anything. I am not proud of keeping the shades but somehow I do wish I got the higher priced model.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Acupuncture Session 1

I have started Acupuncture therapy. It will be my first time. I have paid for 5 sessions. After that I will get an examination to check the progress. So I thought this would be a great time to blog diary the 5 sessions and maybe account for if the stuff really works, doesn't work or what effect it has on me.

I have been getting some pains lately in the neck and shoulder. They may stem from worsening of some of my many uncurable medical conditions that I do not want to get into right now. But anyways, I felt maybe now is time to call on "Alternative Medicine" for help. I found an acupuncture school off Google that was local and had a clinic. Reason being, I wanted to try acupuncture but not necessarilly pay full acupuncture prices. I tried reading about acupuncture on the net and felt it could help my conditions. I made an appointment but was really scared about the needles. I mean as much as people are gonna say it don't hurt but with a mild sting - it is hard to get over the feeling that someone is gonna stick multiple needles in your body.

I met up with my intern doctor in a little office. He is originally a pharmacist from Taiwan. Let me say he spoke English well but found it hard to explain some things so I will try to describe what I think he meant. We talked about what my problem was and my medical history. And he said he thought acupuncture can help. I believe the goal of Acupuncture therapy is to stimulate neurons and promote the body's self-healing system, at least that's the message I get from the intern. He took my blood pressure, pulse and looked at my tongue. The pulse was done on both of my hands, but you'd think all he needed was one. And I asked what can be seen from the tongue. Because to me they would look all the same. He said he noticed a dampness to my tongue and a purple color and teeth bites that indicated pain of some sort. When he mentioned "teeth marks", I thought man, there must be something to acupuncture. He was dead on to something. Because I always bite my tongue. Especially when I sleep on my side and my tongue hangs down between my teeth. I was under the impression from him that I bit my tongue because of underlying pain within me, but I thought I did it because of a slight overbite? He said that my tongue corroborated the dampness that he also felt in my pulse. He then asked if my urine was yellow or clear. I said yellow. Is it supposed to be yellow? I ask what can be seen in the urine? Of course, the answer he sayd is "dampness". I asked what is dampness? Why is it bad? He tried to use the analogy of a jungle with many damp leaves, that pile and pile and being compressed through time creates fossil fuels. The damper the leaf, the more it will lead to fuel. Bottom line, that I get is, there is hotness (unwellness) within dampness.

After the examination, I am led to a treatment room. My intern doctor tells me he is going to confer with the lead doctor and have her supervise treatment. So I am told to take off my shirt and jeans and I wait. Of course I take off my shoes and looking at the diagram of the human body's acupuncture points - it looks like my feet could be involved so I take off my socks too. Hey, maybe in Acupuncture the foot controls the pain in the neck? After waiting a while, the intern doctor and the supervising doctor come in. The Super finishes asking me a few more questions. She has been a doctor in China for about 8 years and 6 years in the U.S. Lying down wasn't good for me so I sat in a regular wooden chair. I get a towel for my lap. The therapy begins with a swab of alcohol to the neck, then the intern guy would feel around the area he's gonna inject with his finger while he was talking to me. I think he was trying to sike me out. Then all of a sudden, he flicks the back of the needle in me (I'm guessing that's how he does it). It kinda feels like someone flicks their finger hard against you, smacking you with the fingernail... a quick sting. Kinda slow process, because the same routine, swabbing, feeling around, etc. occurs before each puncture. All in all, I get 6 needles down my neck and spine, 1 on each shoulder (2), then 4 (2 on each leg) below my knee on the outer side and above the knee on my inner side. The needles didn't hurt at all. It is mostly fear that bothered me. They say I need to leave them there for 20 - 30 minutes. They turn a heat lamp on my neck and they leave me and I wait, I stare at the walls, look at the diagram on the wall with the pressure points. I notice there is a pressure point behind the bozacks. Kinda scared about that one. My arms hurt resting on the wooden arm rests and I fidget a little until I see needles on my knees vibrating from my motion. Between the exam and the therapy time, the school is closing so I feel I only waited a quick 20 minutes before the Super comes back in. She pulls out all the needles in like 3 seconds. Yikes. She has a bottle of rose oil for my backside. Strong ass smelling stuff. She doesn't just massage and work it into my shoulders like you'd guess - no, more like splat the oil on and smear it in real quick and its bye bye. I remark how it smells like roses and citrus and shes like "nope, think again". She holds the bottle to my nose and I say "Ah, licorice?". She laughs, in a wrong, "it is made of stuff you never heard of" way. She left & I got my clothes on.

I was feeling good when I left the clinic. Uplifted and full or energy for whatever reason, maybe it was the pungant rose oil smell that intoxicated me and followed me wherever I went. About an hour or two later, my back was kinda stinging like I was beat up. I was tired and napped with my kids. Later on through the evening I really felt tired, sore, slow and sluggish. I crashed to bed early at 10:00pm. But I wasn't sleepy and laid down all achey. I thought about the acupuncture therapy I endured through the day. Tossed and turned for an hour before I finally fell asleep. I concluded that the acupuncture gave my body a physical workout without the workout. I really began to feel that acupuncture really did do something to my body. Those seemingly random placed needles actually activated something in my body. I mean I was tired, sore and sweaty all through the night. But maybe I am normally sweaty. When I woke up the next day, I did not want to get up. I was wondering how I was gonna make it through the day. I can't get up, bend down, I can barely carry my kids out of their cribs. Taking aspirin is what I normally would do but I think it would be counterproductive to my acupuncture therapy. I instead got up with my kids and wondered if I would have to call Nich at work to help me out. But as I suspected I felt a little better as the morning rolled on.