Monday, February 14, 2005

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.

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