I *heart* acupuncture. Even though the needles often feel like hot pokers all over my back, they really work.
As many of my friends know, this whiplash injury has generated a lot of emotion. Besides the pain & discomfort, big reactions of anger & frustration have happened throughout the last month. It's mostly been a PTSD type reaction from abuse in childhood.
This results in me checking out a lot. I've had a tremendous amount of fear about facing my life, my boss, my friends, and myself. I have sometimes very lengthy space-out moments, wallowing in day-dream land of a life I want to live. Instead of just living it, right now, in the moment.
So, I haven't felt like talking about it much, or going out & meeting with people. Mainly it's because I'm trying to build my immune system back up, but also because I don't want to get crabby with people I love.
Despite the challenges, it's been a blessing in disguise. Hell, it could be worse! I could have a brain tumor! Or spinal cord tumor! I could be way more sick, like my mom & brother. It's just a whiplash, I'll live.
Even so, the blessing is these hot pokers twice a week have healed a lot of old injuries that surfaced as a result of the whiplash. I fell on my tailbone 10 years ago while walking up a stream bed in the Northern Australian rain forest. I wasn't able to see a chiro for 3 days. And then, I only had enough cash for a couple treatments. I had to carry my big-"ass" pack everywhere for several months. Needless to say, that injury got embedded "deep inside." (words in quotes are puns for later on in the show. Keep reading...) Well, it's out now!
So I found a Korean acupuncturist through my company's health care network. Yay! Only a $20 copay for really great treatments.
The first visit, she looked me up & down, and diagnosed a whole host of problems. Low blood pressure (hypotension
), low blood flow or viscosity, pinched nerve in shoulder, mis
-aligned hips, jammed sacrum, shoulder & shoulder blade tension, neck misalignment, and the list goes on. All the stuff that I had been barely scratching the surface on for several years through yoga & massage came out in one go. Plus, my lymph nodes were throbbing with weakness, causing several sinus infections/colds.
Once I finally got over the infections, I got my first treatment on my back. Everything was fine, and I didn't feel much until, WHAM! A hot poker was shoved up my ass! Wah! It felt like I was being skewered for a Korean BBQ. She had placed a needle to the left of my tailbone, right between the butt-cheeks. Holy Mother of God, it hurt.
I had dabbled with acupuncture before, but had never felt anything like this. It throbbed so badly, I had to ask the doc to take it out after 15 min. The sensation was so uncomfortable, I could barely breathe.
Now that several treatments have passed, I'm more mentally prepared for the hot-poker-up-the-butt-moment. However, tonight was the crowning jewel of ass-poking horror.
After the 2 dozen minor hot pokers were placed all throughout my back, neck, skull, buttocks, legs & feet, The Moment was imminent. I took a deep breath and let it go. The initial insertion is never the bad part, it's always when she jabs it further in & twists, to stimulate the meridian line. Holy punctures, Batman! By the 3rd time she jammed that sucker in there, I had squeezed my butt-cheeks so tight, she couldn't push it any further in. Much to my surprise, and chagrin, she crammed another needle in the same spot, right next to the first one! Ahh! That wasn't part of the regular routine! Danger Will Robinson!
By now, I knew I had to breathe. Breathing always helps to calm down that moment of panic when you think the pain is going to carrying on to such lengths that your entire body will simply split in two like an earthquake fault line. So, I breathed. And then I took some more breaths, and it wasn't so bad. Until...
A cool watery sensation trickled from the lower part of my belly, down the side of my abdomen area, and into my urethra. The nerve centers sent the message back to the mothership: you are about to pee.
And an unexpected panic moment pushed me off kilter:
*Ahh! No! Hold it in, hold it in, Sweet Jesus! Don't let out the pee! *
Yup, the instantaneous involuntary reaction of my bladder to the waterfall in my abdomen resulted in a full-posterior muscle squeeze, further driving the hot pokers deeper into my tail-bone flesh. Lying face down on the table was the only thing preventing me from passing out. Oh, mercy.
Although I thought I'd emptied the jug close enough to the session, the ever cascading waterfall reminded me I had not. Maybe it was the way I was lying on my stomach that triggered such a relentless succession of tickling pee-vibes. Maybe it was simply too much black tea this afternoon.
Whatever it was, the tickling water torture kept up. I began repeating the mantra (in my head), "Keep breathing, and don't squeeze, keep breathing & don't squeeze NO MATTER WHAT."
But it was no use. After the 5th or 6th time of involuntarily committing self-torture by butt needle, I was at the end of my rope. No longer in a place of relaxation, I could tell the other hot-spot, the C7 vertebrae, was becoming more agitated. The doc had come in about 10 min prior to crank the heat lamp timer again. At that point, the needles hadn't become truly hot, and truly pokers, in my ass. It was still tolerable enough, and my determination to get the "full treatment" strong enough, I said nothing.
When the breaking point happened, I cried out, "Dr. Chen? Dr. Chen?" (names were changed to protect the innocent). No response. I figured since I was face down, my voice couldn't carry far enough back to her office.
"Dr. Chen? Dr. Chen??" I yelled with more force. I tried to lean slightly to my right side so my voice would echo off the floor & walls towards her office. By the third time I gave up.
"Maybe she's on the phone," I thought.
Meanwhile, I focused back on my breath, and on relaxing my abdomen as much as possible. I tried to Jedi-mind-trick myself into not generating the silky-smooth pee sensation anymore. Just when I thought I had beat this sucker, it happened again.
As tears filled my eyes from the wincing pain, I muttered, "Oh, God." My goose was cooked.
The challenge was taking a deep breath in to yell was just as painful on the butt needles as the pee thing! But, I knew my bladder will filling up, and fast. How much more bloating could I take before those needles popped right out & hit the ceiling? I wish! It was only going to go from bad to worse, I knew.
After several calming deep breathes, I drew in hard, "Dr. CHEN!" I yelled.
I yelled several more times at the expense of my neck & ass.
Then it dawned on me after the good doctor cranked up the heat lamps, I heard the door entry alert go off. Had she left the office!?!?!
I know I was her last patient of the day, but this is not good. Not good at all.
I tried to focus on my successes. I was able to repress 3 or 4 squeezes in a row. But that was followed by 3 more uncontrollable ones.
With each one, I was good at fully relaxing, to minimize pokage as much as physically possible, given my situation. Success.
*Don't squeeze, don't squeeze, don't squee- ah! Motherf&^%er!* Setback.
It went on like this for what seemed like 10 million light years, although it was probably only 10 minutes. Finally, the door alert went off.
"Dr. Chen?!!?" I wailed. She heard me right way and came running.
"Butt, tail bone...needles!", I blurted out, eyes nearly rolling back into my head. Mercilessly she clucked her tongue and said, "You still have a few minutes left", but she started taking the needles out anyway, Thank You Jesus. Yes, there is a god, and it's called Acupuncture Needle Remover.
Once the needles were out, I could finally take a deep breath, in & out. She asked me about it, and after hearing my explanation, she queried, "Didn't you drain yourself before you came?" Apparently not enough, doc.
She then became nervous about doing any "cupping"
on my low back, so I wouldn't pee. Bless her heart. But, I told her it was ok
now that the hot pokers were out of my ass.
Once the treatment was completed, and my bee-line to the restroom completed, I felt great! The tightness in the tailbone is almost not there anymore. My walk & gait feel very free, using the elliptical yesterday gave me no problems. I feel like I could run a marathon!
And even now, standing at my bookshelf while typing this (because my neck became a little irritated while typing in a chair), the meridian from that ass-needle is still flickering. And, I walk a little bow-legged. That's ok, I own several cowgirl hats.
So, take my advice & get acupuncture. And get it from someone who has studied in Asia, and practiced many years. My doctor said hardly any practitioners are skillful enough to place the ass-needle properly, and won't do it. She gets referrals for ass-work all the time.
Until next time, needle jammers...
Labels: acupuncture, Eastern medicine, healing, health, needles, spine injury