Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A is for Acupuncture

Short Version:
A is for Acupuncture. Try it. The needles aren't that bad. It worked for me.


Thanks for stopping by. This post is linked to Alphabe-Thursdays letter "A". To visit other "A" links, just click here!

Long Version:

My first experience with acupuncture was about five years ago. I did not go gently toward the idea as a medical solution. I forced myself (kicking, screaming and panicking) to embrace ancient Chinese healing practices…something that up until that time I had equated with chai tea toting yuppies wearing organically grown cotton clothing.

OK. Don’t get all offended. I’m just telling you how I felt at the time. And I like chai tea. And organic cotton. So there.

I had gone through an ovectomy that February on an emergency basis and ended up a total physical mess. That surgery set off a debilitating spiral of extreme physical problems that specialist after specialist had been unable to fix.

I was desperate. We spent a ton of money and time going from one recommended medical center to another. And specialist after specialist had added even more suffering to the mess I was already trying to deal with. I had been having a severe headache daily for over four months, was covered in hives, was experiencing hot flashes and panic attacks from he**, combined with chills that cracked my molars and made me beg Mr. Jenny to smother me.

The day my fate collided with all those needles was actually Mr. Jenny’s Birthday. “Yea, Happy Birthday to you…now who cares what day it is, can you smother me now please?” was probably not what he wanted to hear, but he is a really great guy.

Which is why, instead of freaking out when I had a total melt-down in his office telling him that if someone didn’t help me soon I was going to crawl out into the desert to die, he and my Mom found an acupuncture place close by the house. I called them. I had a little difficulty with the language but I didn’t take any offense that the guy kept calling me “Yenny”. Hey, Yenny, Penny, Zenny, Jenny…. I could care less what you call me, if you might be able to help me. I don’t know if it was my hysteria, begging or weeping but they agreed to see me in an hour.

Then it hit me. Wait. What was I thinking? Acupuncture? Me? Needles? One hour? Holy cow… but shortly after that thought, more hot flashes, panic attacks and scratching frenzies made me rethink the whole process ! Acupuncture ! Of course ! Who cares if there are needles as long as I get one iota of relief ! An hour? Heck with that, I’m leaving now! Mr. Jenny, (God Bless this long suffering man) moved his schedule around and escorted me there…. warned me vehemently in advance that he refused to watch the treatment, and graciously accepted my pathetic and weepy Happy Birthday wishes.

We drove a short distance to a strip mall. I hadn’t written down a suite number so we just went into the little office closest to the car. Uh oh. It was fairly dark in there with sort of weird music playing and what appeared to be small, dark windows on three sides of the space. It wasn’t too clean. There were kind of scummy looking signs scotch-taped to the walls about how much it costs to get a massage. Hmmm…. I tell Steve I am leaving. He says “maybe we have the wrong place” and I think, “gee, no wonder I love him, he is definitely a genius”. I stand by the car, and he goes to the next office and then motions me over. Definitely better. This is a very, clean white space with a glass display area neatly merchandised with unknown potions, pills and bottles. A tiny oriental woman sits behind a long counter. She looks up. She is fifty or sixty years old with beautiful and kind eyes. I immediately start crying.

She walks around the counter and says to Mr. Jenny, “You are too fat,” and then she tells me, “You are too fat, too, but you have bigger problems and we will deal with fat later.” For some reason neither one of us is offended by this statement of the obvious. Mr. Jenny tells her we had gone to the next office by mistake and she replied, “Oh, massage place…very, very bad.”

I tell her I am Jenny….. “Oh,” she says, “Yenny…” and hands me a clipboard and a pen and instructs me to complete the forms. They are sort of standard but perhaps a little more vague then traditional medical forms. I write. I cry. I have several hot flashes. I write and cry some more. I attempt to pound my head on the wall to relieve the headache but Mr. Jenny pats my leg. I tell him I am sooo sorry for being such a burden and cry some more. I tell him “Happy Birthday” in a sniffly whine.

The nice lady comes over and goes over my information. She is the doctor…. Or puncturer or whatever they call it. The language is a little difficult but after some time I think we have most of the facts basically straight, more or less. She says “OK, we begin” and with great trepidation I follow her into a square, spare, austere white room with white shelves close to the ceiling. Mr. Jenny comes too. There are two white gurney-type beds in the room covered with tightly tucked in white sheets. She motions to me to lie down. Gulp. I do.

She comes and shows me some very thin, very long needles in sterile wrap. She tells me about the sensations I may feel: small pinching when the needles go in, a feeling of pressure in the muscle, heaviness in the limb and the tingle of electricity. Why am I doing this again? Another hard hot flash reminds me. OK, I take a deep breath.

The nice puncturer lady starts on my right side and sort of “taps” each needle in. It doesn’t hurt. Some of them give me a sensation of a small electric shock. I have my eyes tightly closed but I feel her walk by my right side. Then she inserts needles into my right hand, I feel a strange shock run into my fingers and they immediately start twitching. It doesn’t hurt, it just feels very odd. 7 or 8 needles are inserted between my right thigh and the heel of my right foot. Then she starts down my left side. It is very quiet in the white room. She doesn’t talk at all…. but makes a tiny humming noise. I find myself babbling…. She whispers “hush” to me. Mr. Jenny is awfully quiet. My head is throbbing and I feel another hot flash starting. My left side is more sensitive…. No pain, just odd sensations and when she gets to my left foot I feel something like a bolt of lightening fire out of the bottom of my foot. It hurts and I cry out very loudly. She explains something about “energy release” and does something to the same needle and another jolt shocks me…. I cry out again.


I am a bit stunned. After I catch my breath for a moment, I realize my headache is gone. I wait a few seconds to see if this is my imagination. No, it is not. My long time nasty companion has left the building, my headache is no more. I am astonished. I tell the puncturer lady, I tell Mr. Jenny…. I am definitely babbling. She tells me to “hush” again and to not move. I don’t listen and try to scratch my eye and a very weird, unpleasant sensation goes up my hand into my bicep. I decide to just let my eye itch.


Then she pulls my shirt up to examine the hives and leaves the room, humming softly under her breath. She returns in a few moments and starts rubbing some kind of ointment on the hives on my stomach. The ointment burns briefly but then it stops burning and stops itching. Mr. Jenny is sitting beside me and he says something like “wow, the red is fading”. I couldn’t actually see so I tried moving again and again got that unpleasant sensation.

The nice puncturer lady turned out the lights then. She told me to close my eyes and not move. I wiggle a little bit (because I’m that kind of a rebel) and look around the room. I try to tip my head to see what’s on the shelves, but they are too high. I look at the white painted ceiling and the white drapes she has pulled partially closed around my white sheeted bed. There is no noise in the room. I realize I am cold. I realize I have stopped having hot flashes. My headache is still gone. After some time goes by, even my feeling of anxiety starts fading away. It is gradual, but I suddenly realize I am not feeling panic and not feeling any pain.

I lay in the white room for what feels to be a short time, but Mr. Jenny tells me later it has been a little over an hour. The nice puncturer lady returns and starts removing the needles. Two of them feel very sensitive and the one in my left foot makes me cry out again, but much more softly. I lay on the white bed feeling very drained. My muscles feel very heavy, but my limbs feel very light. It is just a very odd sensation. The lady massages one specific spot on my skull and then takes my hand and places it there. She tells me to massage that spot during the day. I feel very different.

After I sit up and get my bearings, we return to the little waiting room. On the counter are several little bags of something and a little bottle full of something and a tube of ointment. She explains what I am to do with each one. She talks about releasing all the poisons from my body. We make an appointment for the next afternoon. I am still feeling a little like I am not really present, but I am definitely feeling much, much better…. No pain, the itching where she has rubbed the ointment is gone but the itching on my back where she did not rub the ointment is driving me crazy.

I shake her hand and thank her. We go out to the car and Mr. Jenny just keeps saying how different I seem. He says he can tell a lot of the pain is gone. He says he has been feeling horrible for me going through such torture. He says “boy, those needles sure seemed long coming out” but I decide that is enough detail and I really don’t want to know anything else about needle specifics.

On the drive home I keep tapping my head to see if I am just imagining that there is no headache. I pay close attention to the fact that I am not having any hot flashes. My anxiety is greatly reduced and I have stopped crying. We get home and I apply the rest of the ointment to the hives that the doctor missed. I line up my little teabags and potions on the counter and try to figure out what they are.

It has been months since I have felt so little misery. I feel almost reborn even though I shallowly continue to wonder how far those needles are actually inserted.

I’m afraid if I don’t find a way to make up for my previous misconception about acupuncture being only for chai tea toting yuppies wearing organically grown cotton clothing, that the magic will somehow stop working.

I’m willing to celebrate this healing in a ritual of burying the needles in the center of some vortex while celebrating the karma of healing? Or something.

But for that moment, I was just exhausted. Rituals could wait. I definitely needed a nap.

This very long post is also linked with Alphabe-Thursday's Letter "A". Click here to read other "A" links.

post signature

57 comments:

ourlifeinaclick.blogspot.com said...

You've almost convinced me to try it !! :)

Pondside said...

I'm a believer. I had acupuncture as part of my physiotherapy for a terrible back problem - instant relief!

One Mama said...

I'm tempted except that I think that many needles would cause a panic attack instead of stopping one! Do you ever have to go back for more jabs or is this a one-time-fixes-all kind of thing?

Jackie said...

Hi Jenny, I think if I ever get in a predicament like yours I will definitely try acupuncture now that I've read your post . That was Awesome! I'm so glad it worked for you . Are you free from the hot flushes for good now? I have yet to experience those but it's something to look forward too . Oy.

Cheryl said...

For you, that was a book. I'm so glad you wrote this. I've had one very strange nonpainful unproductive experience with an acupuncturist. I'm not afraid of them just leery after that odd visit.

All of this detail showed me the difference between what I got and what you got. I'll be asking for a recommendation from my chai tea toting hippie (not yuppie) friends wearing organically grown cotton clothing 'cuz I could use some relief.

Viki said...

I've always been very interested in acupuncture but I've never needed it. I think if I really did I would try it. I thinks it's been used for 1000's of year so I'm thinking there must be something to it lol.

Terra said...

WOW, first off you are very brave. Second off this was an amazing recount of that day. I felt like I was on the table with you...I am in awe.

La said...

Jenny, I'm so glad this treatment helped you. This was a fascinating post as I've never known anyone who's had accupunture. Thank you for your candor.

Here's to good health! La

Nora Johnson said...

I believe I suffer from needlephobia and can but admire other braver souls like yourself, Jenny, from benefiting from the procedure!

XOXO LOLA:)

NatureGirl said...

I grew up with parents who regularly visited an acupuncturist, but I too have had my own trepidations about seeing one myself. I have really been drawn (or pushed) toward making the leap this last little while. Thank you for so vividly telling of your experience! Happy AlphabeThursday!

Busy Bee Suz said...

I hope this comment makes it to you...I have heard this works well for some people. Do you still go? Are you still feeling the good effects? I hate that you were in so much misery.
My grandma did this at 75 to quit smoking and it worked for her.
xoxo
Suz

lissa said...

just looking at the photos make me cringe a little but I am glad acupuncture works for you, some day I might try it even I ever get over my fear of looking at those needles

CollectIn Texas Gal said...

Wow! You sure give new meaning to the Letter A with this Acupuncture Post! Amazing recounting of your experience...thanks for sharing...I would definately consider it if ever needed.

Bonnie@Creative Decorating said...

I just got done with my post and linked to your party before I could take the time to read your post. I am amazed and so happy for you that this is working! I do believe in natural healing and have heard that acupuncture is amazing when handled by those from the Orient. A friend told of a time she was in China and had to get some relief. She said she has never found one here that had the knowledge and abilities of that person in China. Just amazing!

I feel so much empathy for you having to go through such torture with all those symptoms. I can't imagine being in pain like that for so long.

Amazing...

~ Lori ~ said...

I've always wanted to try Accupuncture!!! Have a great day! :)

Sue said...

I tried acupuncture once, but you make me want to try it again. It didn't hurt, which surprised me.

You and I have shared the same awful experience with having ovaries removed. I had a terrible, awful, mind-boggling surgical menopause when I was only 39 years old. Honestly, I don't know how either I or my husband survived it.

We need to talk sometime...

=)

Jen said...

What a great description of something so foreign to me. I have a really great friend who goes to an accupuncturist and she has had similar results to yours. She almost has my husband convinced he should go for his headaches, allergies and neck pain. We shall see!
I just love alphabe-Thursday!

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

Thank you Jenny, for sharing this!!! I would not have had the guts to try it, before. Now, I hope that I will, if/when I need it.

Yes, I have more than one thing, which causes pain. But ya' know how it is.... We tend to put stuff off........ -sigh-

Again, thank you.

Happy Full Harvest Moon, Mabon and the Autumn Equinox!

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Jenny, I had acupuncture done a couple of years ago for bursitis in my hip instead of a cortisone shot. The visits cost more and lasted longer, but was oh so worth it. My doctor was male and they had soft music playing and after he got thru inserting the needles, which are barely stuck in, he would pull the drapes and turn off the light and I would lay there for 25 minutes and then his assistant came and took them out. I had to go every week for a couple of months. I have never had bursitis in that hip since. Knock on wood. I wish my insurance covered acupuncture. I would go all the time. They can also do it for weight loss. I was going to try that, but we had already spent over a thousand just for my hip.

fredamans said...

AWESOME!

My Step-Dad gets acupuncture too and swears by it now. I'm too afraid of needles at the moment to consider it, though it was recommended for my migraines.

Cheryl D. said...

That's awesome! My husband sees an acupuncturist, and I have a friend that is one (she's not Chinese, however).

The results you received were amazing!

Many more insurance companies are beginning to cover this "alternative" medicine. It's funny, because it has been around a lot longer then our medical practices have been!

signed...bkm said...

Great A!! Jenny...I have never had it...but I am going to remember it should I need it some day...thanks for sharing Yenny....bkm

Lourie said...

Do you think it would work on my knees. I am telling you they are bad.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I have never tried it. You me convinced that it works. Glad is made such a difference.

Allie said...

I love this story and I am so happy the little lady doctor made you feel better. I think I will see the little lady doctor when I come out again. kk?

BECKY said...

Eeeeewwwww...close eyes, close eyes...do not like photos...do not like photos!! :D

5thsister said...

Ah, Jenny. I will take your long version any day! So entertaining. I hope never to have to seek an acupuncturist but your story gives hope for those who are suffering and have exhausted all other avenues.

Marlene said...

Do you think it would suck the fat out of my chunky knees if I went???

Tracy said...

It worked wonders for my elbow wondering if it will work for my daughters extreme fatigue following glandular fever

magsmcc said...

Alright Yenny Matlock. I have beem bemused at the concept, visited and commented on no more and no less than ten alphabe-Thursday posting bloggistes' posts, although actually it's eleven now counting this completely gruelling, exhausting and gripping in the extreme tale of torture and torturous relief, and I'm going straight home from this place of evening work to do a bit of alphabe-bloggisme myself. And only then will I read the rules agin to try not to fail the first assignment!

Amanda said...

I'm so grateful you've found some relief! I've never tried acupuncture myself, but did once have an acquaintance who used it to give up a thirty year addiction to smoking.

KK said...

I believe you, but I'm still too big of a chicken!

Sailing Simply said...

Glad this is working for you! You are so brave to try this. I just could not do it. I'd like to think I could, but really no way. I have another friend who just recently told me she goes in for regular treatments. She used to be a police officer and had spine curvature problems due to the way she sat in the squad car with the holster and equipment. She loves it and swears by it! Thanks for sharing your story!

H said...

I'm seriously not very good with needles; something which has always bothered me as I'm pretty OK about most other things. I'm not sure that I cope with acupuncture. I'm pleased it worked for you though :)

The Words Crafter said...

Hmmmmm,I think I'm going to do some research and see if there's a reputable puncturer around here!

Thanks for posting this and I'm so sorry you had to go through all that. Wow.

Thank God for great husbands, huh?

Unprocessed1 said...

Hahahaha! You too fat! Hahahaha! I love it!
You not too fat. Mr. Jenny not too fat. Should we go back together? I think that lady could cure all of our ills.

But, I too fat.

Jeanie said...

I don't like Chai tea, but I love acupuncture, if you have a good practitioner. Mine is an all-American woman (a bit granola) trained in China.

Dee said...

Yenny,I am wondering if maybe I should talk my poor hubby into having acupuncture for his back. I worry about the pain pills he is on.

edenhills said...

I am so happy you found something to help! I happen to enjoy energy work-giving and receiving.

Teresa

edenhills said...

I am so happy you found something to help! I happen to enjoy energy work-giving and receiving.

Teresa

Pblacksaw said...

"THEY" say it cures everything..I think I would give it a try.. maybe.. I love chai tea..
Patsy

Vivianne's Vista said...

I'm amazed. I never really thought such things worked. Maybe it was just my extreme fear of needles expressing denial. I would seriously consider doing it if it would help me lose weight without exercising!

Splendid Little Stars said...

Jenny,
I was completely enthralled by your story. I have not tried acupuncture myself, but my daughter has. It did wonders! After her first first visit, she was almost completely pain-free. would love to hear your further adventures with this modality. Thanks for sharing!

Red Couch Recipes said...

I haven't tried it and don't know if I would, but your post was very funny Yenny or was it Zenny? Joni

Judie said...

Jen,I am fascinated by this!! Do you think if I did acupuncture I would lose 10 pounds? That is my goal, but I am not doing very well at it right now.
I am so happy that your headache is gone! Please keep me posted on what happens at your next visit. I am serious!

Pauline said...

My first visit to your blog and I'm so glad I came. It took me back 15 years to when I was desperate for help with hot flushes and resisting taking pills. I couldn't describe the process, what I clearly remember is how, when one session was finished (around 4 pm) I felt so tired, I simply refused to get up and go home. The lovely man practically carried me to a couch in a back room where I promptly went to sleep and wasn't too happy about waking when he shook me at 6 pm saying he had to lock up now and go home. I think that was the 'breakthrough' session and I coped with the flushes after that.
Thanks for the memories!

J. Kwiatkowski said...

We need the long version because this post is so full of information! I'm glad you recounted your experience, and that you have found some relief from your woes.

Wombat Central said...

I've been trying to decide if I want to go to an acupuncturist for my GERD and a couple other things. How did you find a good one? Did you have to go back a lot? I have friends who go and swear by it... yet I'm still hesistant.

So nice to hear it helped you!

Anna said...

Friday September 24th, 2010
Dear Jenny,
What a beautiful post! Both the short and the long version. I am very happy that accupucture could help you. You must have found a very good practioner who knew what she was doing.
I have never tried it. But you never know. That day may come when I will need it.
'A is for Acupuncture' is an amazing text! Unexpected, but you surprise us often!
What a wonderful husband you have. Mr. Jenny seems like a really good person. Give him an extra hug from me. I'm glad that he takes good care of you when you really need help. That is the way it should be, but unfortunately, not the way it works for everyone.
Best wishes,
Anna

For the benefit of other readers:
Anna's A-word(Mrs.Jenny-Rd2)

Brenda said...

Well if ever I have need now I will not be as afraid as I know I would have been before reading your very insightful post. Your letter A is awesome!

Melinda Cornish said...

I feel your pain but it still made me laugh.

Mary said...

You made a believer out of me~ I'm glad it worked for you. Mr. Yenny must have been so relieved :-)

PS~ The cherry measuring cups came from Pier 1 this summer.

Judy Sheldon-Walker said...

What a wonderfully descriptive account. I am so glad it helped. It sounds like it was nothing short of a miracle.

Jo said...

Oh Jenny ... it does not look like a whole lot of fun but i am glad to hear that it worked ...

My name is PJ. said...

This was fun to read. I've had acupuncture a bunch of times and it was always an adventurous sort of fun. It would have been better still if someone had called me Yenny.

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

Good that you got the relief from all that pain! And so, it was a Happy Birthday day, after all if "mama aint happy, then nobody's happy" ...or however that song goes. I really enjoyed your long version :o) Jenny...actually, no matter what...I will love to read what you say...cuz no matter what the topic, your sense of humor always comes through!

And you said at first Mr. Jenny "warned... vehemently in advance that he refused to watch the treatment". What a sweet,softie :o) He ended up staying through your treatment with you from start to end! Good thing you both left the questionable, massage place! haha

Amy said...

Wow, I am so sorry you had to go through all that. Sometime Western medicine just isn't enough. And what a relief for you that it all went away! I am terrified of needles, but may give it a try some time... if I have to. :)