If I think I can improve upon my life even just a bit, I am open and willing to try anything. That is what led me to acupuncture.
Hearing it could help with things as simple as headaches and as complicated as depression and weight loss, I knew I had to give it a shot. After doing my research, I found a lady in town who has practiced for over twenty years and called to set up the appointment.
“Look, I am fat, I have a really bad knee and plantar fasciitis. Can you fix me up?”
“Ahhhh oh no. Only treat two tings at one time”.
“Ok, well how much will it cost?”
“Seventy dollar a treatment.”
“Holy shit that’s expensive!”
“You health important.”
“Yeah, yeah I will be there.”
Her office is a house on a busy street. I kept my head down as I walked the long sidewalk up to the front door. I could just feel the eyes from the passengers in the passing cars staring judgingly at me and thinking to themselves, “What an idiot! Everyone knows acupuncture doesn’t work and holy shit is it expensive!” I nervously pushed open the front door and went inside.
It was a normal house on the inside with cheap laminate flooring and the same beige colored walls most houses seem to have these days. The only difference being the living room is now a waiting room with the typical ugly navy blue chairs and tables with stacks of outdated magazines to peruse while you wait. I barely got in the chair when an older Asian woman came around the corner pushing a clipboard full of paperwork for me to fill out and just nodded at me like, “Do it now!” She backed out of the room as fast as she came in. One of the pages was the ultimate list of what could be wrong with you. I checked off every single box I could think I have had no matter how long ago. Male pattern baldness? Check. Pretty sure my Mom told me I had that when I was two.
She came back in to get me and discuss some of the items I checked on my list. I kept waiting for her to ask me about my baldness but it never came up. Instead she asked to see my tongue. I stuck out my tongue and she just shook her head. Of all things for me to be insecure about, I am now afraid for anyone to see my tongue because obviously it looks like something a sick and dying animal would have hanging out of their mouth. I got home that night and stared at my tongue for hours. It looked pretty normal to me, but what do I know? I am certainly not an Asian tongue expert.
She escorted me to one of the rooms and told me to remove my shoes and socks and she would be back. I have hated needles since I was a kid. I was really dreading this and very nervous about having a ton of needles sticking out all over my body. She re-entered the room and announced she would be treating me for weight loss and my bad knee. She took a cotton swab with alcohol and rubbed down various parts of my body. Before I could scream “Kelly Clarkson”, I had a needle sticking out of my forehead.
I had assumed the thrusts of the needles going in would be the worst part of all of this but I was mistaken. The worst part was when she grabbed each needle and wiggled it around inside of me and said, “You feel dis?”
“HOLY MOTHER OF GOD! YES, I FEEL DIS!”
After every single needle had been maneuvered to fish for various organs, she said, “Relax, I be back”.
I took a deep breath and tried. I actually dozed off for a few minutes. When I woke up my first thought was, I have to document this. So I shoved my hand down into the pocket of my shorts to grab my cell phone and, it was then I remembered, I had needles stuck in my hand. I released the phone and slowly brought my hand back out. A few of the needles had blood running out of them. I frantically searched the room for a tissue and found none. I carefully started wiping the blood with the underside of the t-shirt I was wearing. I just had a feeling if the woman walked in and I had to explain what had happened, she might shove a million more needles in my head after diagnosing me with mental illness.
Just as I got cleaned up, she walked in with tiny stickers and started attaching them to my left ear. I asked what it was for and she explained it would help keep my appetite in control. When I got hungry, all I had to do was squeeze one of these little Band-Aids and, like magic, I wouldn’t want to eat. Well, that actually sounded pretty cool and I couldn’t wait to try it out.
She quickly removed all the needles and told me it was over. Once I had gathered all my things, I headed to her office to settle up. I could not believe the first step I took on my bad knee. I was walking like a normal person again. It was a miracle. Because of how I felt, I made another appointment for the following week.
Once in my car, I took a peek at the baby Band-Aids placed on the inside and outside of my ear. What in the world would people think? I know if I saw someone with this mess going on I would assume the person was having hormone issues and had to shave their hairy ears and the razor slipped a few times. I glanced at it again in the mirror. Oh hell. That is EXACTLY what it looks like.
Sigh. Between my hairy ear scars and my diseased tongue, my self-confidence was at an all-time low. Next week, I would have to ask her if she has a needle to fix that.