… now I get to look like one. Sort of.
I’m leaving in a few hours for an appointment with an acupuncturist, hoping that this alternative treatment will help to alleviate some of the rheuma pain I’m experiencing in my hands and wrists.
I believe that it will, although I know that it isn’t a cure. Years ago I did a story on a local acupuncturist in our small, rural town. He was the first the area had ever had, and acupuncture was exotic enough to warrant a story in the local newspaper.
On the day of the interview my hands and feet were hurting me. A medium-sized flare — I was mobile, I was working, but the pain was ever-present. I was very curious about acupuncture, of course. I wondered if it might work for rheumatoid arthritis, whether it was affordable, and whether it hurt. The idea of having someone stick needles in me was shudder-worthy, however. I’ve never had a phobia of needles like some people have, but it still didn’t sound like it could be in the least bit pleasant. And the whole thing seemed a bit woo-woo, if you know what I mean.
A local chiropractor was sharing his office with the new acupuncturist, a Chinese man who had little English. So for the first half-hour of the interview, I spoke mainly to the chiro, who was well-informed about acupuncture and who could explain, in laymens terms, what it involved and who could conjecture as to why it worked. I also spoke with the acupuncturist’s wife, a sweet, round lady who acted as his assistant and who could speak considerably more English. Once I had enough information, they invited me back to his treatment room so I could see the needles and other equipment.
As we walked back there, the acupuncturist said something to his wife. She turned to me and asked if I was in pain — they’d both noticed that I was limping. “Yes,” I said, a little embarrassed. “I have rheumatoid arthritis.” I shrugged. “My hands and feet are flared up today. It’s not bad, though.”
She translated this. Her husband smiled. “You?” he said. “You want to try?”
I looked at the photographer that had come with me. She grinned. “Great pictures,” she said. The chiropractor chimed in. “Do it!” he urged. “What a great way to learn about it! It could help, you know. And it doesn’t hurt. Really.”
Wow. The things I’ll do for a story … “All right, then. Yes.” I was a little scared; needles! Sticking in me! Needles!
Well, I’m here today to tell you that I lived through the experience. Just as the chiro said, it didn’t hurt. Not even a little. In fact, the whole thing was so relaxing that I actually dozed off on the table with those thin, threadlike needles sticking out of my hands and feet. The photographer got some great photos.
And when I left, my pain had been reduced to about 30 percent of what it had been when I walked in. In addition, I felt wonderful. Almost euphoric. It’s a good thing the photographer was driving that day.
I would have liked to become a regular client to the town’s new acupuncturist, but the cost was prohibitive and my medical insurance didn’t cover it. Still, I never forgot that experience. It was the only time anything other than narcotic painkillers ever relieved the pain of a rheuma flare. I was deeply, deeply impressed. And of course, I wrote a nice story for the paper. I hope it brought the acupuncturist and his wife a decent living.
So. I have to get ready to go to this new acupuncturist and try it again. I’ll report back with results, I promise!