A Zany Life · Writers Write

We Can’t All Be Acupuncturists Or Why I Haven’t Blogged This Week

I hurt my arm opening a window. 


Coco was sick and stayed home from school on Monday and Tuesday.  On Wednesday, with the house to myself, I was ready to write.  It was a wonderful morning.  I wanted to hear the birds sing, so I reached around my desk and pulled open the window. Instead of writing, I’ve been unable to type for most of a week.  I did this by opening a stuck window.  When it happened, I didn’t think about how tight my arm felt, but by Thursday morning, I couldn’t think of anything else.


I’ve been to Dr. Chang before.  His office isn’t far from our house.  We discovered it several years ago when Bacon had a bike wreck. The regular doctor X-rayed Bacon’s ribs and loaded him with pain meds that didn’t work. After the third day of screeching pain, sticking pins in his back didn’t sound like such a bad idea.  


This was my second experience.  The first time, I had a fight with a flower pot. What’s the deal with me and household objects?  


When Dr. Chang examined me this week, he took a red Marksalot marker and said, “Where it hurt? You show me. Here?” He pointed to a spot on my shoulder. “Or here?”


I pointed, and he marked a big X on the spot. It would have been easier to tell him where I didn’t hurt.  I hurt everywhere. 


The first treatment was heaven–relief. The second treatment was agony.  It came with a price–electronic stimulation.  Dr. Chang jolted electricity through the needles until my muscles bounced. 


“You feel that?”


“Uhhh.” I can’t talk at this point.


“That?” His voice was louder.


I grunted something that meant yes.


“No work if you don’t feel it.” He spoke like I couldn’t understand English.


I don’t want to sound patronizing.  Dr. Chang speaks English much better than I speak Chinese.  And hey, acupuncture works. I’m a repeat customer.  It beats loading up on Percocet or Vicodin.


I wish I could say I’m good as new, but that’s not exactly right.  I can say that after a visit to Dr. Chang’s, I’ve done something to make the hurt go away.  It’s better than facing the M.D.’s pathetic look before she admonishes me for wasting her time.


I met a lady in the waiting room today that was a virgin, a first time acupuncture patient.  She was apprehensive, so I gave her the drill about what to expect. I didn’t sugarcoat it.  She thanked me, and went in anyway.  When it hurts, you’re willing to try almost anything.  


Here are five things I’ve learned at the acupuncturist:


1. It’s hard to make my kids understand why Dr. Chang gets to mark all over Mama with a red magic marker. (We have a No Writing On Our Bodies rule at our house.)

2. Pray the acupuncturist doesn’t argue with his wife while  you’re on the table.  Trust me on this one.

3. It hurts less to have acupuncture needles in your ears than you think it will. 

4. Keep your eyes closed.  The visual is worse than the tactile.

5. It’s hard to scratch your nose when your hand looks like a porcupine.


In Disney’s movie, Mulan, one ancestor says to another, “We can’t all be acupuncturists.”  It’s a line frequently delivered out of context at our house.



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