Good news, I didn’t faint at my first acupuncture appointment after all. I was flipped over on my stomach with my face squished in a face hole pillow when I began to feel the heat that comes before a pass-out. My Naturopathic Doctor started talking in a very muffled voice which was strange. I heard random words like estrogen, that happens, and old before I caught on to the fact that I was leaving the room.
I knew the only way to stay present was to blurt out, “I really have a hard time with needles.”
“Oh? Really. Wow, you are really doing a great job then. I had no idea you were even phased,” she said. “Here, this makes my patients feel better.” And she placed a metal bell in the palm of my right hand. “You can ring it at any time,” she said.
My body relaxed and the blood came back to my brain. It’s amazing what a little bell can do. Once my brain came back, I began obsessing on how I looked like a porcupine laying face down on the highway after a misfortunate event. I thought about standing up and trying to find a mirror to see my back, but I knew it would end in disaster as just that morning I had tripped on my flip-flip flop just because it was what I was wearing.
I only felt a handful of the needles go in, they felt like little pricks. During the period of time I was trying to squeeze my face through the hole pillow, the sensations of focus kept changing from the area of one needle placement to another. I would feel pressure near this one, then a little zing on my back, and so forth. I wonder if that’s how porcupines feel?
The ocean waves on the speaker were going to reach my chair at any moment, and I was working on a plan as to how I would float while keeping the needles in place. I decided it would be wiser to think about not thinking about the needles.
Just about the time I was going to get swept away in the waves, my doctor came back in and removed the needles. It was over, and my muscles tried to convince me that we should just rest there all day because they forgot how to walk.
I felt amazing. The doctor reminded me that my shoulder pain would probably still be a problem because one of my ribs was out of place. She handed me a slip with the name of a trusted chiropractor.
I am not proud to say that I put off going to appointments for my shoulder for about 8 months. I tried yoga, I switched sides of the bed, I tried massage. Self-care seems to be an area I need more work on. I know it is because if one of my kids had been complaining about their shoulder for that long, I would have brought them in.
I also have self-care amnesia. Years ago I had this exact pain because a rib was slightly out of place and then all of the muscles around it fired to protect the area. I only remembered that after walking into the chiropractor’s office.
Oh Yahhhhh, that’s right. This has happened before.
(Photo by Tim Chow)