East, then West
Many years ago, CDG started going to an acupuncturist, Christie at Eastern Therapeutics*, who came highly recommended by a coworker. Since she and I don't spend any time apart, I would drive her to her appointments and read magazines in the waiting room. While she was walking in between patients' rooms, Christie and I would make small-talk. Usually, I'd tell her about my dreams. At the time, most of my dreams were about being friends with celebrities. I wasn't a screaming fan asking for autographs, which makes me happy since, in reality, I don't believe in celebrities. In my dreams, I'd just hang out with them like we were friends. No big deal. I've met Madonna, Janet, Ani, the Dalai Lama, and scores of other famous people, usually at a bar over a beer. I've met Rihanna twice; one time we were dating and I broke up with her at a bar near a pond that had ducks who used boats to get around instead of swimming. She was wearing a black leather jacket. I digress.
Christie and I got to know one another while CDG laid on a bed in a room with needles sticking out of her.
If you told me then to try acupuncture, I'd fart in your general direction. (That will only be funny to a small group of Monty Python fans and I don't care; it's one of my favorite movies of all time.)
Then, I started having sciatica pain.
I'd come home from work in excruciating leg/hip/side-butt pain, plop myself down flat on the couch, and squirm around until I could find a position where the pain would at least fade a bit. CDG would hand me 2 or 3 ibuprofens and I'd count the seconds until they'd kick in and provide me with some relief.
I went to a doctor who told me it would take at least six months of physical therapy to fix the issue and return to normal. SIX MONTHS?! I took the referral sheet and told him I'd think about it.
I grew up believing in western medicine. When you are sick or you have pain, you go to the doctor and they'll give you medicine to fix whatever it is that needs fixing. There were no alternatives. So, I didn't jump at the chance to try acupuncture.
One day, while CDG was getting settled in at an acupuncture appointment, she mentioned to Christie that I was having sciatica pain and that the doctor told me it'd take at least six months of physical therapy to fix. Christie told CDG that she could probably fix it in two or three sessions. CDG, knowing my thoughts on western medicine, told Christie to mention it to me, but that I'm pretty stubborn.
I remember the conversation like it happened 5 minutes ago. She knew *exactly* how to approach/convince me...
Christie: I hear you know someone who is having major sciatica pain.
TDG: I may have a friend who is...
Christie: You should tell them that I can probably help it go away with just two or three sessions.
TDG: Hm. I'll be sure to let them know.
That was it! On our way home, I told CDG that I was going to give it a shot. Two or three appointments sounded much better than six months. It'd be silly of me to not give it a shot and, if it didn't work, then sign away six months of my life.
Two sessions later, my sciatica was gone. For real. Gone. I have not had sciatica pain since, unless I wear shoes that I shouldn't wear for long periods of time, but that's my own damn fault. Otherwise, it's gone-zo. And so are my visits to traditional doctors. These days, if I am sick or in pain, I go see Christie before I even think of calling my primary care doc. Christie has cured my sciatica, relieved my sinus pressure, given me ear seeds to reduce my anxiety, and helped me work through overwhelming amounts of grief when my grandmother and aunt died. She's a magician.
Last week, when I came home from work, I felt pain radiating through my left heel. It felt like someone stabbed me in the heel with a knife and then set it on fire. I tried putting ice and heat on it, but nothing helped. I called Eastern Therapeutics.
I don't know if whatever is wrong can be made right with acupuncture. Maybe so, maybe not. I do know that whatever magic she does is better, for me, than jumping right to x-rays, medications, and months of PT. In order, my needle preference is: tattoo, acupuncture, syringe. East, East, West.