Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Needles, Hammers, and Androgynes

This is a long post, so settle down at your comfiest computer to read it. I’m finding out that cancer takes you down new and strange pathways. One of the newest experiences I’ve had recently is acupuncture.

Now before you all burst out laughing, thinking that I’ve become all new age and any day now I’ll have my hair – all three strands of it – in a pony-tail, please note that I’m doing this under a bit of duress. Kath wants me to try anything that will get rid of the beast – shark cartilage, essence of bull testicle, anything. One thing that she has become convinced about recently is the benefits of acupuncture. A friend of ours had a very severe case of colon cancer and was undergoing both western medicine and acupuncture. He was cured, one way or another, and his wife was convinced that the acupuncture had a lot to do with it. She convinced Kath in turn, and Kath persuaded me to go to the same guy.

So, ever willing to do my bride’s bidding, off I went into Chinatown in Boston. The man was very accommodating, but also very self-promoting, saying he could cure cancer and all other ills. I’m not an absolute skeptic regarding acupuncture, I have read enough articles to be cautiously optimistic that it is at least beneficial in various ways, but this “I can cure you” attitude annoyed me from the start. Still, open minded as I am, off I went into the treatment room. He placed several needles in my legs, back and head, and left me to relax for 30 minutes. Then he came back, removed the needles, and proceeded to try to kill me with his bare hands. This was disguised as a massage, but he was actually trying to force his hands into my body. I believe he wanted to reach in and rip the tumor manually from my body. I was yelling out in pain, but he just muttered about the good he was doing me. I was just about to grasp him warmly by the tender parts when he stopped. Phew. I thanked him copiously for his attention and left. I didn’t feel any different. Yes I did, I felt relieved it was over.

OK, I confess, I’m a plonker. Just call me Rodney. I went back for another go a week later. Call me any names you like, I’ve called myself the same already. This is now the really interesting bit of the story. I turned up very early for the appointment and so had to wait some time for my punishment. There were several staff members there and two other customers waiting with me, an older lady and gentleman. After a while, another western lady came in and sat in a customer chair. She seemed to know the staff members quite well and I assumed she was a long term customer.
Anyway, suddenly, the older lady customer asked the owner if he could do anything about her husband’s knees, which were very painful and swollen. Without a word, he took a small silver hammer down from a hook, and picked up a small 8 inch model of a naked man covered in acupuncture dots but with no discernable genitals. (This is the USA remember – we don’t allow genitals. All the war and disemboweling you can handle, but none of that other dirty stuff!)

I digress. He hands the hammer and the model androgyne to the new customer who proceeds to start tapping the model with the hammer. She taps it up and down the spine, then on each knee in turn. I was just dumbfounded. I looked around at everyone else and they were all completely relaxed and chatting away about various things – the owner kept saying every three minutes or so that he had a customer with esophageal, lung, liver, and kidney tumors and he had cured him. The tapping continued for 15 minutes before I burst. “What are you doing?” I cried. I believe I really did cry out I was so pent up. She looked at me as if I was a child. “I’m helping the man’s knees”.
“I’m sending him healing energy”.
“How do you know he’s getting it? You might miss and the energy gets me instead or goes whizzing out of the window and heals the knees of some poor unsuspecting passer-by”.
“Because I’m thinking about him”.
She then asked the guy how his knees felt. “They feel funny” he said, “all tingly”. Hmm.

At this point, I was led into the treatment room. Once more with the “I can cure anything” stories, then the needles. I’ll cut a long story short. This time, as he was unable to penetrate my skin on the previous try, he sent an evil henchman to do the massage. An Egyptian guy, who was twice as strong and just as determined to inflict pain. When he squeezed my neck, I felt he was actually trying to pop my head off my shoulders.

I’m not going back. However, I did hear about another acupuncturist more locally and went to see her last evening. She's charming, she's calming, she makes no claims apart from being able to help the body’s healing processes, and she’s incredibly attractive. Now we’re talking. This is the acupuncture for me. I’m not sure Kath’s so happy with the new turn of events though.


At 4:57 PM, Anonymous Chris H said...

I say go with the attractive one!! hell if you have to undergo all that then at least you deserve to enjoy the view!!! and possibly the touch!
Chris H

At 6:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think you should stick with the first guy or at least speak to a couple of people he has treated. I thought the cranial osteopath was weird until she worked on me 3 times and completely got rid of my continuous headaches/migraine
how many times did he want to see you?


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