‘Zat Some Kinda Eastern Thing?

-or-

Ooh Eee Ooh Ah Ah Ting Tang Walla Walla Bing Bang

When my mom was preggers with me, her third daughter, I apparently gave her all sorts of issues (exited the womb and haven’t stopped since). Gall stones, questionable joint comfort and a bad back. One of the many memories I have of my youth, was a series of ballpoint pens lying about the house which were straight except for the top third which was bent in a white plastic zig-zag with a blue tip. The inscription said, “Get me to my chiropractor, QUICK!”, with mom’s doctor’s name and phone number underneath. Her appointments at the chiropractor were regular occurrences, like school or me getting in trouble for talking too much. Many times I’d find her laid out, flat on her back in bed, trying to talk to me without turning her head. I also knew from a young age that her pregnancy with me was what put her there (a piece of information I’m sure someone would like to pick apart for a buck or two).

I grew up with them. “Witch doctors”, as they were affectionately called. I didn’t have my very own until college when, without thinking, I bent down to pick up a dropped pen and while leaning forward, also twisted left. I heard a funny pop, stood up, took stock, realized I could still move and continued on with my day. That night I sat down to type an art history paper (Symbolism in ‘The Metamorphosis of Narcissus’ by Dali) in the lab and of course, the only chair left open was busted and upon seating, tilted backward leaving the sitter to compensate by balancing at roughly a 70-degree angle. For three hours. Without getting up. Needless to say between the earlier pop and that chair, “stand up” was a relative term. I somehow biked home, got up the stairs and into my apartment and then it stopped. It all stopped. I crawled up the longer set of stairs and into bed. I had a test the next morning and that paper was due (of course I waited until the last minute, have we met?).

Morning. Alarm went off, I turned towards the clock to hit ‘sleep’ and realized I couldn’t turn as far as I should have been able to. At all. Any attempt to move was met with an amazing shiver of impossibility which radiated from my pelvis up to my shoulders and down to my toes. It wasn’t happening. I slowly reached for the phone near by bed and called my mother. She’d know what to do. Her answer? “Chiropractor”. I stayed put until my roommate came home and could drive me to the doctor she’d already been seeing. Fortunately, my being a procrastinator meant that it was finals week when this happened and it was just so that this particular doctor was giving out free first time adjustments during such a stressful week. Megan shuffled me into her car and off we went.

X-rays revealed a quarter inch misalignment of my pelvis – just the right side mind you, because apparently that’s possible – and an adjustment was recommended. Snap, crackle, pop and a doctor’s note later, the bounce was back in my step. I finally understood it, these witch doctors. They were legit.

Forward 10 years to find that sometimes my pelvis still feels like it’s going wonky so when in town, in I go to one Dr. Claire Ollayos of Elgin, IL. She’s amazing and sweet and gentle, even when the noises she’s pulling out of my joints sound positively medieval. In those proceeding years, a few other odd maladies have cropped up as well, as they do when you begin to age past your 20s. Enter: acupuncture.

Between stress and a compromised immune system, I found myself with chronic sinus infections. My father and sister were already going to see an acupuncturist so I hopped on board. Long story short, success. I stopped getting them completely (and stopped working at the hideously stressful job, arguably, an additional cure). These days, my immune system is still compromised thus I have near-constant allergies as well as a few other overreactions by my body to fight off what it thinks are bacterias or infections that may not actually be present. Acupuncture was once again suggested to me and tonight, I had my first needle session in almost nine years. It was… pokey.

I forgot that there is a little bit of pain involved but also, surprisingly, it taps into parts of your nerves that aren’t pained really, more like… kind of a funny bone feeling. An odd cramp or ache once the needle is inserted. I can’t explain it, the science behind it (and yes, I do believe it is a type of science), but as she was poking me she was telling me what each needle site was affecting and believe me, they are almost 100% incongruous to the ailment in question. Kind of amazing.

So this is going to be a journal of acupuncture revisited. I won’t detail my ailments just yet, suffice to say she believes they are in fact related and have to do with an overactive system that tries to fight the littlest thing off and thus goes haywire – creating more problems than solving. It’s not cheap, but this new job will provide a consistent paycheck and if her methods can solve even one of the three things I’m going for, that will be worth it. Stay tuned, skeptics and believers alike. We’re in this together.

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