One morning I was half asleep and slurping coffee when I thought, Hey! You know what would be good right now? Needles! Lots of tiny needles shoved into various body parts!
I’ve suffered from chronic low back pain ever since 1997 when I hit a moose going 55 mph. The car, not the moose. Actually, the moose too. Those buggers can run like hell on their spindly legs when they have a good mind to.
Anyway, all moose-killing* stories aside, I figure a little acupuncture couldn’t hurt. Much.
My acupuncturist is a lovely doctor from California who recently opened her practice here. She said it’s hard to find new open-minded patients like me. I informed her this is because most Mainers believe nothing cures ills better than a cold wash cloth and a full bottle of Allen’s coffee brandy. Then she told me to put down my coffee brandy bottle and get on the table.
You think I was nervous getting my first treatment? Try doing it semi-sober. The room was tranquil enough: gentle New Age music, soft massage table, comfy face hole pillow to drool into so I can wake up an hour later and pay the receptionist with pillow creases plastered across my face like a moron.
“Okay, let’s get started, just relax,” the doc suggested. So I relaxed as much as anyone would before a good needle-jabbing. She gently inserted the first needle into my neck. Interesting, I thought. This feels… just like having a needle shoved in your neck! Yes, it was a tiny pinch, nothing major. Still, a needle! In my fracking neck! Am I drooling because stainless steel accidentally pierced my occipital lobe? Is this how I die? A paralyzed pin cushion listening to Enya while trapped on a massage table?
Then she slid about 20 more needles into my neck, spine, legs, and for good measure, about a half-dozen more in my sacral region (aka upper ass-crackage). Like they always say, the more needles in your ass, the better.
“How do you feel?” she asked. Um, like there’s 30 goddamn needles sticking out of my body! I wanted to yell. How long am I supposed to do this?
“Good. I feel good.” I murmured. “It’s all good. Yeah.” Yeah, this entire situation is normal. I do it all the time. Pffft.
I tried to calm myself down by listening to the soothing music. “…who can say…where the road goes…where the day flows… only time…” Enya sang.
Such an asshole.
Then I heard the door close and the doc was gone. Probably off to the little room where she’ll eat popcorn and laugh at me through a two-way mirror. This was when my brain went into overdrive.
What am I supposed to do now? Just lie here? Oh my god! I can feel the needles! It doesn’t hurt, but I know they’re there! And the ones near my ass are really starting to tingle. Huh. You know what? It’s kinda nice. But what if she hit my sciatic nerve? What if I get a sudden urge to jump off the table? Would the needles fall out? Holy shit, shut up Enya! Die Enya die! Make this music stop! How long am I supposed to lie here? With needles sticking out of me! NEEDLES! THERE ARE NEEDLES IN ME! CALM DOWN, DARLA. CALM DOWN. It’s okay. You can do this. Just breathe in and breath out. Ah, nope, when I breathe I can feel the needles moving. What if one punctures my carotid artery? Just hold your breath, Darla. Just hold your breath until you pass out. This will only take 30 minutes, tops. Whatever you do, don’t move a muscle. It doesn’t hurt. The needles are fine. The Chinese have been doing this for thousands of years! But what if I have to get up to go to the bathroom? I think I have to go to the bathroom. Would the other patients mind if they saw a half-naked dude from Hellraiser creeping through the waiting room? How would I sit down on the toilet? Could I go standing up? I think I tried it once on a dare back when I was seven, but there were no needles sticking out of me at the time…
Maybe if I shift my lower body, I won’t have to go anymore…Oh god! I think one of the needles is moving in deeper! It’s–
The door creaked opened. “How you doing, Darla?”
“Wow! Is it over already? Those 30 minutes just FLEW by!” I sputtered into the drool-soaked face hole.
She plucked off the needles and gave me a hug. I made an appointment for next week and left. But not before she suggested I try a bottle of herbal supplements to help with blood circulation. Among the long list of exotic ingredients: red peony root, licorice root, citrus peel, and eye of newt gingrich.
Even though I’m completely open to alternative medicine, I’m not convinced the pills will work. Red peony root is fine, I guess, and of course licorice root, duh. But what, no elderly Buddhist monk scrotum sweat?! For the amount of money I paid, it should contain at the very least the scrotum sweat of Newt Gingrich.
But I suppose I’ll try anything once. I’ll let you know if I survive next week’s treatment.
*I would never intentionally harm or kill a moose. Believe me, I was pretty upset when I hit one because I love all animals. Except spiders. Yeah, they can live inside my vacuum for the rest of their days, I don’t care.